Since 2012, award-winning actor and director Brandon J. Dirden has made an artistic home at Two River Theater, appearing on the theater’s Red Bank stage in five productions and making his directorial debut in 2015 with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars—a production that NJ Monthly raved “poignantly captures the joys and sorrows that are the signatures of Wilson’s work.”
This season, Two River continues its commitment to produce all 10 plays of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle with Dirden’s production of Radio Golf, the sixth play in the Cycle produced at the theater. Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, February 29 and continue through Sunday, March 22. The opening night performance is Friday, March 6 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. Two River Theater’s 2019/20 Season Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center.
August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America, decade-by-decade, over the course of the 20th century. His plays have been produced on Broadway, at regional theaters across the country, and all over the world.
Set in 1997, Radio Golf is the 10th and final play in the American Century Cycle. Real-estate developer Harmond Wilks is determined to become the first black mayor of Pittsburgh—and to revitalize the Hill District by breaking ground on his real estate firm’s most lucrative redevelopment project. Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods are ready to move in. One of the buildings that Harmond’s company is set to destroy is 1839 Wylie Avenue—the ancestral home of Aunt Ester, who died in 1985, during the events of King Hedley II (performed at Two River last season). Two men with close ties to Aunt Ester confront Harmond to convince him of the house’s spiritual significance to the community—forcing Harmond, and the Hill District itself, into a battle between the past and the future.
Radio Golf will feature Wayne DeHart (Elder Joseph Barlow), Amber Iman (Mame Wilks), Nathan James (Sterling Johnson), Carl Hendrick Louis (Harmond Wilks), and Robbie Williams (Roosevelt Hicks).
The creative team includes scenic designer Ed Haynes, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Driscoll Otto, sound designer Kay Richardson, and wig designer Erin Hicks. The casting is by Heidi Griffiths & Kate Murray, and the production stage manager is Megan Smith.
Brandon J. Dirden has appeared at Two River in A Raisin in the Sun; August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Jitney; the world premiere of Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine; and Topdog/Underdog, in which he starred opposite his brother Jason Dirden under the direction of the play’s author, Suzan-Lori Parks. Best known for portraying Agent Dennis Aderholt in the acclaimed FX series “The Americans,” his Broadway credits include Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way and August Wilson’s Jitney. In 2012 he was awarded an Obie and a Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Boy Willie in the Signature Theatre Company revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
Ticket prices for Radio Golf range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $25 tickets are available for every performance; $25 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $25 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.
INSIDE TWO RIVER
Inside Two River is a series of arts and humanities events that are curated for each of the theater’s productions. Multiple events take place each month and most are free. To RSVP for any event at Two River Theater, visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.
WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM: Interview with Brandon J. Dirden, February 19 at 7pm
Director Brandon J. Dirden will be interviewed before a live audience by WBGO Jazz 88.3FM News Director and Host Doug Doyle. The interview will be recorded for broadcast.
Book Club: August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, February 27 at 6pm
In collaboration with the book clubs of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center and the Red Bank Public Library, patrons and community members are invited to discuss the first play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, Gem of the Ocean. Set in 1904, Gem of the Ocean centers on the character of Aunt Ester as she guides the first generations of African Americans tasked with defining themselves outside the horrors of slavery.
TEDxAsburyPark Salon, March 12 from 6:30-7:30pm in partnership with TEDxAsburyPark
TEDxAsburyPark Salons feature curated talks by TEDx speakers and Two River Theater artists and staff. This evening will feature conversations on belonging, race, and gentrification. Cost: $25 per ticket, includes talks, light fare from Sickles Market and drinks. Free for Two River Theater donors and subscribers and TEDxAsburyPark conference ticket holders. Patrons have the option to purchase tickets to the 8pm performance of Radio Golf for an additional $25.
AUDIENCE EXTRAS & ACCESSBILITY
New this year, Two River is offering childcare during select performances, called Play Dates, for each show in the season. Parents or guardians can enjoy a matinee at the theater, while children ages 6-11 play theater games, make crafts and explore themes inspired by the production with Two River teaching artists. The cost is $10 per child and the price of the show tickets. The Play Date for Radio Golf is Saturday, March 7 at 3pm.
Post-play discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on
Wednesday, March 11 at 7pm; Sunday, March 15 at 3pm; and Wednesday, March 18 at 1pm.
An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 1pm. The performance on Saturday, March 21 at 3pm will be open captioned. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $25 for patrons using these services. To reserve wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets to a performance listed above, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audiences will learn about August Wilson and Radio Golf in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and lobby display.
Working with Google, Two River has created a virtual tour of its facility, which lives on Google Maps and tworivertheater.org. This virtual tour provides an additional level of support and benefit for patrons who use wheelchairs or require other assistance by allowing them to virtually come through the theater’s front doors and view the space in detail in advance of their visit.
Saturday, February 29 at 8pm
Sunday, March 1 at 3pm
Wednesday, March 4 at 1 pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 5 at 8pm
Friday, March 6 at 7pm (Opening Night)
Saturday, March 7 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 8 at 3pm
Wednesday, March 11 at 1pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 12 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm
Friday, March 13 at 8pm
Saturday, March 14 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 15 at 3pm
Wednesday, March 18 at 1pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 19 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm
Friday, March 20 at 8pm
Saturday, March 21 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 22 at 3pm
Two River Theater’s 2019/20 Season Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center. The Restaurant Partner is Urban Coalhouse. Inside Two River is sponsored by The William T. Morris Foundation.
Two River Theater is supported in part by public support through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Private support includes the Alec Baldwin Foundation, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Bank of America, Bank of America Private Bank, Brookdale Community College, Denholtz Properties, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, Investors Foundation, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, VNA Health Group, Wells Fargo Foundation, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.
Two River Theater annually produces 6+ productions (including classics, world premieres, musicals, and theater for families) and 40+ events that reflect its diverse community of Red Bank, New Jersey. The theater commissioned and premiered original works including Hurricane Diane by Playwright-in-Residence Madeleine George and Be More Chill by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. Each year, we serve thousands of students and community members through arts and humanities programs at the theater, in schools, and throughout our region. Two River Theater is led by Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. tworivertheater.org