Teal Wicks, Daniel K. Isaac and More Set for THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO Album Release Concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below on November 12

Eric William Morris, Daniel K. Isaac, Jane Bruce and Teal Wicks in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett

THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO played an acclaimed summer engagement at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, starring Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland), Eric William Morris (Be More Chill, Mamma Mia!), Jane Bruce (Elf, The Theory of Relativity), and Daniel K. Isaac (“According to My Mother,” “Billions”). The company also included Cole Burden, Brian Flores, Leenya Rideout, Christopher M. Russo, Perry Sherman, Kristin Stokes, Ian Michael Stuart, and Barbara Tirrell.

Daniel K. Isaac, Teal Wicks, Jane Bruce and Eric William Morris, in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett
Daniel K. Isaac, Teal Wicks, Jane Bruce and Eric William Morris, in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett

On Sunday, November 12th, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, will present an album release concert featuring members of the cast and band at 9:30 PM. Tickets are $35, include a CD and are available here. Tickets on the day of performance after 4PM are only available by calling 646.476.3551.

Two River Theater's THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO with Teal Wicks & More Gets Original Cast Recording

The Musical Company will release the original cast recording of the celebrated THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO on November 10, 2017. The album is also on Amazon and iTunes For more information on the album’s release, visit here.

THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO by Mike Reid (composer, co-bookwriter), Sarah Schlesinger (lyricist, co-bookwriter), and John Dias (co-bookwriter) is inspired by the real-life-story of Josephine Monaghan, a young woman from late 19th century Boston who made a new life in an Idaho mining town disguised as a man called Jo.

Grammy Award-winning, multi-Platinum songwriter Mike Reid (whose many hits include “I Can’t Make You Love Me”) and Sarah Schlesingertogether have received the Kleban Prize, Richard Rodgers Award, Gilman & Gonzalez Falla Theatre Foundation Award, and Chicago’s Jeff Award for Best Original Musical New Work for THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO.

John Dias, Two River’s Artistic Director, made his Two River directorial debut with this production, which featured choreography by Marc Kimelman.

The album was produced by Sean Patrick Flahaven, CEO of The Musical Company and a producer on over two dozen cast albums for Stephen Sondheim and others, nine of which were Grammy-nominated, including the triple-Platinum, Grammy-winning Hamilton.

The band consists of John O’Neill (conductor/piano) and Martin Agee(violin),Troy Chang (cello), Philip Coiro (drums/percussion), Simon Hutchings(reeds), Justin Rothberg (guitar), and Joseph Wallace (bass).

Prior to the production at Two River Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company produced THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO in 2000 as its first musical. It was subsequently produced at the Bridewell Theatre in London in 2003.

The creative team for Two River Theater’s production of THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO included orchestrator Danny Larsen, music supervisor & vocal arranger Patrick Vaccariello, scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Jess Goldstein, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, sound designerDrew Levy, wig designer Leah J. Loukas, and fight director Thomas Schall. The casting was by Jack Doulin + Sharky. The production stage manager was Amanda Michaels and the assistant stage manager was Denise Cardarelli.

The Musical Company has also announced that it represents live stage performance licensing of THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO, available now to professional theatres, with subsequent amateur licensing coming soon.

THE MUSICAL COMPANY provides best-in-class, comprehensive service to creators and producers of musicals, including theatrical licensing, music publishing and cast recording. Our experienced, innovative, client-and customer-focused approach is designed to help bring theatre to a wide audience. Operating from our headquarters in New York, with offices in London and Los Angeles, we’re owned by two industry-leading, independent and like-minded music companies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group and Concord Music. Visit themusicalcompany.com.

Since its founding in 1994, TWO RIVER THEATER has been committed to creating great American theater by developing and producing work by some of the country’s leading artists. We are proud to be viewed as a vital cultural resource in the community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Through 10 theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics and theater for young audiences) and 50+ annual events, we produce exceptional theater and cultivate engaged audiences. TWO RIVER THEATER is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. For more information, go to tworivertheater.org.

FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club & Private Event Destination, is a performance venue in the grand tradition of New York City nightlife. A few blocks from the heart of Times Square and just below the legendary Studio 54, FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW is a classically designed state-of-the art nightclub in the theatre district that hosts audiences with warmth and style. FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW presents iconic and rising stars from the worlds of Broadway and popular music and has set a new standard for culinary excellence worthy of the world-class entertainment on the stage. Located at 254 West 54th Street, FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW features up to three shows nightly with cover charges ranging from $5-$105.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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Multimedia: Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brenda Pressley, Willie Dirden and More at Two River Theater’s Opening Night Party for A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Willie Dirden, Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Binger, David Joel Rivera, Brenda Pressley, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III, Crystal A. Dickinson, York Walker, Owen Tabaka, and Nat DeWolf during the opening night curtain call for Two River Theater's A RAISIN IN THE SUN on September 15, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Binger, David Joel Rivera, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III, Crystal A. Dickinson, York Walker, Owen Tabaka, Brenda Pressley and Nat DeWolf during the opening night curtain call for Two River Theater's A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Binger, David Joel Rivera, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III, Crystal A. Dickinson, York Walker, Owen Tabaka, Brenda Pressley and Nat DeWolf during the opening night curtain call for Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN on September 15, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Two River Theater has another splendid hit in the Rechnitz Theater with the opening of the searing and powerful production of Lorraine Hansberry’s American classic A Raisin in the Sun, brilliantly helmed by Carl Cofield.

Willie Dirden, Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Binger, David Joel Rivera, Brenda Pressley, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III, Crystal A. Dickinson, York Walker, Owen Tabaka, and Nat DeWolf during the opening night curtain call for Two River Theater's A RAISIN IN THE SUN on September 15, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Binger, David Joel Rivera, Brenda Pressley, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III, Crystal A. Dickinson, York Walker, Owen Tabaka, and Nat DeWolf during the opening night curtain call for Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN on September 15, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Brandon J. Dirden stars as Walter Lee Younger, his wife Crystal A. Dickinson as Ruth Younger, his father Willie Dirden as Bobo, Brenda Pressley as Lena Younger, Jasmine Batchelor as Beneatha Younger, Nat DeWolf as Karl Lindner, Charlie Hudson III as Joseph Asagai, Owen Tabaka as Travis Younger, York Walker as George Murchison, with Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera as the Moving Men.

Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Andrew Binger, Brenda Pressley, Director Carl Cofield, Nat DeWolf, York Walker, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III (not pictured: Owen Tabaka and David Joel Rivera. Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Andrew Binger, Brenda Pressley, Director Carl Cofield, Nat DeWolf, York Walker, Jasmine Batchelor, Charlie Hudson III (not pictured: Owen Tabaka and David Joel Rivera) Photo by Lia Chang

A Raisin in the Sun marks the first time that Brandon and his father Willie have shared the same stage.

Willie and Deborah Dirden with their daughter, Maria, granddaughter, Emerson, and their sons, James Dirden, Jason Dirden and Brandon Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie and Deborah Dirden with their daughter, Maria, granddaughter, Emerson, and their sons, James Dirden, Jason Dirden and Brandon Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

There were more than 50 family members in attendance including Two River alum and brother Jason Dirden (Topdog/Underdog, Seven GuitarsMa Rainey’s Black Bottom) who currently appears as Basie Skanks on “Greenleaf” on the OWN Network.

Jason Dirden Discusses ‘Greenleaf’ and the Family Business

The Dirden-Dickinson clan came out to celebrate opening night and Willie Dirden's 72nd birthday. Photo by Lia Chang
The Dirden-Dickinson clan came out to celebrate opening night and Willie Dirden’s 72nd birthday. Photo by Lia Chang

The double celebration included a cake for Willie Dirden who turned 72 and became a member of Actors Equity Association.

Video produced by Garth Kravits.

