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ALL RED BANK’S A STAGE, FOR ACTOR OWENS

GeoffreyOwensFormer COSBY SHOW cast member Geoffrey Owens is BACK, as Jaques — and Two River Theater Company’s got him, as previews begin this weekend for TRTC’s production of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.

By TOM CHESEK

As a regular for the last seven seasons of The Cosby Show, Geoffrey Owens was part of a pop-cultural juggernaut that TV Guide named as The Greatest Sitcom of the 1980s; a Reagan-era repository of positive role models and fatherly sweaters that consistently topped the Nielsens — before ultimately being toppled by The Simpsons and other heirs to the throne of tubeland’s most dysfunctional modern family.

While his recurring role as Cliff Huxtable’s occasionally opinionated but nice-guy son-in-law Elvin allowed him to have the odd moment of good-natured fun with Bill Cosby’s proven shtick, it wasn’t until returning to the stage that the son of former U.S. Congressman Major Owens discovered a surprising specialty — as a sought-after interpreter of the comedic and tragic characters from the quill of Wm. Shakespeare.

Seen recently on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet (with Orlando Bloom), Owens has starred and co-starred in major productions of Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and many others — including a Joseph Papp-produced As You Like It that brought him to the Broadway boards as Orlando, the exiled young noble and dashing leading man of the Bard’s “comedy of cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes.” Beginning this weekend, the actor returns to As You Like It‘s “Forest of Arden” setting for the first in a series of preview performances this Saturday night, January 25.

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WEEKEND: HENRY, HOCKEY, & HEEBIE JEEBIES

Staged by Michael Sexton of the Shakespeare Society, the Bard’s Henry V opens a three-week run at Red Bank’s Two River Theater Friday night. (Photo by T Charles Erickson. Click to enlarge)

We’ve got a solid block of entertaining and educational diversions available on the Green this weekend. Getting right to it…

Thursday, October 25

7 p.m. – Middletown Public Library will host a free wedding planning workshop and presentation by Rachael Citron of Glass Slipper Wedding and Events. Q&A session will follow. Register online or call 732-671-3700×320. 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown.

7:30 p.m. – Executive Hockey Editor for the Associated Press and Fair Haven resident Tim Sullivan will present details on this year’s Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. Hosted by River Road Books, the event takes place at the Nauvoo Grill Club. Contact River Road Books to reserve: 732-747-9455. 121 Fair Haven Road, Fair Haven.

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