New Jersey’s Two River Theater has unveiled its 2018–2019 season programming. The 25th anniversary season will feature the world premiere of Pamela’s First Musical, based on Wendy Wasserstein’s book; the first major revival of Regina Taylor’s jazz play Oo-Bla-Dee, directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; the world premiere of Martin Moran’s play Theo, and a production of Michael Frayn’s backstage farce-within-a-farce Noises Off, directed by Sunday in the Park With George director Sarna Lapine.
Kicking off the season September 8 will be Pamela’s First Musical, directed and choreographed by ten-time Tony Award nominated choreographer Graciela Daniele. The musical, about a child's introduction to the wonder of musical theatre, is written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles), based on her own book, and Tony winner Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel, who previously collaborated on City of Angels.
In November, Obie Award winner Brandon J. Dirden (Jitney) will return to Two River to direct August Wilson’s King Hedley II, the sequel to Seven Guitars, which he helmed at the New Jersey theatre in 2015. The production will mark the halfway point in Two River's mission to present Wilson’s complete, 10-play American Century Cycle.
In the new year will be a new production of Noises Off, directed by Lapine, followed by the world premiere of Theo, directed by Carolyn Cantor (Sell/Buy/Date). The new play looks at how families change—and the ways they don't—in a story of kinship, love, and identity.
Next spring, Maureen Silliman will star as Emily Dickinson in William Luce’s The Belle of Amherst, directed by Two River founder Robert Rechnitz; followed by Oo-Bla-Dee, directed by Santiago-Hudson, and featuring new music by two-time Obie-winning jazz composer Diedre L. Murray. The play, which will begin in June 2019, offers a lively portrait of a female bebop band of African-American musicians traveling the country following the end of World War I.
The season will also include a family-friendly production of Journey to Oz written and directed by Christopher Parks with music composition and sound design by Josh Totora, scheduled for the fall; and a return of its youth program, A Little Shakespeare.
“Over the past eight years, Two River has built a robust initiative to develop and foster a pipeline of new plays and musicals, and to produce original work and classics interpreted by some of the country’s leading theater artists,” says Artistic Director John Dias in a statement. “To celebrate this landmark 25th Anniversary Season, we look to our own history—our founder’s vision, our expansive mission, our family of artists—as we forge our way into the future of the American theatre.”
For additional information, visit Tworivertheater.org.