Following his recent turn in Jitney on Broadway, Brandon J. Dirden will star alongside Crystal A. Dickinson in the Two River Theater staging of Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. The fall production will kick off the New Jersey theatre’s newly announced 2017-2018 lineup, which also features a revival of Regina Taylor’s Oo-Bla-Dee helmed by Jitney director Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
The upcoming season will open September 2017 and run through July 2018. Also included in the ten-show lineup are world premieres from Matt Barbot and the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, as well as David Greenspan’s adaptation of The Bridge of San Luis Rey, also starring the award-winning actor.
Barbot’s El Coquí Espectacular And The Bottle of Doom, scheduled to begin January 2018, tells the story of a washed up comic book writer who dresses up as his favorite creation, a Puerto Rican superhero named El Coquí Espectacular. The play won the 2016 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artist of Choice Award, the Kennedy Center’s Darrel Ayers Award for Outstanding Student-Written Play for Young Audiences, and the Latinidad Award for an Outstanding Play Written by a Student of Latino/Hispanic Heritage.
Based off the popular children’s book by Marcus Pfister, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia will bring The Rainbow Fish to the stage this December. Intended for a younger audiences and told through “enchanting puppetry,” The Rainbow Fish tells a story of a beautiful fish who learns to share his most prized possession: his colorful scales.
Full details of Two River Theater’s 2017–18 lineup, as outlined by the theatre, are listed below:
A Raisin In The Sun
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Carl Cofield
September 9–October 8, 2017
Brandon J. Dirden (Jitney, Two River’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Clybourne Park, Two River’s Seven Guitars) will play Walter Lee Younger and Ruth Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 masterpiece.
The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Michael Cumpsty
November 11-December 3, 2017
Tony-nominated actor and director Michael Cumpsty (The End of the Rainbow, Two River’s The Lion in Winter) previously directed Third at Two River Theater. He returns to direct Oscar Wilde’s comedy of manners.
El Coquí Espectacular And The Bottle of Doom
By Matt Barbot
Directed by Jose Zayas
January 6–Febuary 4, 2018
In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a masked figure has been spotted: the Puerto Rican superhero, El Coquí Espectacular. In reality, it is out-of-work comic book artist Alex, who has been secretly dressing up as his favorite creation. As Alex learns that fighting crime is harder than it looks, his older brother Joe wants Alex to join him at his advertising agency, selling sugary soda to Latino consumers. Can El Coquí defeat his own self-doubt and be a hero for his neighborhood?
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
By Thornton Wilder
Adapted for the stage by David Greenspan
February 17–March 18, 2018
This quiet masterpiece—a dazzling rumination on the nature of love—has been adapted and will star writer and actor David Greenspan, the winner of five Obie Awards.
Dancing at Lughnasa
By Brian Friel
Directed by Jessica Stone
April 14–May 13, 2018
Brian Friel’s memory play about five unmarried sisters on the west coast of Ireland in 1936 won the 1992 Tony Award for Best New Play. Director Jessica Stone returns to Two River, where she previously helmed A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Absurd Person Singular.
By Regina Taylor, Original Music by Diedre L. Murray
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
June 9–July 1, 2018
Golden Globe-winning actor and playwright Regina Taylor’s Oo-Bla-Dee—a shimmering portrait of a female bebop band of African-American musicians traveling the country following the end of World War II—has its first major revival with new music by two-time Obie-winning jazz composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess).
Skeletons: A Day of the Dead Bedtime Story
Teatro Sea, New York
October 12-15, 2017
Performed in Spanish and English simultaneously, Skeletons is a comedy about a boy, Jimmy, who is dealing with the loss of his best friend, his Grandfather. His parents try everything to help Jimmy cope, but nothing works, until the eve of Day of the Dead, when his Grandfather comes back to life for just one night to orchestrate an adventure. Skeletons is recommended for audiences ages 7 and up.
The Rainbow Fish
Based on the book by Marcus Pfister
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
December 15–18, 2017
With his silver scales and heart of gold, The Rainbow Fish will enchant even the youngest children in this adaptation of the award-winning book about a beautiful fish who learns to share his most prized possession. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings The Rainbow Fish to life with enchanting puppetry in this world-premiere production. The Rainbow Fish is recommended for audiences age 3-7.
A Little Shakespeare
March 6–11, 2018
Celebrating its 5th season as one of Two River’s most popular programs, A Little Shakespeare engages young artists and audiences with the work of the Bard. A 75-minute version of one of Shakespeare’s plays—adapted, directed and designed by professional artists—will be performed by local high school students on the stage of the Rechnitz Theater. The play title will be announced shortly. A Little Shakespeare is recommended for ages 9 and up.
The Young King
Based on the short story by Oscar Wilde
Adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom
Produced by Slingsby Theatre, Australia
April 20–22, 2018
What kind of King would you be? A naïve boy raised by goatherds is discovered to be heir to the kingdom. Treasures and privileges are laid at his feet, but at what cost to others? The achingly beautiful and tender language of Oscar Wilde joins the intimate and magical world of Slingsby in this coming-of-age story. The Young King is recommended for audiences ages 8 and up.
For more information visit tworivertheater.org/.