michaelhurstrbg2By TOM CHESEK

Following a nationwide talent search, Red Bank’s  Two River Theater Company has hired a new managing director — and you read it here Hurst.

Michael Hurst, that is. The Asbury Park resident and Rutgers grad (seen here  in a photo courtesy of Jenelle Kappe Photography) replaces the recently departed Tom Werder as the “nuts ‘n bolts” exec at the Bridge Avenue artspace, and will be taking an active hand in the newly announced 2011-2012 season of entertainments from TRTC.

Hurst, who was present in the house for Saturday’s opening night performance of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, will be working alongside TRTC Artistic Director John Dias, who praised Hurst in a press statement as “one of the great managers in the American theater.”

Hurst brings to his new post more than 16 years experience with Manhattan’s Public Theater and NY Shakespeare Festival — working his way up from box office part-timer to managing director, in which capacity he was instrumental in supervising an annual operating budget of some $16 million. More recently, he’s served as COO of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and has been an executive producer and consultant on several commercial stage productions around the country.

Hurst also joins Dias and recently appointed Associate Artist Leigh Silverman as new faces at TRTC with a connection to the Public, the venerable institution founded by legendary impresario Joseph Papp. In fact, both Hurst and Dias played a part in developing the Tony-nominated Well, for which Silverman became the youngest woman ever to have directed a Broadway play when it transitioned there in 2006.

In a statement released today, board president Todd Herman went on record as “excited to have Michael join Two River Theater… his expertise in executive management, organizational oversight, and financial stewardship will be great assets to our work.”

TRTC founding father Robert Rechnitz weighed in as well, hailing Hurst as  “knowledgeable both about the field and New Jersey’s own theater community,” while characterizing his prior working history with Dias as “a great plus.”

Hurst, for his part, expressed delight in reuniting with his Public Theater colleague, celebrating Two River Theater — both the brick-and-mortar venue and the brainy matter within — as “an important part of its community;” one that has become “a place for artists to develop new American plays and musicals that could have a life on the national stage.”

You can reserve tickets for Jacques Brel, which continues on the TRTC stage through June 5, right here — along with special events like Pat Guadagno’s Bobfest, a series of high-profile benefit concerts, and the upcoming Crossing Borders festival, about which more to come in these pixelated pages.