Monday, July 15, 2019

Two River Theater 9th annual Crossing Borders festival by Latinx theater artists

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the lineup for its 9th annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) festival of plays and music by Latinx theater artists. The summer festival will take place August 1-4 and will include free readings of new plays, live music and conversations with artists. Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is supported by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras), one of Two River’s new-play development programs, is an annual celebration of work that reflects the current national conversation about Latinx identity. The festival is curated by José Zayas, who has directed more than 100 productions in New York, regionally and internationally. His Two River credits include Pinkolandia by Andrea Thome and El Coqui Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom by Matt Barbot, both of which were introduced to Red Bank audiences in previous festivals. Two River’s current season will include the fourth mainstage production of a play developed through Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras): The Hombres by Tony Meneses, which will be directed by Annie Tippe in the spring of 2020.

This year, the festival will include plays by Mando Alvarado (Living and Breathing, directed by Rebecca Martínez), Benjamin Benne (Alma, directed by Catherine María Rodríguez), Georgina Escobar (StoneHeart, directed by José Zayas) and Eliana Pipes (Dream Hou$e, directed by Cristina Angeles), and music by Flaco Navaja & The Razor Blades.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) will also include Two River’s second annual Voices of Hope readings, reflecting the diversity of the Latinx experience in our local community. Voices of Hope will feature students who are taking ESL classes at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, through Brookdale Community College. Working with Sheila Duane and Two River Theater staff, the students will write their own personal stories, which they will then share with the audience prior to each play reading.


Reservations are strongly encouraged; patrons should contact the Two River Theater Box Office at 732.345.1400 or visit Each reading will be following by a reception in Two River’s lobby and an opportunity to meet the artists involved with the festival.

7pm in the Marion Huber Theater
Dream Hou$e by Eliana Pipes
Directed by Cristina Angeles
Dream Hou$e follows two Latinx sisters who are selling their family home on an HGTV-style show, hoping to capitalize on the gentrification in their “changing neighborhood.” As they perform for the camera, the show starts to slip into the surreal: one sister grapples with turmoil in the family’s ancestral past and the other learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the family’s future. What’s the cultural cost of progress in America—and is cashing in always selling out?

7pm in the Rechnitz Theater
A Night of Music with Flaco Navaja & The Razor Blades

There is a good reason why singer Flaco Navaja has the heart of a poet—he is one. A fixture of the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café and star of both HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Tony-winning Broadway tour of the same name, Navaja has a way with words that is second only to his way with a song. An equally passionate performer in English and in Spanish, Navaja is an electric presence on stage, especially when backed by his band, The Razor Blades, a red-hot outfit complete with congas, timbales, keys and a killer horn section.

2pm in the Marion Huber Theater
StoneHeart by Georgina Escobar
Directed by José Zayas

StoneHeart is a deconstructed western that explores the parallel deterioration of a family and a society in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in the 1980s. Persecution, curses, rattlesnakes, and past lives come together in a visceral family drama where the Zermanis are forced to cope with the death of their legacy amidst the rise of a new generation of ‘society’s finest.’

7pm in the Marion Huber Theater 
Living and Breathing by Mando Alvarado
Directed by Rebecca Martínez

Living and Breathing is a hilarious and incendiary conversation about race, friendship and art in today’s America. After Todd purchased a living sculpture, his best friend, Michael is deeply offended and his other best friend, Jeremy, can’t seem to pick a side. This living and breathing thing will cause a rift in a long-term friendship that was built on a history of convenience and proximity.

3pm in the Marion Huber Theater
Alma by Benjamin Benne
Directed by Catherine María Rodríguez  

Working mom Alma has singlehandedly raised her daughter, Angel, on tough love, home-cooked comida, and lots of prayers. But on the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A schooling and la chancla await Angel at home—but so does a creeping realization that more’s at stake than just a test score. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present; now, Alma fears that her worst nightmare may soon be their reality. Will the American Dream cost them a life together?


Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is supported by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Two River Theater’s 2019/20 Season Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center. Two River Theater is supported in part by public support through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Private support includes the Alec Baldwin Foundation, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Bank of America Private Bank, Brookdale Community College, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Investors Foundation, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, JKW Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Monmouth University, William T. Morris Foundation, Ocean First Foundation, Rumson Country Day School, The Shubert Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, The John Ben Snow Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, VNA Health Group, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Two River Theater annually produces 6+ productions (including classics, world premieres, musicals, and theater for families) and 40+ events that reflect its diverse community of Red Bank, New Jersey. The theater commissioned and premiered original works including Hurricane Diane by Playwright-in-Residence Madeleine George and Be More Chill by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. Each year, we serve thousands of students and community members through arts and humanities programs at the theater, in schools, and throughout our region. Two River Theater is led by Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.

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