A Little Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet
What if Romeo and Juliet were not the first Montague and Capulet to fall in love?
This fresh adaptation by director Diana M. Fathi explores the audacity of a new generation to defy an inherited family feud. Two River Theater presents A Little Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, a 75-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, directed and designed by theater professionals, and performed and supported backstage by high school students. Join us for our 10th season of Little Shakes!
Tickets: Adults $20, Under 12 $15 (not included in subscription series)
MEET THE ARTISTS
Atticus Bravo-Smith (ROMEO) is thrilled to be making his debut at Two River Theater. He is a junior at Red Bank Regional High School, where he is a Strings major in the Visual Performing Arts Academy. He studies acting at Actors’ Playground School of Theater. Most recently he was seen as Jake in The Playground Theater Project’s original production of Lost Angels at the Vogel. Other favorite roles include Emmet in Legally Blonde and Corny Collins in Hairspray, Jr. Atticus is incredibly grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank his family, especially his mom, for all of their love and support.
Isabelle Darman (LADY MONTAGUE) is so excited to be performing in her first Little Shakes! Recent credits include Jay Finch in Puffs and Colonel Mustard in Clue, both with the Trinity Hall Queen’s Court Company! She would like to thank her friends and family as well as her acting coach Bobby Cronin all his help along the way!
Romy Grau-Gopala (JULIET) is excited to make her acting debut as Juliet in A Little Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. She recently moved back to America in July of this year after living abroad for a few years and is currently a junior at Red Bank Regional High School, studying IB Theater.
Layla Kuya (MERCUTIO) is thrilled to be making her debut at Two River theater. She is a Sophomore at MCMS Theatre Conservatory. Her credits include The Nativity (Angel); The Wizard of Oz (Tin Man); Peter Pan (Liza/Starkey); Shrek The Musical Jr. (Shrek’s mom/Ogre Fionna); Romeo & Juliet (Servant #2/Citizen #2); 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (Christy). She would like to thank her mom for supporting her in throughout this journey.
Jason Lavery (PARIS) is excited to be making his debut performance with Two River Theater. Jason is a current 10th grader in the Acting Program at Howell High School’s Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Program. Some of Jason’s recent roles include Davey in Newsies and Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka. Besides singing, acting and dancing, Jason is a Boy Scout currently working towards his Eagle Rank. Jason wishes everyone in the production the best of luck!
Abraham Moratti (GREGORY/PETER)
Elly O’Scanlon (PRINCE / DANCE CAPTAIN) is a senior drama major at Red Bank Regional High School. She has trained with Actors Playground and her recent credits include Little Shakes: Much Ado About Nothing and Red Bank Regional Theater Company’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
Sophia Ramos (NURSE) is super excited to be working on this production of Romeo and Juliet with Two River Theater. Her recent credits include Romeo and Juliet (Gregory) at EBMS and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ensemble) at SWMHS. She is currently a student in her senior year at the East Brunswick Magnet School where she primarily studies in theatre arts. She is so grateful for this opportunity her director Diana has given her to be in this show and grow as an actress.
Ryan Sickles (TYBALT) is a senior writing major at Red Bank Regional High School, making his Two River Theater debut. He frequently performs stand-up comedy in clubs all over the country and is excited to make his acting debut in Romeo and Juliet.
Chris Stypa (BENVOLIO) is thrilled to be making his “Little Shakes” debut! He is currently a senior at Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School, and is active in their Tower Players program. Just recently he made an appearance in their fall drama The Canterville Ghost as The Amazing Balaklava, and is set to join them on-stage again this spring for Spamalot. Some other favorite credits of his include: Third Lunch (Dan), Mamma Mia (Bill Austin), Sleepy Hollow (Walter Van Twiller), Footloose (Garvin), Shuddersome: Tales of Poe (The Police/Guest 2), Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), The Little Mermaid (Flounder), The Wizard of Oz (Munchkinland Mayor), and Scrooge (Younger Scrooge).
Lucas Vitale (LAURENCE) is a junior in the MCMS Theatre Conservatory. His credits include Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt), Legally Blonde (Warner) and The Wizard of Oz (Munchkin). He would like to thank all his close friends and family for their help and support.
