Murder_mystery_marriage_225The cast of Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery and a Marriage, with Erin Weaver at right.

Star-Ledger theater critic Peter Filichia, working up a Jersey version of the Tony awards, considers Erin Weaver of the Two River Theater Company this season’s best musical actress.


In fact, though he gave no awards to the TRT’s highly praised and commercially successful production of Macbeth, Filichia was full of encomiums for the Red Bank theater, giving it a “regional theater award” and handing out gold to its artistic director, a lighting expert, and the full cast of one production.

Weaver was called out twice, once as Best Leading Musical Actress for her role in Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery, and A Marriage, which was directed and co-written by her fiancé, TRTC artistic director Aaron Posner, and once for her role as Emily in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, also directed by Posner.

Of the Twain piece, adapted from a short story, Filichia says:

The young actress extraordinarily created a poor country girl who nevertheless felt inferior to no one, and showed a fierce intelligence that once again proved that common sense is worth a “peck of book larnin’.” Weaver even joined the band to play a mean washboard from time to time.

For her Our Town performance, Filichia named Weaver Best Featured Play Actress, a category in which she was up against fellow TRTC-er Maureen Silliman:

Most Emilys play it wistful and ethereal. Weaver instead chose to play Emily as pro-active, a woman who couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and grab every opportunity life offered. That made her fate even sadder to endure.

As for spouse-to-be Posner, he got best director for his work on the Twain comedy:

The show was a good ol’-fashioned hee-haw of a hoedown, and he made it an all-American delight.

Filichia also shone a light on James Leitner for his lighting of A Murder…:

What’s in a name? Plenty: Leitner’s lighting was as warm as the Missouri sun it replicated.

He also doled out a “special award” to Erika Kreutz, Raymond McAnally, Glenn Peters and Ariel Shafir…

the extraordinary ensemble of “Mere Mortals” at the Two River Theater Company. They made the six one-act plays more tasty than a six-pack of Red Stripe Beer.

And finally, the lovefest was capped with Filichia’s Regional Theatre Award. The TRTC, he says, is:

a theater that offers successful revisionist looks at two American classics (“Our Town” and “The Glass Menagerie”), one British classic (“Macbeth”), one new musical (“Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery, & A Marriage”), and a bunch of quirky one-acters (“Mere Mortals”) — and gives flashes of brilliance in each — is certainly doing something right.

The TRT was up against Crossroads Theatre and the George Street Playhouse, both in New Brunswick; the McCarter Theatre in Princeton; New Jersey Company, Long Branch; the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn; Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison; Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven; Luna Stage Company and Peak Performances, both in Montclair; and the Theatre Project, Cranford.

Email this story