The creative team includes scenic designers Christopher Swader & Justin Swader, costume designer Elivia Bovenzi, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, sound designer Karin Graybash, wig designer Valerie Gladstone and stage manager Lloyd Davis, Jr.

Scenic Designers Justin Swader, Christopher Swader, Brandon J. Dirden, Willie Dirden, Andrew Binger, Owen Tabaka, Director Carl Cofield, Constume Designer Elivia Bovenzi, Nat DeWolf, York Walker, Jasmine Batchelor, Crystal A. Dickinson and Charlie Hudson III. Photo by Lia Chang
Scenic Designers Justin Swader, Christopher Swader, Brandon J. Dirden, Willie Dirden, Andrew Binger, Owen Tabaka, Director Carl Cofield, Constume Designer Elivia Bovenzi, Nat DeWolf, York Walker, Jasmine Batchelor, Crystal A. Dickinson and Charlie Hudson III. Photo by Lia Chang

Don’t miss the masterful work being done by these artists. Performances continue through Sunday, October 8 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ.  Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org

Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More in Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, Opens September 15 

In the Rehearsal Room with Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More in Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN 

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Brandon J. Dirden, Willie Dirden, Deborah Dirden, Lia Chang, Jason Dirden. Photo by Garth Kravits
Brandon J. Dirden, Willie Dirden, Deborah Dirden, Lia Chang, Jason Dirden. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in  Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachang.com

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Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More in Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, Opens September 15

Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Two River Theater (Artistic Director John Dias, Managing Director Michael Hurst) presents A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Carl Cofield. The press opening is Friday, September 15 at 7pm and performances will continue through Sunday, October 8 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ.  Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org

Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

The cast includes Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Crystal A. Dickinson(Ruth Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.

Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) and Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) in in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) and Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) in in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

The creative team includes scenic designers Christopher Swader & Justin Swader, costume designer Elivia Bovenzi, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, sound designer Karin Graybash, and wigs designer Valerie Gladstone. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky, and the stage manager is Lloyd Davis, Jr.

Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner) and Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner) and Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai) and Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai) and Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) and York Walker (George Murchison) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger) and York Walker (George Murchison) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Willie Dirden (Bobo) and Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Willie Dirden (Bobo) and Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger) and Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger) in A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

In the Rehearsal Room with Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More in Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN 

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In the Rehearsal Room with Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More in Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Owen Tabaka, Jasmine Batchelor, Brenda Pressley, Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson Photo by Lia Chang
Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ.
Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ.

Two River Theater’s much anticipated production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is deep in rehearsal and I was invited to document a run thru on Saturday afternoon by director Carl Cofield.

Director Carl Cofield Photo by Lia Chang
Director Carl Cofield
Photo by Lia Chang

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, September 9 and continue for an extended four-week run, through Sunday, October 8. The opening night performance is Friday, September 15 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. The lead production sponsor is Riverview Medical Center and the media partner is WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM.

(Standing) Willie Dirden, York Walker, Charlie Hudson III, director Carl Cofield, Nat DeWolf, David Joel Rivera, Andrew Binger. (Seated) Owen Tabaka, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brenda Pressley, Jasmine Batchelor and Brandon J. Dirden Photo by Lia Chang
(Standing) Willie Dirden, York Walker, Charlie Hudson III, director Carl Cofield, Nat DeWolf, David Joel Rivera, Andrew Binger. (Seated) Owen Tabaka, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brenda Pressley, Jasmine Batchelor and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of A Raisin in the Sun includes Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.

The cast and creative team of A RAISIN IN THE SUN Photo by Lia Chang
The cast and creative team of A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team includes scenic designers Christopher & Justin Swader, costume designer Elivia Bovenzi, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, Sound Designer Karin Graybash, and wigs designer Valerie Gladstone. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky, and the stage manager is Lloyd Davis, Jr.

In this landmark drama, Hansberry-drawing on her own family’s experience with housing discrimination-dramatizes the story of the Younger family, headed by matriarch Lena Younger, her son Walter Lee, and his wife, Ruth, who live (with other family members) in poverty on Chicago’s south side. As the play begins, we see that Walter Lee, a chauffeur, dreams of what he might do with a long-promised life-insurance check, a legacy left to them to them by Lena’s late husband.

Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden
Photo by Lia Chang

We meet the Younger family on the day that their lives could change forever. Taking its title from a poem by Langston Hughes-“What happens to a dream deferred/Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”-Hansberry’s play explores the different hopes and aspirations of each member of the Younger family as they fight for their piece of the American Dream.

Owen Tabaka, Jasmine Batchelor, Brenda Pressley, Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson Photo by Lia Chang
Owen Tabaka, Jasmine Batchelor, Brenda Pressley, Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson
Photo by Lia Chang

A Raisin in the Sun debuted in 1959 and was the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Produced at Two River for the first time in the theater’s 24-year history, the play is Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal masterpiece about race, social justice, and history-American history in the largest sense, and the personal histories of ordinary African-Americans.

A Raisin in the Sun is not only one of America’s greatest plays,” says Artistic Director John Dias, “it is in fact one of the greatest works of art ever created. Lorraine Hansberry uses the metaphor of the family to illuminate something profound about who we are as Americans.

Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson
Photo by Lia Chang

We have built this production around the talents of an extraordinary family of Two River actors: Brenda Pressley as Lena Younger; Brandon J. Dirden as Walter Lee Younger; and Brandon’s wife, Crystal A. Dickinson, as Ruth Younger.

Willie Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden
Photo by Lia Chang

Joining them will be Brandon’s father, Willie Dirden, as Bobo, making this the first time that father and son have acted together. Carl Cofield’s production will resonate today as a story of how courage, hope and love trump our ongoing history of inequity and injustice.”

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.

Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brenda Pressley and Owen Tabaka Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brenda Pressley and Owen Tabaka
Photo by Lia Chang

INSIDE TWO RIVER:
Inside Two River is a series of events specially curated for each Two River Theater production. For more information or to reserve seats, patrons should visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.

Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Jasmine Batchelor and Nat DeWolf Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Jasmine Batchelor and Nat DeWolf Photo by Lia Chang

AUDIENCE EXTRAS:
Before Play and Lobby Display
Audiences will learn about Lorraine Hansberry and A Raisin in the Sun in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations
Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on Sunday, September 24 at 3pm; Wednesday, September 27 at 1pm; and Wednesday, October 4 at 7pm.

Crystal A. Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden and Jasmine Batchelor Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden and Jasmine Batchelor
Photo by Lia Chang

ACCESSIBILITY:
Working with Google, Two River has created and launched 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.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN costumes by Elivia Bovenzi Photo by Lia Chang
A RAISIN IN THE SUN costumes by Elivia Bovenzi
Photo by Lia Chang

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, September 27 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, September 30 at 3pm. 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 boxoffice@trtc.org.

The world of A RAISIN IN THE SUN Photo by Lia Chang
The world of A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Photo by Lia Chang

Since its founding in 1994, Two River Theater has been committed to creating great American theater by developing and producing work by some of the country’s leading artists. We are proud to be viewed as a vital cultural resource in the community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Through 10 theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics and theater for young audiences) and 50+ annual events happening around Monmouth County, we produce exceptional theater and cultivate engaged audiences. Two River celebrates and honors our core values of Artistic Excellence; Education and Community Engagement; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Operational Excellence. Two River Theater is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.

Charlie Hudson III and Nat DeWolf Photo by Lia Chang
Charlie Hudson III and Nat DeWolf
Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Lia Chang and Brandon J. Dirden Photo by Carl Cofield
Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Lia Chang and Brandon J. Dirden
Photo by Carl Cofield
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, Willie Dirden, Brenda Pressley and More Set for Two River Theater’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, September 9 – October 8

Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Deborah Dirden, Jason Dirden, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of Broadway's JITNEY on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Deborah Dirden, Jason Dirden, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of Broadway’s JITNEY on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, launches its 2017/18 Season with Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Carl Cofield.

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, September 9 and continue for an extended four-week run, through Sunday, October 8. The opening night performance is Friday, September 15 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. The lead production sponsor is Riverview Medical Center and the media partner is WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM.

Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of A Raisin in the Sun includes Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.

The creative team includes scenic designers Christopher & Justin Swader, costume designer Elivia Bovenzi, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, Sound Designer Karin Graybash, and wigs designer Valerie Gladstone. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky, and the stage manager is Lloyd Davis, Jr.

In this landmark drama, Hansberry-drawing on her own family’s experience with housing discrimination-dramatizes the story of the Younger family, headed by matriarch Lena Younger, her son Walter Lee, and his wife, Ruth, who live (with other family members) in poverty on Chicago’s south side. As the play begins, we see that Walter Lee, a chauffeur, dreams of what he might do with a long-promised life-insurance check, a legacy left to them to them by Lena’s late husband. We meet the Younger family on the day that their lives could change forever. Taking its title from a poem by Langston Hughes-“What happens to a dream deferred/Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”-Hansberry’s play explores the different hopes and aspirations of each member of the Younger family as they fight for their piece of the American Dream.

A Raisin in the Sun debuted in 1959 and was the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Produced at Two River for the first time in the theater’s 24-year history, the play is Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal masterpiece about race, social justice, and history-American history in the largest sense, and the personal histories of ordinary African-Americans.

A Raisin in the Sun is not only one of America’s greatest plays,” says Artistic Director John Dias, “it is in fact one of the greatest works of art ever created. Lorraine Hansberry uses the metaphor of the family to illuminate something profound about who we are as Americans. We have built this production around the talents of an extraordinary family of Two River actors: Brenda Pressley as Lena Younger; Brandon J. Dirden as Walter Lee Younger; and Brandon’s wife, Crystal A. Dickinson, as Ruth Younger. Joining them will be Brandon’s father, Willie Dirden, as Bobo, making this the first time that father and son have acted together. Carl Cofield’s production will resonate today as a story of how courage, hope and love trump our ongoing history of inequity and injustice.”

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 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 events specially curated for each Two River Theater production. For more information or to reserve seats, patrons should visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.

Raisin’ the Roof Block Party: Thursday, August 31 at 6pm on the Two River Theater Plaza (rain location: Theater Lobby)

In this free community event, Two River will host an outdoor block party featuring live music by Gary Wright Roots & Blues, dancing on the plaza, and a sampling of food from local restaurants including M+J Texas BBQ. Participants will have the opportunity to meet the company of A Raisin in the Sun and enter a raffle to win free tickets. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 732.345.1400.

AUDIENCE EXTRAS:

Before Play and Lobby Display

Audiences will learn about Lorraine Hansberry and A Raisin in the Sun in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations

Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on Sunday, September 24 at 3pm; Wednesday, September 27 at 1pm; and Wednesday, October 4 at 7pm.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Working with Google, Two River has created and launched 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.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, September 27 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, September 30 at 3pm. 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 boxoffice@trtc.org.

Since its founding in 1994, Two River Theater has been committed to creating great American theater by developing and producing work by some of the country’s leading artists. We are proud to be viewed as a vital cultural resource in the community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Through 10 theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics and theater for young audiences) and 50+ annual events happening around Monmouth County, we produce exceptional theater and cultivate engaged audiences. Two River celebrates and honors our core values of Artistic Excellence; Education and Community Engagement; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Operational Excellence. Two River Theater is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in  Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachang.com

Jane Bruce, Daniel K. Isaac, Eric William Morris, Teal Wicks and More in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO at Two River Theater, Opens June 9

Daniel K. Isaac, Teal Wicks, Jane Bruce and Eric William Morris, in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett
Eric William Morris, Daniel K. Isaac, Jane Bruce and Teal Wicks in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett
Eric William Morris, Daniel K. Isaac, Jane Bruce and Teal Wicks in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO. Photo by Amanda Crommett

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, concludes its 2016/17 Season with The Ballad of Little Jo, a musical by Mike Reid (composer, co-bookwriter), Sarah Schlesinger (lyricist, co-bookwriter), and John Dias (co-bookwriter). Dias, the theater’s Artistic Director, is also making his Two River directorial debut with this production. The choreography is by Marc Kimelman, with music direction and dance and incidental arrangements by John O’Neill. The Ballad of Little Jo is based on the film of the same name by Maggie Greenwald.

