The Two River Theater Company launched two shows that landed on NYC stages so far this year. It’s a great way for the Red Bank-based regional theater to celebrate its 25 anniversary season.
TRT playwright-in-residence Madeleine George’s “Hurricane Diane” was staged at the New York Theatre Workshop earlier this season and “Be More Chill” opened last month at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.
“Be More Chill” has been characterized as a “Cinderella” story. A world premiere at New Jersey’s Two River Theater (2015), cast album drops Oct. 31 earning more than 250 million streams. That caught producers’ interest. It opened off-Broadway in the summer of 2018 and opened on Broadway March 10 (2019). It’s about teens who take a “pill” to be cool.
“Hadestown” is a musical a 2016 adaptation of a 2010 folk opera based on the Greek myth of Orpheus descending to the underworld to rescue his fiancée Eurydice.
Joe Iconis, an acclaimed New York City-based musical theater writer whose “Be More Chill” premiered at Two River Theater Company in 2015, is returning to headline a fundraiser for the much-admired regional theater in Red Bank, NJ.
“An Evening with Joe Iconis and Family” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, and will benefit the Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, the 350-seat main stage space named after the theater’s founders. All proceeds will support programs for the development of new musical theater. The company, which is scheduled to announce its 25th anniversary season on April 23, also stages works in its 99-seat black box theater.
Will Connolly (center) stars as Jeremy Heere in the world premiere of “Be More Chill” at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ. The company includes, from left: Paul Whitty, Gerard Canonico, Lauren Marcus, Katie Ladner, Stephanie Hsu, Jake Boyd and Katlyn Carlson. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson Photography)
Will Connolly (Jeremy Heere) and Eric William Morris (The Squip) in the world premiere of “Be More Chill” at Two River Theater.compan in Red Bank, NJ. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)
Will Connolly (Jeremy Heere) and George Salazar (Michael) in the world premiere of “Be More Chill” at Two River Theate, Red Bank, NJ. (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)
Stephanie Hsu (Christine) and Will Connolly (Jeremy Heere) in the world premiere of “Be More Chill” at Two River.(PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)
For actor Gerard Canonico, hitting the sweet spot is all about artistic collaboration and a new, edgy musical is the best way to achieve that goal.
It’s based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini about a high school student who considers himself a loser, is tormented by bullies, invisible to girls. Then he learns about “squips”—a quantum computer in pill form that once ingested communicates with your brain. It could be his ticket to the high school hero highway.