Two River Theater will launch online benefit reading series on July 26

Two River Rising

The Two River Theater’s Two River Rising online series begins on July 26.

Joel Grey, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Brandon J. Dirden, Bebe Neuwirth and Sam Waterston will be among the artists participating in “Two River Rising,” a series of online benefit play readings that begins this week. The series is being presented by Two River Theater in Red Bank, and proceeds will go to The Actors Fund, The Audre Lorde Project, The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, The Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center and one organization to be named later.

According to a press release, the selections “reflect the past, present and future of the theater’s diverse range of programming including reimagined classics and world premieres by the industry’s most adventurous theater artists.”

“Two River’s family of artists are as eager to find ways to ‘show up’ as our audiences are,” said the theater’s artistic director, John Dias. “We’re launching this series—and partnering with other social justice/social service non-profits — as a way to respond to our present, celebrate our past and hope for our future.”

Tickets for online access are $25 per reading or $100 for all five, and include post-reading Q&A sessions with the artists. All readings will begin at 7 p.m. For information, visit

Here is the schedule:

July 26: “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. This play had its world premiere at Two River Theater in 2015, and will feature an updated script in this reading, which will feature original cast members Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Hovelson, Merritt Janson and Roslyn Ruff, plus Glynn Turman. A free streaming will follow on YouTube from 10 a.m. July 27 to 7 p.m. July 30, with donations greatly appreciated.

Aug. 5 (Act 1) and Aug. 6 (Act 2 and Q&A): “On Borrowed Time,” written by Paul Osborn and directed by Joel Grey. Two River Theater presented a production of this 19939 play in 2013. Reading participants will include Blair Brown, Michael Cumpsty, Oakes Fegley, Bill Irwin, Bebe Neuwirth, Phillipa Soo, Steven Skybell and Sam Waterston.

Aug. 19: “The Hombres,” written by Tony Meneses and directed by Annie Tippe. This play had been scheduled to have its world premiere at Two River Theater in April, but was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.

Sept. 9 (Act 1) and Sept. 10 (Act 2 and Q&A): “Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England,” written by Madeleine George and directed by Leigh Silverman. This play had its world premiere at Two River Theater in 2013.

Sept. 30 (Act 1) and Oct. 1 (Act 2 and Q&A): “Romeo and Juliet,” written by William Shakespeare, modern verse translation by Hansol Jung, directed by Chay Yew. A festival built around “Romeo and Juliet” is in Two River’s plans for the future, and this will be a part of it.


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