alec-baldwinTwo years after his last and only visit, actor Alec Baldwin returns to Red Bank’s Two River Theater next month for a night of…

Well, chat, mostly. The pre-Internet kind, that is. Only, with a couple of hundred people looking on.

Baldwin and his friend and acclaimed Shakespearean Michael Cumpsty will settle in for an extended conversation focused on their work in, and shared love of, live theater, TRTC artistic director John Dias tells redbankgreen.

“He’s quite a formidable theater actor,” says Dias, a friend of Baldwin since they crossed paths working on a 1998 production of ‘MacBeth‘ at New York’s Public Theater, where Dias was the dramaturg and Baldwin had the lead. “He’s quite a persuasive force.”

Though he’s apparently never seen a show at Two River, and was “distraught” to have missed Cumpsty as Benedick in the recent staging of the Bard’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ Baldwin has trod the boards on Bridge Avenue once before. Last time, in 2009, it was a fundraiser for the Junior League of Monmouth County, at which Baldwin mostly fielded questions from the audience. This time, the topic is focused: life in the theater.

Dias says Baldwin is “a very big fan of Michael Crumpsty,” and so it wasn’t a hard sell when Dias approached the star of NBC sitcom ‘30 Rock‘ star about a return engagement.

“We thought it would be a fun and exciting idea to have two actors talking about things they do,” Dias says. Both, he said, “have a true and deep love for the theater and what great actors do.”

And – who knows – perhaps someday Baldwin will take up a three-week Red Bank residence as a player in one of TRTC’s regular offerings?

“That’s the plan,” Dias says, not even half-joking.

“Alec Baldwin. Michael Cumpsty. Unplugged” is scheduled for Monday, November 21. Tickets are priced from $50 to $350, with the costliest entitling holders entry to a pre-show reception with Baldwin beginning two hours before the show. Get tickets online here, or call the box office at 732.345.1400.