RED BANK: PERPS AND PUPPETS AT TRTC

stephen-brackett1Director Stephen Brackett (above) returns to Two River Theater for a one-night reading of THE GREAT PRETENDER this Thursday…while Rumson’s own Maggie McDonald Condon presents her one woman comedy “whodunit” DAMES OF OUR LIVES on Thursday and Sunday (below).

damesTheir acclaimed production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars has been entered into the books — and November’s take on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is still three weekends away from its first preview performance — but over at the branded Bridge Avenue homestage of Two River Theater Company, the coming days are abuzz and a-twitter with a special degree of activity.

It all begins at 7:30 pm this Thursday, October 22, when the building’s black-box Marion Huber space hosts a free reading of The Great Pretender, a seriocomic new work “about life, death, and the healing power of puppets” from playwright David West Read. Stephen Brackett, who directed last season’s smash musical Be More Chill at Two River, returns to Red Bank for this first look at a script in which a beloved TV kiddie-show host (whose wife and sidekick puppeteer has passed away) invites tension and uncertainty when he takes on a new assistant to lend life and voice to his puppet pal. There’s no charge for admission, but reservations are required by taking it here or calling (732)345-1400.

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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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