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RED BANK: TWO WAYS TO MAKE ‘MERRY’

Two River Theater hosts two very different takes on Shakespeare’s comedy ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,’ beginning with Saturday’s first preview of a three-actor free for all. 

When William Shakespeare put quill to parchment and began work on The Merry Wives of Windsor, he probably wasn’t laboring under the illusion he might create something to be dissected by critics and scholars for hundreds of years to come. The more immediate tastes of the popular audience were calling out to him, and with Wives the busy Bard had the opportunity to spin one of his most crowd-pleasing creations — Sir John Falstaff, the portly and roguish companion to the future king in the two parts of his historical drama Henry IV — into a rowdy (and cheerfully out-of-time) little knock-down farce.

Beginning this Saturday night, the Two River Theater offers Red Bank audiences not one but two rather unique takes on one of Shakespeare’s silliest comedies: one an intimately scaled three-actor adaptation that goes in search of the play’s “dark undercurrent;” the other an abridged full-cast version showcasing a talented company of high school age performers.

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RED BANK: BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE

It’s one of William Shakespeare’s most raucous comedies; one that indicates that even the celebrated Bard wasn’t above cranking out a “popular demand” money shot. Picking up the character of Sir John Falstaff from the two parts of Henry IV — and plunking the portly, cowardly, boastful and besotted knight down into a farcical fracas of amorous misadventure and comical come-uppance — The Merry Wives of Windsor does its job within a relatively short running time, and with a relatively economical cast of 20 characters.

Or does it? According to Eric Tucker (pictured), co-founder and artistic director of NYC’s Bedlam Theater, the circa-1600 play can be brought to life just fine by a company of no more than three very busy actors — and tonight, February 13, Two River Theater offers the public a free-of-charge chance to watch director Tucker in action, as he works with his modestly scaled (but expansively skilled) cast in an Open Rehearsal at the Bridge Avenue arts center.

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RED BANK: ‘HURRICANE’ WATCH AT TWO RIVER

Mia Barron as Sandy in ‘Hurricane Diane’ by Two River Theater playwright-in-residence Madeleine George (below).

madeleine-georgeTo get right to the sell point, it’s a play that’s set in Red Bank — maybe not that real-world Call In the Authorities/ Retail Churn Red Bank we know so well from redbankgreen, but a representation of coastal suburban living that manages to capture a distinctly Monmouth County set of mind.

It’s there in a cozy cul-de-sac neighborhood that a quartet of local women find themselves drawn to a strange visitor who blows into town like a game-changing superstorm — a “lesbian separatist permaculture gardener from Vermont” who stands out from the pack of lesbian separatist permaculture gardeners, in that she is in fact the Greek god Dionysus, come to enact a new agenda “in the dying days of the American empire, as the planet warms and the oceans rise.”

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RED BANK: TWO RIVER KEEPS THE LIGHTS UP

The luminescent artistry of Lightwire Theater is on display from December 27 to 30 as the Two River Theater hosts the New Orleans-based troupe in a music-infused, family friendly show.

very-electric-xmasWhile we’re not recommending leaving the Christmas lights up into the season of Independence Day fireworks, there’s something to be said for staying plugged in past December 25.

Beginning Tuesday, December 27 — the same day Red Bank observes the Festival of Lights with its official town menorah at the train station — the Two River Theater plays host to the family-friendly touring show A Very Electric Christmas, in a multi-day engagement that marks its first-ever exposure to Shore area audiences.

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RED BANK: BANDIERA AND ‘HOPE’ AT BASIE

bobby_bandiera_and_jon_bon_jovi_at_hope_concert_8_2015Bobby Bandiera, joined here by longtime tourmate Jon Bon Jovi at a past Hope Concert, brings the ninth edition of his all-star benefit show back to the Basie Friday.

donegoodlogoIt’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.

Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.

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RED BANK: CRAFTS, CAROLS, COLLECTIONS

two-river-crafting-carolingIn the spirit of Christmas (and in conjunction with the current production of THE LION IN WINTER), Two River Theater held an evening of crafting, caroling and holiday treats this past weekend, led by local event decorating company #TableSettingIsMyLife. Guests of all ages learned how to make their own Christmas cracker crafts (an English tradition), while the Monmouth Civic Chorus delighted the crafters with festive holiday songs throughout the night. Two River also collected canned good donations for The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

RED BANK: TIME TO REMEMBER IS WRITE NOW

project-write-nowThe educational programs offered by the nonprofit Project Write Now are the beneficiary of a Night to Remember fundraiser Tuesday night at Two River Theater.

From press materials furnished by DNB Events and Project Write Now

If you’ve wondered about those “I remember…” collection boxes that you may have noticed at select businesses throughout Red Bank, they’ve got a story to tell — or rather, they’ve been placed there to collect the stories that you and your neighbors have to tell.