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, June 3 and continue through Sunday, June 25. The opening night performance is Friday, June 9 at 8pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. The production is supported by The Roy Cockrum Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The lead production sponsor is Monmouth University.

The score, which evokes the folk ballads of pioneer America, is by Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Mike Reid (whose many hits include “I Can’t Make You Love Me”) and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger. Together, Reid and Schlesinger have received the Kleban Prize, Richard Rodgers Award, Gilman & Gonzalez Falla Theatre Foundation Award, and Chicago’s Jeff Award for Best Original Musical.

Set in the late 19th century, The Ballad of Little Jo is inspired by the remarkable real-life story of a woman named Josephine Monaghan. Originally from Boston, Josephine lived in a tough Idaho mining town for nearly 20 years, disguised as a man called “Jo.”

The Ballad of Little Jo features Jane Bruce (Elf, Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical) as Sara Stewart Ellis, Daniel K. Isaac (“According to My Mother,” “Billions”) as Tin Man Wong, Eric William Morris (Be More Chill, Mamma Mia!) as Jordan Ellis, and Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland) as Josephine Monaghan/Jo Monaghan.

Daniel K. Isaac Talks “Billions” and “According to My Mother” Screenings at Outfest and CAAMfest 

The company also includes Cole Burden, Brian Flores, Leenya Rideout, Christopher Russo, Perry Sherman, Kristin Stokes, Ian Michael Stuart, and Barbara Tirrell.

The band consists of John O’Neill (conductor/piano) and Pauline Bradshaw (violin), Troy Chang (cello), Philip Coiro (drums/percussion), Simon Hutchings (reeds), Justin Rothberg (guitar), and Joseph Wallace (bass).

The creative team for The Ballad of Little Jo includes music supervisor Patrick Vaccariello, orchestrator Danny Larsen, scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Jess Goldstein, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, sound designer Drew Levy, wig designer Leah J. Loukas, and fight director Thomas Schall. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky. The production stage manager is Amanda Michaels and the assistant stage manager is Denise Cardarelli.

The Ballad of Little Jo had its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2000, in a production that prompted John Lahr to call it “the best piece of musical storytelling I have seen in a decade” in The New Yorker. But Lahr also called it “unfinished.” It was presented at the Bridewell Theatre in London in 2003 and had a reading at The Public Theater in 2008. Subsequent to becoming Two River’s Artistic Director in 2010, John Dias joined the creative team as co-bookwriter and director, and has been helping to further develop the piece through workshops and readings.

“The Ballad of Little Jo is a beautiful musical that I watched take shape even before its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago,” says Dias. “It represents something that, to my mind, is vastly underserved in the American theater: there are many great new works that have had a first production, but are worthy of further attention and additional cultivation. Two River Theater and Red Bank audiences have embraced Mike and Sarah since we premiered their chamber musical In This House in 2012, and we have been developing Little Jo since then.”

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets is available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.

Book Club: True Grit by Charles Portis
Monday, June 19 at 6:30pm in the Victoria Mastrobuono Library
Literary Manager Anika Chapin will lead a discussion of True Grit by Charles Portis, the story of a young girl in the American West. In conjunction with The Ballad of Little Jo, the Two River Book Club will discuss the Western as a genre, the changing portrayal of men and women, and the dangerous allure of the frontier in art and life. This event is free and open to the public. To reserve a spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit www.tworivertheater.org.

Audience Extras:
Before Play and Lobby Display
Audiences will learn about The Ballad of Little Jo in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations
Discussions with members of the cast and a member of Two River Theater’s Artistic staff will take place following the performances on Wednesday, June 14 at 7pm; Sunday, June 18 at 3pm; and Wednesday, June 21 at 1pm.

