After rising to the occasion last year with such gravity-defying entertainments as Mary Poppins and Peter Pan, the folks at Phoenix Productions in Red Bank dive deep for their inaugural production of the 2016 season: the Disney musical The Little Mermaid, which surfaces for a two-weekend run at the Count Basie Theatre.
Actor-singer-composer-musician Rinde Eckert talks about creating the music for the Two River Theater production of “Pericles,” which begins previews this weekend. (Video courtesy of the Two River Theater.)
Even as passionate a cheerleader as Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias is forced to admit that Pericles, Prince of Tyre is “one of Shakespeare’s plays that has frustrated his fans” — the result of its being “most obviously the result of a quirky collaboration with another playwright (or two).”
A sprawling smorgasbord of mythology and melodrama that boasts sensational plot points (incest! pirates! sexual slavery!) and more scenery than can be chewed through in a single sitting, the late-period romance fairly begs, as Dias declares, for “an interpretive team of theater artists who love it for the splendor of its quirks, while working to bring its disparate selves together.”
Two River Theater Company co-founders Joan and Robert Rechnitz were joined on the evening of March 28 by Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich and philanthropist Ivan Polonsky, for the 2016-17 Season Announcement event at Two River’s Bridge Avenue arts center. Some 100 of the stage company’s major donors and supporters attended a special reception in the lobby prior to the 7:30 p.m. program, mingling with TRTC artistic director John Dias, Tony nominated actor-director Michael Cumpsty and other artists involved in the new slate of shows that begin in September 2016. A full rundown of the new schedule, including season subscription information, can be found here. (Photo by Teja Anderson)
As a lead actor in Broadway’s HAIRSPRAY, Hollie Howard (center) paid her dues, eight shows a week. As the co-star and creator of The Broadway Dolls, the Colts Neck resident has assembled a troupe of young “triple threat” veterans from some of the biggest hits of the New York stage — and on Saturday, May 21, the Dolls will be the featured attraction for A Little Taste of Broadway, a benefit event presented by the Navesink Business Group and hosted at Two River Theater. A fundraiser for capital improvements at St. James Elementary School, the 6:30 p.m. affair boasts cocktails and food samplings from such Red Bank restaurants and purveyors as Teak, Bistro, Greek Eats, Dish, San Remo, The Cheese Cave, Lil’ Cutie Pops, and The Vintage Cake — in addition to a set of hits from crowdpleasing shows like WICKED, RENT, JERSEY BOYS and more. Take it here for tickets ($85), which include the show, tastings and (beer, wine, soda) beverages.
Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias, above, directs a musical that he co-wrote, and Madeleine George, below, the theater’s first Playwright in Residence, will see her comedy — which is set in Red Bank — mounted next season.
There are encore appearances by favorite actors. Re-visits to the words and works of Shakespeare and August Wilson. No less than three shows making their world premieres — including one set within “a larger-than-life version of Red Bank.”
When Two River Theater Company unveiled its 2016-2017 schedule of productions Monday night, it did so in a fashion that’s become a real rite of spring on Bridge Avenue: with the company’s celebrated artistic director John Dias joined on stage by creative people representing the comedies, dramas, musicals and multi-media experiences that will illuminate Two River’s stages beginning in September.
Local actors stage a performance of William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at Brookdale Community College in 2013. The school’s Performing Arts Center is inviting everyone to get into the act, during the sixth annual Shakespeare Read-A-Thon in April.
Press release from Brookdale Community College
On Thursday, April 21, Brookdale Community College will celebrate the 452nd birthday of William Shakespeare, with the sixth annual Shakespeare Read-A-Thon at the Lincroft campus.
Between 6 to 8 p.m., residents of all ages are invited to dress as their favorite Shakespearean character and join friends, family and fellow community members in a collaborative reading from the Bard’s works, held inside BCC’s Performing Arts Center.
This year’s program will celebrate the women of Shakespeare, shining a spotlight on the most memorable moments involving female characters such as Lady Macbeth, Rosalind, Juliet, Miranda and Desdemona. Individual and group readings of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are encouraged. Spectators are welcome as well.
“This annual celebration encourages people to try out their reading and acting skills, but more so to conquer their apprehension over Shakespeare’s language,” said Brookdale English Professor James Cody. “It shows that Shakespeare can be fun.”
