RED BANK: ‘SQUIPS’ STAY AFTER SCHOOL

A preview of BE MORE CHILL, now in an extended furn at the Two River Theater.

By TOM CHESEK

The academic year may be ending right about nowfor most high schools, but for the cast of the school-set musical Be More Chill, graduation day has been delayed another week.

By popular demand, the amped-up, sci-fi infused, satirical tunefest – a production originally scheduled to ring down the curtain after June 21 – has been ordered to “stay after school” at Red Bank’s Two River Theater Company, with a round of five additional performances between June 25 and 28.

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RED BANK: TRTC TAKES A ‘CHILL’ PILL

Joe Iconis and Will Connolly offered a taste of ‘Be More Chill’ at TEDx Navesink in April. The musical opens at the Two River Theater next week.

While tickets have just started going on sale for the next (2015-2016) season of mainstage entertainments from Two River Theater Company, the creative team under the artistic direction of John Dias has one more ace up its sleeve here in spring 2015 – the world premiere of an all new musical by the name of Be More Chill.

With previews beginning Saturday (and opening officially on June 5), the show represents the third consecutive world premiere in what’s truly been a TRTC season to remember. It also represents a play for a more youthful breed of theatergoer, based as it is upon a popular young-adult novel by the late wunderkind author Ned Vizzini – and packed as it is with a dynamic cast of twentysomething Broadway veterans.

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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.

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RED BANK: TRTC SHOW HONORED WITH GRANT

Joe and JoeJoe Iconis and Joe Tracz, creators of the new musical BE MORE CHILL, have been honored along with Two River Theater by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The show begins its world premiere run May 30 at Two River Theater. 

Press release from Two River Theater Company

Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, is proud to announce that the Doris Duke Chaitable Foundation has awarded the theater a generous grant of $125,000 to support its upcoming production of Be More Chill, a new musical written by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz, with choreography by Chase Brock and direction by Stephen Brackett. The grant will also support an ongoing relationship between Two River Theater and the team of Iconis and Tracz.

Two River is one of only five theaters in the country awarded this honor in the first round of the DDCF’s new, two-round Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative, which supports large-scale work by American playwrights and encourages long-term relationships between theaters and writers.

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TRTC NAMES SEASON OF PREMIERES, CLASSICS

RubenDavidLeeJessStoneTony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, FRASIER creator David Lee, and Jessica Stone are among the star-quality directors working with Two River Theater Company in the just-announced 2014-2015 season.

“Didn’t we just do this?” joked Two River Theater Company founder Robert Rechnitz, as he stepped up to the podium in the sleek auditorium named for his wife Joan and himself. The TRTC founder joined artistic director John Dias, managing director Michael Hurst and special guests on Monday evening, for an event that’s become a much-anticipated ritual in Red Bank — the unveiling of the upcoming season at Two River’s branded Bridge Avenue arts center.

Spanning centuries-old classics and modern milestones from both sides of the Atlantic — and fulfilling its stated mission of “leading, not following public taste,” with an unprecedented three world premieres — the 2014-2015 slate of mainstage productions stands as one of the company’s most ambitious yet; a schedule that had Rechnitz praising the acclaimed regional theater as “a school, slyly disguised as a place of entertainment…we want to fill the place, but on our terms, and yours.”

Take it just around the corner, for the details on the season that kicks off on September 13.

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