Accessibility:
Working with Google, Two River has created and launched 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.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 at 3pm. 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 boxoffice@trtc.org.

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, produces American and world masterpieces, and new plays and musicals. Two River Theater offers new-play commissions and artistic development activities that support the most adventurous artists in the American theater, and cultivates a new generation of theatergoers through innovative arts education programs that introduce young people to the theater and create opportunities for them to engage with renowned theater artists. Two River Theater was founded by Joan and Robert Rechnitz in 1994. Visit tworivertheater.org for more.

Jane Bruce, Daniel K. Isaac, Eric William Morris, Teal Wicks and More Set for THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO at Two River Theater, June 3-25

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, concludes its 2016/17 Season with The Ballad of Little Jo, a musical by Mike Reid (composer, co-bookwriter), Sarah Schlesinger (lyricist, co-bookwriter), and John Dias (co-bookwriter). Dias, the theater’s Artistic Director, is also making his Two River directorial debut with this production. The choreography is by Marc Kimelman, with music direction and dance and incidental arrangements by John O’Neill. The Ballad of Little Jo is based on the film of the same name by Maggie Greenwald.

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, June 3 and continue through Sunday, June 25. The opening night performance is Friday, June 9 at 8pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. The production is supported by The Roy Cockrum Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The lead production sponsor is Monmouth University.

The score, which evokes the folk ballads of pioneer America, is by Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Mike Reid (whose many hits include “I Can’t Make You Love Me”) and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger. Together, Reid and Schlesinger have received the Kleban Prize, Richard Rodgers Award, Gilman & Gonzalez Falla Theatre Foundation Award, and Chicago’s Jeff Award for Best Original Musical.

Set in the late 19th century, The Ballad of Little Jo is inspired by the remarkable real-life story of a woman named Josephine Monaghan. Originally from Boston, Josephine lived in a tough Idaho mining town for nearly 20 years, disguised as a man called “Jo.”

The Ballad of Little Jo will feature Jane Bruce (Elf, Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical) as Sara Stewart Ellis, Daniel K. Isaac (“According to My Mother,” “Billions”) as Tin Man Wong, Eric William Morris (Be More Chill, Mamma Mia!) as Jordan Ellis, and Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland) as Josephine Monaghan/Jo Monaghan.

Daniel K. Isaac Talks “Billions” and “According to My Mother” Screenings at Outfest and CAAMfest 

The company also includes Cole Burden, Brian Flores, Leenya Rideout, Christopher Russo, Perry Sherman, Kristin Stokes, Ian Michael Stuart, and Barbara Tirrell.

The band will consist of John O’Neill (conductor/piano) and Pauline Bradshaw (violin), Troy Chang (cello), Philip Coiro (drums/percussion), Simon Hutchings (reeds), Justin Rothberg (guitar), and Joseph Wallace (bass).

The creative team for The Ballad of Little Jo includes music supervisor Patrick Vaccariello, orchestrator Danny Larsen, scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Jess Goldstein, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, sound designer Drew Levy, wig designer Leah J. Loukas, and fight director Thomas Schall. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky. The production stage manager is Amanda Michaels and the assistant stage manager is Denise Cardarelli.

The Ballad of Little Jo had its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2000, in a production that prompted John Lahr to call it “the best piece of musical storytelling I have seen in a decade” in The New Yorker. But Lahr also called it “unfinished.” It was presented at the Bridewell Theatre in London in 2003 and had a reading at The Public Theater in 2008. Subsequent to becoming Two River’s Artistic Director in 2010, John Dias joined the creative team as co-bookwriter and director, and has been helping to further develop the piece through workshops and readings.

“The Ballad of Little Jo is a beautiful musical that I watched take shape even before its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago,” says Dias. “It represents something that, to my mind, is vastly underserved in the American theater: there are many great new works that have had a first production, but are worthy of further attention and additional cultivation. Two River Theater and Red Bank audiences have embraced Mike and Sarah since we premiered their chamber musical In This House in 2012, and we have been developing Little Jo since then.”