 

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RED BANK: SEEKING MERRY WIVES, AND MORE

little-shakespeare-windsorPress release from Two River Theater Company

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces an opportunity for student actors, stage managers, designers, and run crew in grades 9-12 to be involved in the theater’s upcoming performances of A Little Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The 75 minute play, adapted from the William Shakespeare comedy by director Nicole A. Watson, runs March 7-12, 2017 on the stage of Two River’s Rechnitz Theater.

Auditions for interested high-school students will be held at Two River Theater on November 16 and 18. In addition, the theater is offering opportunities for high school students who are interested in working as an assistant stage manager, assistant director, assistant designer, or on the production’s run crew.

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RED BANK: A SIXTH ANNUAL ‘CROSSING’

Flamenco_DancersThe outdoor plaza at Two River Theater comes alive on Wednesday evening with a colorful keynote to the Crossing Borders Festival, the annual free celebration of Latino theater curated by Stephanie Ybarra (below).

Stephanie YbarraIt’s become an eagerly anticipated annual feature of the programming from Two River Theater; a celebration of cultural diversity and connections that occurs on the border between the professional company’s mainstage seasons — and on a street named Bridge Avenue, no less.

Even as issues of national identity and immigration have been forced to the front once more during a superheated election-year summer, the frontiers represented by the Crossing Borders Festival go beyond mere lines on maps. Returning for a sixth annual edition this week, the five-day celebration of emerging Latino theater examines the barriers, access points and grey areas between heritage and assimilation; reality and fantasy; the pull of memory and the need to move on.

Kicking off with the now-traditional outdoor Neighborhood Party on Wednesday, August 3 — and continuing through Sunday, August 7 with a menu of play readings (one of them presented in both English and Spanish), lectures and audience forums — the festival maintains its mission of “bringing together writers and stories from all over the country to explore questions of individual and national identity, and what it means to be a part of the Latino diaspora,” in the words of guest curator Stephanie Ybarra.

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RED BANK: COMEDY FOR A CAUSE

Jimmy FaillaJimmy Failla (above) and Mike Gaffney (below) are among the stand-up guys fundraising for a cause Saturday at Two River Theater.

Mike GaffneyFor a breed of performers who hone their craft via roast-ready insults, scatological science, interactive combat with audience hecklers, and a filter-free delivery that’d give even the Donald pause, stand-up comedians can be real sweethearts sometimes — and no more so than when they’re joining forces for a worthy cause, as with this Saturday’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show at Two River Theater in Red Bank.

Back for its eighth annual outing, the popular event transforms the mainstage of the Bridge Avenue arts center into a high-class Chuckle Hut for a raucous one-night stand.

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RED BANK: MOVIE SATURDAY ON INDIE STREET

The trailer for “65 Percent,” a documentary by Mike and Jon Altino of Middletown, screens at the Red Bank Middle School at 1 p.m.

indie street logo 2Saturday-morning cartoons, a locally made documentary and shorts-in-a-bunch enliven Saturday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway in Red Bank Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers. Read More »

RED BANK: FRIDAY’S INDIE STREET LINEUP

isff 070616 1Sand artist Joe Mangrum creating a temporary painting at the festival opening-night cocktail party on the Count Basie patio Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

indie street logo 2

Screenings at four Red Bank venues fill Friday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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RED BANK: A MOVIE FEAST ON INDIE STREET

A documentary about people who eat white dirt adds some grit to the first full day of the Indie Street Film Festival. 

indie street logo 2Scandalously long, beautiful legs. A guy with a compulsion for commandeering buses and trains. Geophagy, or dirt-eating.

These and other delightfully strange and wondrous topics fill the schedule of Red Bank’s Indie Street Film Festival as it enters its first full day of screenings and other events Thursday.

Click the “read more” for the full sked and a whole dirtload of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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RED BANK: JAZZ IN JULY AND BEYOND

Warren VacheTrumpeter Warren Vaché sounds the keynote for a new series of Summer Jazz Cafe events at Two River Theater this weekend. Keith Marks, below parks it at Riverside Gardens for the first in A slate of free outdoor jazz concerts Thursday night.  

Keith MarksAlthough it keeps a year-round beat that includes December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, the spring series of Talkin’ Jazz lectures and the ongoing sessions of the Jazz Arts Academy, summertime means the livin’ is also busy for the Jazz Arts Project, the nonprofit arts organization based here in Red Bank, the borough that gave the world Count Basie (to say nothing of the late and legendary Johnny Jazz).

It’s a flurry of activity that really hits home in this first full week of July, as Jazz Arts and artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli introduce a new schedule for a seasonal signifier — the celebrated Summer Jazz Café at Two River Theater — along with the return of a relatively recent warm-weather diversion: the free series of Jazz in the Park concerts at Riverside Gardens Park.

