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cremin-diasSue Cremin, who has the title role in ‘Candida,’ with TRTC artistic director John Dias after Saturday’s opening-night show. Below, former ‘Cosby Show‘ star Geoffrey Owens, right, returned to the TRTC, where he starred in ‘Opus‘ earlier this season, and ran into former ‘Frazier‘ star David Hyde Pierce. (Click to enlarge)

hyde-pierce-geoffrey-owensEarly reviews of the Two River Theater Company‘s new production of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Candida‘ find it a fresh take on a play that made its debut in 1898.

Star-Ledger theater critic Peter Filichia says the Red Bank production nears its conclusion with a moment of suspense, something not usually associated with the play’s author.

And Asbury Park Press reviewer Tom Chesek (who also writes for redbankgreen) says director David Staller “has revealed a play that’s actually contemporary at heart.”

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candidaposter1The Shaw must go on: Two River Theater Company offers up four nights of previews for George Bernard Shaw’s CANDIDA beginning Tuesday.


First of all, it’s pronounced CAN-did-uh. Say it like Can-DEE-dah, and you’re referencing a 1970 hit by Tony Orlando & Dawn. Or you could be talking about a yeast infection.

Speak it as intended, however, and you’re stylishly dropping the name of a sharply written comedy classic that represented an early success for the great George Bernard Shaw. The centuries-spanning, Nobel Prize (and Oscar) winning, Irish-born wit and human rights champion was last seen on the stage of the Two River Theater with a topical (if threatening to topple) production of Heartbreak House a couple of seasons back. Beginning with the first of four preview performances on Tuesday night, Two River Theater Company puts on a Shaw once more, with a major revival of the 1898 Candida.

The new TRTC artistic director John Dias inherited this project — in which the strong and supportive wife of a respectable clergyman must make a choice between her husband and a passionate young poet who enters her life — when he took over the creative reins last September. Master facilitator that he is, Dias set about matching the play to a director who, more than anybody else in the business, has kept the soul and wisdom of “G.B.S.” readily accessible on our cultural GPS.

As the founder of NYC’s Gingold Theatrical Group, the actor-producer-director David Staller initiated a little undertaking called Project Shaw — a mission by which every one of Shaw’s full-length plays, skits, one-acts and puppet shows would be performed (often with all-star casts and sometimes for the first time in the United States) as a “concert” style reading. Having successfully presented all 65 of them (and having turned right back around and started up all over again), Staller has arrived at station stop Red Bank to direct Sue Cremin, Steven Skybell and Will Bradley in Two River’s Candida — and it was there that the redbankgreen Drama Desk caught up with this expert on all things Shavian.

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