Red Bank, NJ – Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the lineup of productions for its 2017/18 Season, which will launch in September with Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, featuring Brandon J. Dirden as Walter Lee Younger and Crystal A. Dickinson as Ruth Younger, directed by Carl Cofield.
Says Artistic Director John Dias, “We launch the season with Lorraine Hansberry’s earth-shattering answer to Langston Hughes’s most profound question: ‘What happens to a dream deferred?’ Each play that follows—whether classic or brand new, comedy or tragedy—in some way addresses that same existential pursuit. The playwrights are all searching out a world that’s new and better, and characters who feel poised on a turning point in time, caught between the trappings of the past and the desire to forge a new path into the future. They are plays that speak to our current national mood of uncertainty and confusion, and each play in its own way is pointing us forward, whether through laughter or tears or just the telling of a really great story.”
TWO RIVER THEATER’S 2017/18 SEASON
A RAISIN IN THE SUN
BY LORRAINE HANSBERRY
DIRECTED BY CARL COFIELD
SEPT 9 – OCT 8 / 2017
PRESS OPENING: SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
Brandon J. Dirden (Jitney, Two River’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Clybourne Park, Two River’s Seven Guitars) will play Walter Lee Younger and Ruth Younger in one of the greatest family dramas ever written, Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 masterpiece A Raisin in the Sun—the play that “changed American theater forever” (Frank Rich, The New York Times). Carl Cofield directed the 50th anniversary production of Dutchman by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) for the Classical Theatre of Harlem/National Black Theatre.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
BY OSCAR WILDE
DIRECTED BY MICHAEL CUMPSTY
NOV 11 – DEC 3 / 2017
PRESS OPENING: NOVEMBER 17, 2017
Tony Award-nominated actor and director Michael Cumpsty (The End of the Rainbow, Two River’s The Lion in Winter) previously directed Third at Two River Theater. He returns to direct Oscar Wilde’s great comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest.
EL COQUÍ ESPECTACULAR AND THE BOTTLE OF DOOM
BY MATT BARBOT
DIRECTED BY JOSE ZAYAS
MARION HUBER THEATER
JAN 6 – FEB 4 / 2018
PRESS OPENING: JANUARY 12, 2018
In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a masked figure has been spotted: the Puerto Rican superhero, El Coquí Espectacular. In reality, it is out-of-work comic book artist Alex, who has been secretly dressing up as his favorite creation. As Alex learns that fighting crime is harder than it looks, his older brother Joe wants Alex to join him at his advertising agency, selling sugary soda to Latino consumers. Can El Coquí defeat his own self-doubt and be a hero for his neighborhood?
El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom was introduced to Red Bank audiences when it was read as part of Two River’s 2016 Crossing Borders festival of new Latino plays. The play was a finalist in the 2014 Repertorio Español Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, and received the 2016 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artist of Choice Award, as well as the Kennedy Center’s Darrel Ayers Award for Outstanding Student-Written Play for Young Audiences and Latinidad Award for Outstanding Play Written by a Student of Latino/Hispanic Heritage.
THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY
BY THORNTON WILDER
ADAPTED FOR THE STAGE BY DAVID GREENSPAN
MARION HUBER THEATER
FEB 17 – MARCH 18 / 2018
PRESS OPENING: FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Thornton Wilder won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for the classic American plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and one for his novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. This quiet masterpiece—a dazzling rumination on the nature of love—has been adapted and will star one of the singular figures in the American theater: writer and actor David Greenspan, the winner of five Obie Awards.
DANCING AT LUGHNASA
BY BRIAN FRIEL
DIRECTED BY JESSICA STONE
APRIL 14 – MAY 13 / 2018
PRESS OPENING: APRIL 20, 2018
Brian Friel’s memory play about five unmarried sisters on the west coast of Ireland in 1936 won the 1992 Tony Award for Best New Play. Director Jessica Stone returns to Two River, where she previously helmed A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Absurd Person Singular.
BY REGINA TAYLOR
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY DIEDRE L. MURRAY
DIRECTED BY RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
JUNE 9 – JULY 1 / 2018
PRESS OPENING: JUNE 15, 2018
Golden Globe-winning actor and playwright Regina Taylor (I’ll Fly Away, Crowns) won the 2000 American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award for Oo-Bla-Dee when it premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. The play—a shimmering portrait of a female bebop band of African-American musicians traveling the country following the end of World War II—has its first major revival with new music by two-time Obie-winning jazz composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) directs.
TWO RIVER THEATER’S 2017/18 SEASON – THEATER FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
SKELETONS: A DAY OF THE DEAD BEDTIME STORY
TEATRO SEA, NEW YORK
MARION HUBER THEATER
OCT 12-15 / 2017
Performed in Spanish and English simultaneously, Skeletons is a comedy about a boy, Jimmy, who is dealing with the loss of his best friend, his Grandfather. His parents try everything to help Jimmy cope, but nothing works, until the eve of Day of the Dead, when his Grandfather comes back to life for just one night to orchestrate an adventure. Skeletons is recommended for audiences ages 7 and up.
THE RAINBOW FISH
BASED ON THE BOOK BY MARCUS PFISTER
MERMAID THEATRE OF NOVA SCOTIA
DEC 15-18 / 2017
With his silver scales and heart of gold, The Rainbow Fish will enchant even the youngest children in this adaptation of the award-winning book about a beautiful fish who learns to share his most prized possession. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings The Rainbow Fish to life with enchanting puppetry in this world-premiere production. The Rainbow Fish is recommended for audiences age 3-7.
A LITTLE SHAKESPEARE
MARCH 6 – 11 / 2018
Celebrating its 5th season as one of Two River’s most popular programs, A Little Shakespeare engages young artists and audiences with the work of the Bard. A 75-minute version of one of Shakespeare’s plays—adapted, directed and designed by professional artists—will be performed by local high school students on the stage of the Rechnitz Theater. The play title will be announced shortly. A Little Shakespeare is recommended for ages 9 and up.
THE YOUNG KING
BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY OSCAR WILDE
ADAPTED FOR THE STAGE BY NICKI BLOOM
PRODUCED BY SLINGSBY THEATRE, AUSTRALIA
MARION HUBER THEATER
APRIL 20-22 / 2018
What kind of King would you be? A naïve boy raised by goatherds is discovered to be heir to the kingdom. Treasures and privileges are laid at his feet, but at what cost to others? The achingly beautiful and tender language of Oscar Wilde joins the intimate and magical world of Slingsby in this coming-of-age story. The Young King is recommended for audiences ages 8 and up.
Plays, artists, dates, and ticket prices are subject to change. For additional information, visit tworivertheater.org.