Artistic Development

Playwright Submission 

Two River Theater produces classics, contemporary plays, and world premieres and is committed to supporting the voices, ambitions and visions of theater artists. We are committed to the full range of new-play development and production, and we are always actively scouting new works by playwrights; composers, lyricists and librettists; and translators and adaptors of classics.

We are able to accept script submissions from agents only. If you are unrepresented, feel free to send us information about upcoming productions and readings. This information can be sent by email or hard copy to Taylor Barfield, Literary Manager, at tbarfield@trtc.org or Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank NJ 07701.

Playwright-in-Residence

In 2015/16 Two River was honored to have been selected as one of 13 theaters around the country granted support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s prestigious National Playwrights Residency Program, through which Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Madeleine George—whose play Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England we premiered in 2011/12—joined our staff as our first Playwright-in-Residence. Through this grant, Two River produced the commissioned world premiere of Madeleine’s play Hurricane Diane in the winter of 2017. We also support Madeleine in the development of new work—both her own, and that of other great playwrights around the country. Madeleine has guided a series of residencies that have brought writers together for playwright-driven, playwright-serving activities; these activities have ranged from a week-long immersion into the work of Greek playwrights to a day-long study of David Greenspan, in connection with his acclaimed adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Emerging Playwrights Group

Beginning in the 2018/19 Season, Two River continued to build its new-play program by introducing an Emerging Playwrights Group. The inaugural cohort included Eboni Booth, Noah Diaz, Emily Feldman and Miranda Rose Hall. The 2019/20 Emerging Playwrights Group will include Eleanor Burgess, Jessica Huang, Kareem M. Lucas, and Emily Zemba.

The group will meet periodically in Red Bank throughout the season to share new work. Each playwright will also have an intimate staged reading of a new play sometime during the 2019/20 Season. We invite our audiences to attend these free readings and be part of the process of creating new work for the American stage.

New Work and Commissions

Two River Theater believes in producing new works. Since John Dias became Artistic Director in 2010, the theater has produced the world or American premieres of 13 original plays and musicals, five of them commissions; we also commissioned and produced an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Pericles, reimagined with original music and lyrics by Rinde Eckert, directed by David Schweizer.

Our new-play commissioning program was launched in 2010 to create a pipeline for new work, and we are committed to sustaining and expanding the program. We typically invest $15,000 in a new play commission (either given to one writer, if there only is one, or split by collaborators) and an additional $25,000 or more to develop a play for production through workshops, readings, and dramaturgical support. To maintain the consistency of our ambition, we commission two plays a year; maintain up to six projects in the pipeline of development; and produce anywhere from one to three premieres each season.

Commissions currently in development include plays and musicals by Matt Barbot, Rinde Eckert, Jessica Hagedorn, Lisa Kron, Tony Meneses, and musicals by Ben Steinfeld and the teams of Joe Iconis/Joe Tracz and Daniel Maté/Marshall Pailet.

Past commissions and premieres include the following:

CWP – Commissioned World Premiere

WP – World Premiere

AP – American Premiere

2017/18 El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom by Matt Barbot, directed by José Zayas (WP)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder, adapted by David Greenspan, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll (CWP)

2016/17 Hurricane Diane by Madeleine George, directed by Leigh Silverman (CWP)
The Women of Padilla by Tony Meneses, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll (WP)

2015/16 Lives of Reason by Robert Rechnitz & Kenneth Stunkel, directed by Jonathan Fox (WP)
Ropes by Bárbara Colio, translation by Maria Alexandria Beech, directed by Lisa Rothe (AP)

2014/15 Guadalupe in the Guest Room by Tony Meneses, directed by Daniella Topol (WP)
Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, written by directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (CWP)
Be More Chill, music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, book by Joe Tracz, based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, choreography by Chase Brock, directed by Stephen Brackett (CWP)

2013/14 Pinkolandia by Andrea Thome, directed by José Zayas (WP)

2012/13 A Wind in the Willows Christmas, based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame, music by Mike Reid, lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, book by Mindi Dickstein, directed by Amanda Dehnert (CWP)

2011/12 Seven Homeless Mammoth Wander New England by Madeleine George, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll (WP)
In This House, music by Mike Reid, lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, book by Jonathan Bernstein, Sarah Schlesinger & Mike Reid, directed by May Adrales (WP)

2009/10 Orestes: A Tragic Romp, translated /adapted by Anne Washburn from the play by Euripides, directed by Aaron Posner (WP)

2008/09 ReEntry by Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez, directed by KJ Sanchez (WP)

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras)

In August 2018, Two River presented our 8th annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) festival of Latinx play readings and live music. Each year, we look for full-length plays, monologues, musical and works for young people that speak to the diversity of the Latinx experience, and reflect the current national conversation about Latinx identity. This annual celebration of work by Latinx theater artists continues to grow each summer, and in 2018 more than 800 people joined us for readings, concerts and free community events.

