Two River Theatre Company, the Red Bank, NJ, Equity troupe that presents in the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, NJ, will tackle Henrik Ibsen's adventure, Peer Gynt, presented in association with Aquila Theatre Company, as part of the four-show 2001-2001 season.
TRTC, currently presenting The Heiress through June 10, will stage Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (Sept. 13-30); Marion J. Caffey's musical play, Cookin' at the Cookery (Jan. 17-Feb. 3, 2002); Henrik Ibsen's tale of a youth's adventures in a magical and terrifying world, Peer Gynt (March 7-24, 2002), in conjunction with New York's acclaimed Aquila Theatre Company; and John Guare's classic dark comedy, The House of Blue Leaves (May 9-26, 2002).
Artistic director Jonathan Fox said Peer Gynt will be directed by Robert Richmond of the Aquila Theatre Company, the New York toupe lauded for its imaginative productions of classic drama. Working with small casts and incorporating masks and puppets, Richmond creates physical, buoyant interpretations of the world's classics.
TRTC invited him to stage the Ibsen play, which is filled with trolls and Arabian handmaidens and rooted in folklore.
The coming season will also see the New Jersey premiere of Cookin' at the Cookery, a play with music about the life of the great jazz and blues singer Alberta Hunter. In her youth, this internationally-acclaimed singer and songwriter performed with Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith, among other greats. After her mother's death, she decided to devote her life to good works, giving up her singing career to become a nurse. Forced into retirement at the age of 80, she returned to performing, becoming an international sensation. This uplifting and humorous play is filled with her signature songs, "Handy Man," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Darktown Strutters Ball." Playwright Marion J. Caffey directs, prior to a New York staging. Fox will direct Albee's A Delicate Balance, and TRTC executive producer Robert M. Rechnitz will direct The House of Blue Leaves. The company performs on a letter-of-agreement contract with Actors' Equity. There are plans for the company to eventually have its own home in Red Bank, NJ.
Season subscriptions are $68-$122 for adults, and $40 for anyone under the age of 26. Subscriptions are on sale now by calling (732) 345-1400 or online at www.tworivertheatre.org.
— By Kenneth Jones