Lucas Wilson (MR. CAPULET) was awarded the 2022 Basie Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in the Red Bank Regional production of A Streetcar Named Desire. His other credits include Jake in Lost Angels and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. Lucas is also a 3rd year strings major in the RBR Visual and Performing Arts Academy, playing guitar, bass guitar, and contrabass. He would like to thank his family and his mentors. He is proud and excited to be part of this production.
William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
Diana M. Fathi
Diana M. Fathi (ADAPTOR/DIRECTOR) she/her, is a multidisciplinary theater practitioner from Tehran based in California. Some of her recent directing credits are Thirteen (Odyssey Theater) Third Person Singular (Columbia University). Her recent dramaturgical credits include Glimpse (Rattlestick Theater), Hedda Gabler (Columbia University), and Loneliness (Columbia University). Diana received her BA and MA from Tehran Art University, her MFA from Columbia University, and is continuing her studies towards a PhD in Theater and Drama at UCI/UCSD.
Afsaneh Aayani (SCENIC DESIGNER) is an Iranian scenic designer and puppeteer. She graduated with her MFA in Scenic Design from UH in 2020. She has created work in Houston, NYC, Iran, China, Poland, Sri Lanka and Germany. In 2020 she was the winner of the USITT young designers scenic design award and previously has received multiple national/international awards for puppeteering and puppet making as well as directing and design. You can check out her work at www.afsanehaayani.com
Mariko Ohigashi (She/Her) A NY based Costume Designer, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Mariko is so thrilled to be back in Red Bank! Her U.S. theatre credits include A Little Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (Two River Theater); Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (Transport Group/Connelly Theater, NYC); Out of Time (NAATCO/The Public, NYC); Veil Widow Conspiracy (NAATCO/NYTW Next Door); Vis-à-Vis (New York City Ballet, Choreographic Institute); Hanjo (SITI Company/Japan Society, NYC); Williams College Dance Concerts. International theatre credits in Japan include Hansel and Gretel (Sony Music Foundation/Suntory Hall, Tokyo); Lulu (Shinjuku Bunka) and Carmen (Kanagawa Kenmin Hall) with Tokyo Nikikai. Professional training: MFA from NYU-Tisch, BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. www.marikoohigashi.com
Betsy Chester (CO-LIGHTING DESIGNER) is an NYC-based freelance lighting designer, passionate about creating work that sparks meaningful conversation. Most recently, she has designed work for productions with NYU Grad Acting, Tisch Dance, Columbia University, as well as Ayodele Casel + Arturo O’Farrill at the Joyce Theater. Betsy received her MFA in Lighting Design at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2021. www.betsychester.com
Eric Norbury (CO-LIGHTING DESIGNER) Select credits include The Prom (WPPAC), Footloose (Argyle Theatre), Blue (Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Dutch National Opera), Only Human: A Musical (Theatre St. Clement’s), Till: A Musical (NYMF), Nimbus Dance at BAM Fisher. Previous work: LaMama ETC, NYTW, Playwrights Horizons, Barrington Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse, New School of Drama, Washington National Opera, 5th Avenue Theatre, The Glimmerglass Festival, Seán Curran Dance Company, De Funes Dance, Second Avenue Dance Company and many others. MFA NYU/Tisch. Member USA829. www.ericnorburylighting.com
Austin Tooley (DRAMATURG) he/him, is an NYC-based director and dramaturg who received his MFA in Dramaturgy at Columbia University in 2021. Recent directing work includes Argonauts, by Jacob K Robinson, at Columbia University; The Outposters, for PrideFest at The Tank; and Narcissus, a Roman pantomime live-taped in partnership with PBS. Dramaturgical work at Columbia University included Three Sisters directed by Rebecca Miller-Kratzer; The Cherry Orchard directed by Rakesh Palisetty; and Mud/Springtime directed by Colm Summers. Tooley’s most recent work includes dramaturgy on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Young Company and The Classical Theatre of Harlem; work in residency in Waterford Ireland on Purgatory by Colm Summers and Ciara Ní Chuirc, funded by the Irish Arts Council; and development work on Barbies by A.A. Brenner, at the Catwalk Art Residency in Catskill, NY.