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RED BANK: TURN HERE FOR INDIE STREET

The festival flickers to life with “Morris from America” on the big screen at the Count Basie Theatre. Here’s the trailer.

indie street logo 2Day One of the first-ever Indie Street Film Festival gets underway in Red Bank Wednesday, kicking off five days of heaven for movie lovers.

The opening day schedule is light, with one just one film lighting up the giant silver screen of the Count Basie Theatre and two parties. But the festival shifts into high gear Thursday with daylong screenings and other events at five venues, and keeps up the pace through Saturday before winding down Sunday.

Check in with redbankgreen throughout the week for festival coverage and next-day schedules with tons of trailers to help you decide which darkened room to bring your popcorn to. Meantime, here’s the first-day lineup:

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RED BANK: INDIES INVADE THIS WEEK

rb indie film mural 070416A mural on Monmouth Street near Maple Avenue touts the five-day Indie Street Film Festival, which flickers to life Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

indie street logo 2For the first time since 2007, Red Bank will swarm with screening maniacs this week as independent films, filmmakers and cinephiles invade the downtown — and one or two nearby outposts.

Encompassing nearly 100 feature-length and short films, four screening venues and a handful of bars and restaurants, the five-day Indie Street Film Festival kicks off Wednesday, promising to liven up a post-Independence Day interval when the borough traditionally slips into an early doldrums.

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN GETS INSTANT MURAL

rb mural 060416 4A team of painters, including 13 students from the visual arts program at Red Bank Regional, worked on the mural throughout the day Saturday and into early Sunday. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb mural 060416 3Racing to finish before an expected rain, a team of artists and volunteers painted a two-story mural in downtown Red Bank over the weekend.

Overlooking the parking lot for Buona Sera restaurant at Monmouth Street and Maple Avenue, the mural promotes a film festival scheduled to light up movie screens in town next month.

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ON THE GREEN: RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE

rb rainbows 060516Following a brief downpour, a redbankgreen reader with a primo view snapped this photo of a double rainbow over Red Bank and the Navesink River Sunday evening.

The weather outlook for Monday is a pot of gold, if you like it sunny with temperatures in the low 80s. (Reader photo. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: WEATHER OUTLOOK MIXED

rb streetlight 060216rb kayaking 060216 2Though a bit overcast, Thursday was a good day to fix a streetlamp on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, above, or take in a bit of kayaking on the Navesink, at right, as a group led by Northeast Mountain Guiding did out of Maple Cove.

The weather outlook on the Greater Red Bank Green for the coming weekend, like last weekend, is mixed: some showers Friday, mixed sun and clouds Saturday and rain Sunday, according to the Weather Underground(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: WEEKEND FORECAST MIXED

sb beach 052616 2Sunshine and temperatures in the high 80s made for an ideal beach day in Sea Bright Thursday. But Friday’s lead-in to the Memorial Day weekend will be mostly cloudy, with a chance of showers after 4 p.m., before giving way to two days of mostly sunny conditions, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast for Memorial Day: cloudy, with showers likely, and a thunderstorm possible. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: A ‘TASTE’ SENSATION AT TWO RIVER

Taste of BroadwayThe reviews are in — and this past Saturday’s “Little Taste of Broadway” fundraiser at Two River Theater was rated “awesome” by attendees who enjoyed an evening of live music, Broadway-caliber entertainment and samplings of wares from Red Bank’s premier restaurants.  A presentation of the Navesink Business Partnership, the event raised funds for Red Bank’s Saint James Elementary School, through a cocktail reception in the theater lobby (pictured), hors d’oeuvres served up by students from Red Bank Catholic High School, and a high-voltage performance in the main auditorium by the dynamic singing and dancing professionals of The Broadway Dolls

ON THE GREEN: AN EARLY TASTE OF SUMMER

hot weather 052516The lead-in to the Memorial Day weekend includes several days of peak temperatures in the 80s in the region that includes the Greater Red Bank Green, according to the Weather Underground. It begins under clear skies Wednesday with an anticipated high of 87 degrees.  (Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: FILM FEST MURAL GREENLIGHTED

rb IFF Mural 051116A scan from a flyer given out at Wednesday’s council meeting shows a rendering of the proposed mural, at left, and the building it would go on. At bottom right is a 150-foot-tall mural the artist, Misha Tyutyunik, helped create in SoHo. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A prominent black wall in downtown Red Bank may soon be covered with a two-story-high, somewhat psychedelic mural.

The borough council greenlighted the makeover Wednesday night after an organizer of a film festival scheduled to hit town this summer offered it as what he called a “gift” to the town.

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ON THE GREEN: BREAK IN RAIN FORECAST

rb runners 050416 2Young runners charge through the rain on Spring Street in Red Bank Wednesday. 

Thursday’s outlook isn’t as wet, with just a slight chance of precipitation, but rain is forecast to return Friday, when as much as an inch may fall on the Greater Red Bank Green, according to the Weather Underground. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)