Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the major grants and awards the theater has received for its 2016/17 Season. Total funding for the season currently exceeds $500,000 in grants.
Generous supporters and major funders for the year include the following:
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s National Playwrights Residency Program (NPRP) will support a three-year residency for Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Madeleine George, author of The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Through the NPRP, now in its second year, 19 playwrights will spend the next three years as salaried staff members in residence at 18 theaters located in 13 cities around the country. HowlRound, a theater commons, will document and disseminate the activities of this program. Through this grant, Two River will produce the commissioned world premiere of George’s play Hurricane Diane in the winter of 2017, and support her in the development of new work—both her own, and that of other great playwrights around the country. Additionally, she will partner with the theater’s Artistic, Marketing, and Education departments on such initiatives as season planning, audience-engagement activities, and teaching/mentoring young people.
The Roy Cockrum Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts will support the second American production of The Ballad of Little Jo, a musical by Grammy Award-winning composer Mike Reid, lyricist Sarah Schlesinger, and Two River Artistic Director John Dias, who is collaborating with Reid and Schlesinger on the book and directing the production. The mission of The Roy Cockrum Foundation is to award grants to support world-class performing arts projects in not-for-profit professional theaters throughout the United States. Based on Maggie Greenwald’s film of the same name, The Ballad of Little Jo is inspired by the real-life story of Josephine Monaghan—a young woman from Boston who, in the late 19th century, made a new life in an Idaho mining town disguised as a man called “Jo.” It will be produced at Two River Theater in June 2017.
Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest will support Two River’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor and its A Little Shakespeare program, which introduces the works of Shakespeare to hundreds of young people each season. In connection with the theater’s mainstage production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which will be directed by Eric Tucker and will feature a cast of only three actors, Two River will offer a professionally produced 75-minute version of the play adapted and directed by Nicole A. Watson, and performed by local high-school students for audiences age 9 and up. The theater will connect students to both productions through student matinees and intensive pre-show workshops.
The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation will support Two River Theater’s production of The Lion in Winter, running November 12-December 4 under the direction of Tyne Rafaeli. The production will star Tony Award nominee and Obie Award winner Michael Cumpsty and three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty. The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation was established in 1983 by New Brunswick philanthropist Irving Laurie and supports a variety of projects across broad issue areas, including the arts, education, health care and social services.
Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Bank of America Charitable Foundation will support Two River’s Latino outreach programs, which create artistic opportunities for Latino theater artists from around the country and foster a stronger relationship between the theater and Red Bank’s Latino community. Through these grants, Two River will continue its work of producing plays by Latino writers; hosting free public events, including activities for families; and making available free tickets to mainstage performances through its community outreach partnerships.
The William T. Morris Foundation will support Inside Two River, an ongoing series of arts and humanities events that cultivate an engaged theater audience. The William T. Morris Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports the arts & culture, education, health care, and quality-of-life. Through the Foundation’s support, Two River will offer arts and humanities programming that enhance its impact on its current patrons and simultaneously connect the theater with new audiences.
The Jorgensen Foundation will support Two River’s career-development programs for young people, Including TheaterWorks, Metro Scholars, and A Little Shakespeare. TheaterWorks connects at-risk youth to the spectrum of vocational opportunities available in theater through study of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on a professional play. The Metro Scholars program is a competitive year-long internship at the theater for high school juniors who work within the theater’s departments, see all of its productions, and take workshops exploring various aspects of professional theater. A Little Shakespeare is a fully immersive experience for the student actors and crew who spend three months in rehearsal and performances.
Two River Theater is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Roy Cockrum Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Monmouth University, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Riverview Medical Center, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Shakespeare in American Communities, National Endowment for the Arts, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Investors Bank, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Jorgensen Foundation, Wells Fargo, William T. Morris Foundation, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.