RAKESH PALISETTY (he/him) is a writer-director for theater, film, and opera based in New York. Originally from New Delhi, he completed his MFA in Theatre Directing at Columbia University in 2022. Prior to moving to the US, his productions toured extensively across India, including his hit theatrical adaptation of Twelve Angry Men, which has garnered a cult following. His eclectic portfolio of work draws heavily from post-modernist plays, and seeks to challenge our understanding of classic texts. Since the very beginning of his theater career, he has possessed a deep connection to work that challenges the status quo, and focuses on reimagining classics. His recent directing credits include Hedda Gabler (Lenfest Center for the Arts), Much Ado About Nothing (Two River Theater, A Little Shakespeare program), Sky of Darkness (Theatrelab), Thirty Six Questions (Columbia Stages), and Bedtime Plays (The Tank). His Assistant Directing credits include Misty (Dir: Omar Elerian,The Shed), Galileo (Dir: Michael Mayer, Workshop Production) Kimberly Akimbo (Directing Fellow, Atlantic Theater Company). He has also worked with directors like Ivo van Hove and Thomas Ostermeier.
Kyle Jensen (SOUND DESIGNER) is an award-winning sound designer and audio engineer based out of Pennsylvania. Selected design credits: Somewhere Over the Border (assistant) (Teatro Vista, Chicago, IL – World Premiere), Something Grim(m) and Cake Ladies (Dallas Theater Center, Dallas, TX – World Premieres), Tuck Everlasting and Bright Star (Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute, Hilton Head, SC – Regional Premieres), and How to Succeed in Business… (American University, Washington, DC). Engineer appointments include GEVA Theatre Center and Nazareth College (Rochester, NY), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX), Baltimore Center Stage (Baltimore, MD), Penn State (State College, PA), and American University (Washington, DC). He is a professional member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association (TSDCA), a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), and an associate member of the Association of Sound Designers (ASD). kylejensenmedia.com, Instagram: @kylejensensound
JESSICA PARKS (she/her) has been working as a scenic designer for theater since 2003, and has been the resident scenic designer and prop designer for the New Jersey Repertory Company since 2010. She has worked as the prop supervisor for the Little Shakes program in the past and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with this wonderful program as a designer. Set designs in NYC include: Michael Tucker’s Fern Hill, Butler, The Housewives of Mannheim, Jericho and Poetic License at 59E59 St. Theaters. This is Not a Time for Peace, The End of Hester and Dan Lauria’s Dinner with the Boys at Theater Row on 42nd St. Other designs include: A Tailor Near Me, The Hummingbirds, Eden Prairie 1971, Memoirs of a Forgotten Man, Wolf at the Door, The Jag, Swimming at the Ritz, Happy and Broomstick at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch.
Michaella Craver (STAGE MANAGER) is thrilled to be returning to Two River Theater! Off-Broadway: Our Brothers Son, Chushingura – 47 Ronin. Regional: Lady Day… (Vanguard Theater), A Little Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet (Two River Theater), Little Women (Skyline Theater Company). Workshops: Sally & Tom (The Public), Play Like a Girl (Two River Theater), My Father’s Play (Gemini Music). Production Stage Manager of 1st National Tour of Jabari Dreams of Freedom! Norwegian Cruise Line. James Madison University alumni. For Mom, Dad, and Allegra.
Assistant Stage Manager
Isabella Como (ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER) is a junior at East Brunswick Magnet School in Arts Technology. She has done quite a few shows since being in high school. Some of which include last year’s Little Shakes production of Much Ado About Nothing and her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. She is excited to be back at Two River Theater for the second year in a row.
Easy Jack Portman
Easy Jack Portman (ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER) is a sophomore at Red Bank Regional High School and in the creative writing academy. This is his second time working as the Assistant Stage Manager for the Little Shakespeare program, as well as being the Lighting Assistant, and is thrilled to be participating again this time. Before this, he worked on his school’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire where he helped build sets and work lights. He has experience with Shakespeare from performing in The Taming of the Shrew at the Will Gear Theatricum Botanicum. He is so excited to be working with this team again and can’t wait to see how the show turns out!
NEWS & UPDATES
HEALTH & SAFETY
Proof of vaccination is not required to attend a performance or event at Two River Theater. Currently, face masks are recommended, but no longer required, while inside the theater building.