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets is available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.

Inside Two River:
Film Screening: The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) – From Screen to Stage
Friday, May 5 at 7pm in the Rechnitz Theater
Two River will screen Maggie Greenwald’s 1993 film The Ballad of Little Jo, free and open to the public. Members of the musical’s creative team will introduce the film and discuss how they translated the story from screen to stage. To reserve a spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit www.tworivertheater.org.

Open Rehearsal
Tuesday, May 9 at 7pm in the Rechnitz Theater
Audiences are invited to join Two River Theater to watch an open rehearsal in the Rechnitz Theater with director John Dias and members of the cast as they work on select scenes and songs from the production. The rehearsal will include a short Q&A session, and will be followed by dessert and coffee in the lobby. To reserve a spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit www.tworivertheater.org.

TEDxNavesink Conference: “Identity”
Saturday, May 20 from 9am-5pm at the Paramount Theatre on the Boardwalk at Asbury Park
John Dias will introduce the song “Unbuttoning the Buttons” from The Ballad of Little Jo at this year’s annual TEDxNavesink Conference, which is exploring the theme of Identity. TEDxNavesink is offering a 20% per ticket discount to the all-day conference for Two River Theater patrons, members, colleagues, and their families. For information or to purchase tickets, patrons should visit http://tedxnavesink.com/ and use the code TRTheaterTEDx17.

Book Club: True Grit by Charles Portis
Monday, June 19 at 6:30pm in the Victoria Mastrobuono Library
Literary Manager Anika Chapin will lead a discussion of True Grit by Charles Portis, the story of a young girl in the American West. In conjunction with The Ballad of Little Jo, the Two River Book Club will discuss the Western as a genre, the changing portrayal of men and women, and the dangerous allure of the frontier in art and life. This event is free and open to the public. To reserve a spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit www.tworivertheater.org.

Audience Extras:
Before Play and Lobby Display
Audiences will learn about The Ballad of Little Jo in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations
Discussions with members of the cast and a member of Two River Theater’s Artistic staff will take place following the performances on Wednesday, June 14 at 7pm; Sunday, June 18 at 3pm; and Wednesday, June 21 at 1pm.

Accessibility:
Working with Google, Two River has created and launched 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.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 at 3pm. 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 boxoffice@trtc.org.

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, produces American and world masterpieces, and new plays and musicals. Two River Theater offers new-play commissions and artistic development activities that support the most adventurous artists in the American theater, and cultivates a new generation of theatergoers through innovative arts education programs that introduce young people to the theater and create opportunities for them to engage with renowned theater artists. Two River Theater was founded by Joan and Robert Rechnitz in 1994. Visit tworivertheater.org for more.

Brandon J. Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson Set to Star in A RAISIN IN THE SUN at Two River Theater, September 9 – October 8

Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Crystal A. Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, will launch the 2017/18 Season in September with theater power couple Brandon J. Dirden (Jitney, All the Way, Two River’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and his wife Crystal A. Dickinson (Clybourne Park, You Can’t Take it with You, Two River’s Seven Guitars) starring as Walter Lee Younger and Ruth Younger in one of the greatest family dramas ever written, Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 masterpiece A Raisin in the Sun—the play that “changed American theater forever” (Frank Rich, The New York Times).

Willie Dirden, Debbie Dirden, Jason Dirden, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Willie Dirden, Debbie Dirden, Jason Dirden, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party of JITNEY at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Dirden will share the stage for the first time with his father, Willie Dirden, who will be playing Bobo. Carl Cofield directs the production which will have performances September 9 – October 8, 2017. The press opening is September 15, 2017. Additional cast to be announced at a later date.

Full-season 6-play subscriptions are on sale now; prices range from $180 to $315. Subscribers save 25% on tickets, receive prime seating and a number of additional benefits. Visit tworivertheater.org for more details.

Individual show tickets will go on sale August 2017.

Ticket prices for subscription shows range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance.

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com