Refreshments will be served during the April 21 event, for which parking in Lot 1 is recommended. For more information, contact Professor James Cody at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (732)224-2681.
On March 17, Red Bank Regional High School senior Patrick Monaghan of Little Silver came in second in the very competitive New Jersey Regional Poetry Out Loud State Championship. This was the second visit to the competition’s stage for the celebrated RBR thespian, who has won the Regional competition for the past two years.
For his performance at the College of New Jersey, Patrick performed William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes as well as two other selections: Or by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young.
“Making America Great Again” has been a rallying cry for more than one TV-tested public speaker this season — and if there are, as suggested, two Donald Trumps, then there must be as many iterations of David Cross as the market will bear.
Back on the road for his first large-scale standup tour since 2009, Cross backs the campaign bus up to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for an appearance Wednesday night.
A momentous musical meeting between (left to right) Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley powers MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, when the Broadway hit brings its national tour to the Count Basie Theatre for two Saturday shows; followed closely by legendary crooner Johnny Mathis on Sunday.
It’s the stuff that pop-music lore and legend is made of — a 1956 in-studio meeting and impromptu jam session between four young alumni of Sam Phillips’ celebrated Sun Records stable: Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis (at the time a session player who’d yet to release a record), and the Memphis label’s most earth-shaking graduate, Elvis Presley. Made all the more amazing due to its happening organically, even accidentally (and tempered by the fact that, according to recorded evidence, Cash bailed after the photo was taken), the session that would come to be called “The Million Dollar Quartet” would eventually inspire a “jukebox” style musical that would play successful engagements on Broadway, in Vegas and numerous other destinations.
When the touring production of Million Dollar Quartet arrives at the Count Basie Theatre for two shows this Saturday, March 18, it will ignore the gospel-oriented material that made up the actual session, in favor of a surefire salvo of hits that mixes the artists’ Sun-era signatures (“Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line”) with Elvis blockbusters like “Hound Dog.”
Wait, $425 for a single ticket to the Count Basie Theatre? This had better be something special — like, a “once-in-a-lifetime, VIP, limited meet-and-greet” opportunity with one of the world’s most recognized and iconic leading women of film.
Turns out it really is that, as the Red Bank landmark adds to its list of beyond-legendary visitors (Cary Grant, George Carlin, Ringo Starr) with a Thursday-night appearance by Sophia Loren, the Italian-born international movie star and style pacesetter.
And it’s just the first of two events in a row to feature female performers who’ve won worldwide acclaim.
On Tuesday, March 1, forty teachers from five New Jersey counties assembled at Two River Theater in Red Bank, for a full-day Teaching Shakespeare Workshop sponsored by the Washington, DC-based Folger Shakespeare Library.
The workshop was underwritten jointly by the Princeton and Monmouth County Branches of The English-Speaking Union, with generous support from Two River Theater’s Kate Cordaro, Director of Education, and John Dias, Artistic Director. It was one of many educational programs being offered in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
By JOHN T. WARD
At a hearing packed with supporters, and without a peep of objection, Red Bank’s zoning board gave unanimous approval Thursday night to a plan by St. Anthony of Padua parish to build a new social services facility on Herbert Street.
“They’ve obviously been very beneficial to the town,” said board member Sean Murphy, citing the church and its volunteers. “Unfortunately, the need is growing, but we’re very fortunate to have them.”
But in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, at Brookdale Community College, the unwelcome noise is not only part of the show: it’s the catalyst that sets off a bizarre chain of connections involving Jean (the woman at the next café table, who answers the call when it becomes evident that the phone’s owner is very much dead) and various family members or acquaintances of the dead guy, Gordon.
The Bystander: A Portrait of Apathy, a proposal submitted by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School English teacher Suzanne Sweeney, has been accepted by the New York
University Forum on Educational Theatre. Students from Sweeney’s current RFH drama class will perform the play about teen harassment and bullying on April 24, as part of the event that will take place at NYU on April 21-24.
The Bystander: A Portrait of Apathy was submitted by Sweeney to the Forum on Educational Theatre, also known as FOET, in the fall of 2015 as a youth theatre production. Proposals need to adhere to a timeframe of 30 to 60 minutes and resonate with the three focus areas for the forum: drama in education, applied theatre, and theatre for young audiences/play production. The proposed production was accepted after what FOET describes as “a comprehensive international peer review process.”