RED BANK: THE PLAYWRIGHT’S THE THING

RubenTonyMadeleineTwo River Theater welcomes five playwrights to the stage — including, from left, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tony Meneses and Madeleine George — to discuss what it takes to bring a script from paper to production, in a free event Wednesday.   

They’re the people from whom it all springs — the bravura performances, the award-winning costumes and sets, the audience-dazzling technical effects — although a good half the time you won’t even find them lurking around the catering tables on opening night.

But if playwrights privately grouse that they often get even less respect than a Rodney Dangerfield rap record, there exists in Red Bank at least one local cubby of culture where the Word is given its due. And on Wednesday, a diverse and distinguished group of dramatists will gather to discuss the never-easy process through which the scripted idea becomes a fully realized moment.

Hosted by Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias in the main Rechnitz auditorium, “The Play’s the Thing” assembles a panel of five playwrights, all of whom have seen (or are about to see) their work premiered by the acclaimed TRTC team. Scheduled for 7 pm and offered free of charge to the public, the event features the Red Bank return of a Tony-winning stage-screen actor, writer and director — Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who brought two plays by the late August Wilson to the Two River stage, and whose original script Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine (about which more to come on redbankgreen) makes its world premiere here in mid-April.

Santiago-Hudson will be joined on the panel by two past collaborators on TRTC premiere projects — Tony Meneses, whose Guadalupe in the Guest Room recently wrapped its own debut engagement, and Madeleine George, whose Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England was first seen at Two River’s Bridge Avenue arts center back in 2011.

Rounding out the group will be playwright-tunesmiths Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz, creators of Be More Chill, the world-premiere musical (adapted from a novel by wunderkind author Ned Vizzini) that’s scheduled to close out the current Two River season at the end of May.

The collected talents are expected to “share insights into the time, resources, and collaboration it takes to craft a play and bring it to production,” during the special event for which general-seating, free-admission tickets should be reserved right here.