Michael Cumpsty, Lisa Kron, Topdog/Underdog Set For Two River's 2012-13 Lineup; Season Announced
By Michael Gioia
Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of artistic director John Dias and managing director Michael Hurst, has announced its 2012-13 season in New Jersey, which includes Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog as well as the world premiere of A Wind in the Willows Christmas.
The eight-play season will kick off Sept. 8 with Parks (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) directing Topdog/Underdog on the tenth anniversary of its winning the Pulitzer Prize. The play, according to Two River, is a "darkly comic tale of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth—names given to them as a joke by their father. Obsessed with a street con game, three-card monte, the brothers are haunted by their own pasts—and our country's history." Topdog/Underdog will run at the Rechnitz Theater through Sept. 30.
Ethan Lipton's No Place To Go, with music composed and performed by Lipton and his orchestra, will run Oct. 6-Nov. 4 at the Marion Huber Theater. Directed by Leigh Silverman (Chinglish), here is how the play is described: "The corporation where he's worked for the past 10 years is moving to another planet, and Ethan Lipton doesn't want to go. Commissioned and originally produced by Joe's Pub, No Place to Go is Lipton's irreverent, deeply compassionate musical ode to America's work force—and a love letter to friends, family, and country."
William Shakespeare's Henry V, directed by Michael Sexton, will run Oct. 20-Nov. 11 at the Rechnitz Theater. "Having inherited the throne, Henry must live down his wild adolescent past and unite his people," according to press notes. "A young, vital, and ambitious leader, he commits his troops to war—and must then examine the cost of glory."
The world premiere of A Wind in the Willows Christmas, based on the children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, features music by Mike Reid, lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger and a book by Mindi Dickstein. Directed by Amanda Dehnert, the production will run Dec. 8-30 at the Rechnitz Theater. A Wind in the Willos Christmas is "the beloved tale of one Mole's search for a place to call home [and] follows the adventures of the Water Rat, Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger as they discover that home is where your friends are."
Michael Cumpsty, a 2012 Tony Award nominee for his performance in Broadway's End of the Rainbow, will return to Two River to star in Noël Coward's Present Laughter Feb. 16-March 10, 2013, at the Rechnitz Theater. Cumpsty will star as "debonair matinee idol Garry Essendine, the center of a vortex of friends, lovers, producers, and playwrights—all of whom invade his glamorous, 1930s art-deco style London home, demanding his attention."
Stefanie Zadravec's The Electric Baby, directed by May Adrales, will run April 6-May 5, 2013, at the Marion Huber Theater. Here's how the work is described: "Folk tales and folklore infuse this moving, powerful, and hopeful story about damaged people, unexpected relationships, and what it means to live in the center of your own life. A group of lost souls are brought together by an accident, and form unlikely connections that will change all of their lives. At the center of this new play is the magical child of a Romanian mother and Nigerian father, who glows with an unearthly light."
2.5 Minute Ride, written and performed by Tony nominee Lisa Kron (Well), will be directed by Mark Brokaw (The Lyons) and run April 20-May 12, 2013, at the Rechnitz Theater. The work is described as "a poignant, funny, complex meditation on tragedy, grief and family."
Closing out the season will be August Wilson's Two Trains Running, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Stick Fly). Two Trains Running, according to Two River, "illuminates the personal stories of ordinary people against the backdrop of social change and political upheaval." The play will run June 1-23, 2013, at the Rechnitz Theater.
Two River Theater is located at 21 Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, NJ. For more information and tickets, call (732) 345-1400 or visit TRTC.org.
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