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BROADWAY WORLD: Experience Two River Theater's 12th Annual Crossing Borders Cruzando Fronteras Festival

by Chloe Rabinowitz

Two River Theater’s Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) Festival of new plays by Latine playwrights is set to run Thursday, August 3 through Sunday, August 6 in Two River’s Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater. The festival will feature four dynamic readings, including A Thousand Maids by Tony Meneses, which will be a part of Two River’s upcoming 30th anniversary season.

The community kick-off event will take place on Thursday, August 3 on Two River’s Plaza, with live music from local musician Gil Cruz and delicious eats from neighborhood restaurants.

This year’s festival is once again curated by the award-winning José Zayas and is the first Crossing Borders Festival under the new leadership team, Artistic Director Justin Waldman and Managing Director Nora Deveau-Rosen.

“It thrills me to no end to host the 12th annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) Festival,” says Artistic Director Justin Waldman. “This weekend combines two essential pillars of Two River’s mission – being a welcoming home for artists to explore new work and serving as an essential gathering place for community to have fun and see themselves represented. The fabulous Jose Zayas has curated a spectacular slate of programming – from hilarious to heartwarming – and the entire Two River team is excited to entertain all with music, food, and family fun!”

Festival Curator Jose Zayas says, “This year’s festival takes us from Chicago to Argentina and from the 70’s to the present – we are traveling through time and crossing geographical and metaphysical borders to get at the things that spark connection and inspiration. The stories range from a delightfully silly large cast multi door farce set in one of the zaniest hotels imaginable to an intimate two-person memory play exploring the weight of a secret history of a mother-to-be. From a local favorite to a Pulitzer Prize finalist these playwrights provoke and thrill with their intelligence, wit and boundless curiosity. It’s an exciting line up of work exploring the remarkable range of the Latine experience and we are thrilled to invite our audience to share in these unique stories and to participate in the development of the work. ”

Two River Theater is proud to partner with Project Write Now, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Red Bank, transforming individuals, organizations, and communities through writing. Through our Voices of Hope outreach program, PWN students will perform their own original work before every play in the Crossing Borders Festival.

Crossing Borders Festival audiences are encouraged to participate in an interactive lobby display curated by coLAB Arts. The art, featuring Voices of Hope storytellers and powerful messages from the festival’s readings, has been created by artist Amrisa Niranjan, but it requires the audiences’ help. This community-driven piece will be completed and revealed over the course of the festival weekend. coLAB Arts engages artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work and facilitate conversation, to challenge perceptions and inspire action.


Tickets are free and all plays run between 90 minutes and 2 hours. There will be a brief reception with light refreshments following each reading.




by Tony Meneses

Thursday, 8/3 at 7PM

Cordelia’s stuck. Cordelia needs to design a maid’s costume, but she can’t stop thinking about The Help and Maid in Manhattan and Gone with the Wind and As Good As It Gets and… and… and… How can she find a way to show these women for who they really are? Two River favorite Tony Meneses(The Hombres, Guadalupe in the Guest Room) returns with this world premiere comedy.


By Christina Pumariega

Friday, 8/4 at 7PM

After a long battle with infertility, Argentinian-American Annie makes a pilgrimage to her estranged birthplace of Buenos Aires to undergo IVF by the famed Dr. Cossi. But Annie’s medical tourism unearths the secrets of professor Ana and activist Sofia, lost to the Dirty War. VOS! is an epic hunt for belonging, motherhood, and the Disappeared, inspired by Las Madres—past, present and hopeful—and told by two Latina actors spinning as fast as they can.


by Kristoffer Diaz

Saturday, 8/5 at 3PM

In this modern day five-door farce, the overarching theme is to find, express, and celebrate your true calling in life. The action takes place in a renovated hotel, The Hotelman Arms, in Chicago, where the motto is, “No privacy is the new privacy.” The cast features a wide range of idiosyncratic roles including the title bunter who just wants to have fun, a mystery writer working on her next bestseller, a blogger trying to capture the next big thing, various members of the hotel staff who are either trying to hide or make love to the guests, and baseball executives that are vying to sign Rebecca to a major league deal. The pace is fast and furious.


by Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez

Sunday, 8/6 at 3PM

Mariana and Henry meet to share a secret family recipe that forces them to reveal secrets of their own. The siblings transform pandemic panic into renewal in this tender comedy about family, food, and finding the strength to move on. The Black Beans Project invites audiences to open a bottle of wine, chop some garlic, and savor the possibility of connecting with family after a long time apart.


To register for all festival events, visit: Click Here


Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is an annual celebration of new plays and music by Latine theater artists.

Since Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) launched in 2011, five productions developed in the festival have gone on to mainstage productions at the theater, the most recent being our 2022/23 season production of Living & Breathing by Mando Alvarado. Upcoming in our 2023/24 season, A Thousand Maids by Tony Meneses will be the sixth Crossing Borders production to have a mainstage production.

Two River Theater produces American and world classics, new plays and musicals, programs for young people, and festivals of new work. Each year, we serve over 20,000 students, families and community members through our 4-6 show season, and 40+ events that reflect our diverse community of Monmouth County. Two River produces work on two stages—the 350-seat Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, and the flexible 110-seat Marion Huber Theater. In 2020 we expanded our campus to 80,000 square feet with the opening of the Center for New Work, Education and Design. Two River Theater has commissioned and premiered original projects including Be More Chill by Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz (the theater’s first Broadway production) and Hurricane Diane by former Playwright-in-Residence Madeleine George (which won an Obie Award for its Off-Broadway run), and  in June 2019, Two River was nationally recognized by USA TODAY as one of “10 great places to see a play.” Two River Theater is led by Artistic Director Justin Waldman and Managing Director Nora DeVeau-Rosen.