Since Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) launched in 2011, three productions developed in the festival have gone on to mainstage productions at the theater, including the world premieres of Andrea Thome’s Pinkolandia and Matt Barbot’s El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom, both of which were directed by José Zayas, and the American premiere of Bárbara Colio’s Ropes, translated by Maria Alexandria Beech, directed by Lisa Rothe.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is sponsored by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

9th Annual Festival (August 2019)

Dream Hou$e by Eliana Pipes, directed by Cristina Angeles

A Night of Music: Flaco Navaja & The Razor Blades

Stoneheart by Georgina Escobar, directed by José Zayas

Living and Breathing by Mando Alvarado, directed by Rebecca Martínez

Alma by Benjamin Benne, directed by Catherine María Rodríguez

8th Annual Festival (August 2018)

The Hombres by Tony Meneses, directed by Melissa Crespo

Star-Crossed (Los Desdichados): Love songs and readings from Pablo Neruda’s Spanish translation of Romeo and Juliet, music by Sofia Rei, adapted and directed by Jerry Ruiz

72 Miles to Go by Hilary Bettis, directed by David Mendizábal 

An Evening of Original Work by Latinx Singer-Songwriters: Featuring Jaime Lozano and Michelle J. Rodriguez

Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally by Noah Diaz, directed by Laurie Woolery

7th Annual Festival (August 2017)

El by Raul Garza, directed by Michelle Bossy  

At the Very Bottom of a Body of Water by Benjamin Benne, directed by Weyni Mengesha

Blancaflor by Cecilia Cackley, translated by Ártemis López, directed by Jerry Ruiz

El Huracán by Charise Castro Smith, directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

The Golem of Havana, music by Salomon Lerner, lyrics by Len Schiff, book and direction by Michel Hausmann

6th Annual Festival (August 2016)

Mala, written and performed by Melinda Lopez, directed by David Dower

El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom by Matt Barbot, directed by Nelson Eusebio III

Neighbors (read in both English and Spanish) by Bernardo Cubria, directed by Lou Moreno

Fade by Tanya Saracho, directed by Jerry Ruiz

5th Annual Festival (August 2015)

Cocktail Time in Cuba by Rogelio Martinez, directed by Lou Moreno

Anesthesia (read in both English and Spanish) by Agnieska Hernández Díaz, English Translation by Rogelio Martinez, directed by Leyma López

Chamaco (read in both English and Spanish) by Abel González Melo, English Translation by Yael Prizant, directed by Jose Zayas

The Hunchback of Seville by Charise Castro Smith, directed by Jerry Ruiz

4th Annual Festival (August 2014)

Between You, Me and the Lampshade by Raúl Castillo, directed by Felix Solis

Good Friends (read in both English and Spanish) by Maria Alexandria Beech, directed by Elena Araoz

Mala Hierba by Tanya Saracho, directed by Jerry Ruiz

The Ghosts of Lote Bravo by Hilary Betis, directed by Jerry Ruiz

3rd Annual Festival (August 2013)

Song for the Disappeared by Tanya Saracho, directed by Jerry Ruiz

Tiny People or it gets better by Christopher Oscar Peña, directed by Elena Araoz

Ropes (English and Spanish) by Bárbara Colio, translated by Maria Alexandria Beech, directed by Lisa Rothe

2nd Annual Festival (June 2012)

Intringulis (English and Spanish), written and performed by Carlo Albán, directed by Erik Pearson

Pinkolandia by Andrea Thome, directed by José Zayas

Enfrascada by Tanya Saracho, directed by Jerry Ruiz

Icarus Burns by Christopher Oscar Peña, directed by Daniella Topol

1st Annual Festival (June 2011)

Two Tears in a Bucket by Raúl Castillo, directed by Felix Solis

El Nogalar, an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard by Tanya Saracho, directed by Jerry Ruiz  

Mariela in the Desert (read in both English and Spanish) by Karen Zacarías, directed by Tanya Saracho

Highway 47, written and performed by KJ Sanchez, directed by Emily Ackerman