ThirdMichael Cumpsty directs Christopher Sears and Annette O’Toole in a recent open rehearsal for THIRD, the play by Wendy Wasserstein now in previews at Two River Theater.

As the director sees it, “it’s about challenging times in people’s lives…kids leaving home, parents being ill, political conflict…(but) it’s not a dark, unhappy play.”

The director is Broadway star and Middletown resident Michael Cumpsty, and the play is Third — the final work by the late Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, and the closing production of the milestone 20th season at Two River Theater. Scheduled to open this Friday, June 6, the highly anticipated show can be seen this week in three preview performances, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

In this revival of the 2004 play, Emmy nominated actress (and Oscar nominated composer, with her husband Michael McKean) Annette O’Toole stars as Laurie Jameson, a middle-aged maverick Lit professor whose own somewhat contrary ideas about Shakespeare’s King Lear are challenged by a young male student (Christopher Sears) who comes to represent everything the academic despises, to the point that she declares his brilliantly written paper to be a work of plagiarism. Emily Walton, JR Horne and Amy Hohn co-star in the engagement that runs through June 22.

Remaining preview performances of Third are June 3 and 5 at 8 pm, and June 4 at 7 pm. Tickets (priced from $20 to $45 for previews) can be reserved right here.