Wednesday, September 4, 2019


 When John Dias became Artistic Director of Two River Theater in 2010, he made no secret of a long-held ambition: to have some Shakespeare resonating in every corner of our theater and to get everyone in our community turned on to the thrill of his exquisite language.

Today, Two River introduces hundreds of young people—and adults—to the work of the Bard through its annual A Little Shakespeare program, which is now in its seventh season. Each A Little Shakespeare production is a 75-minute abridged version of a Shakespeare play that is directed and designed by theater professionals, and performed and supported backstage by high school students.Since 2013, more than 120 students have participated in six A Little Shakespeare productions, performing for thousands of audience members as young as 9 years old.

This season, the A Little Shakespeare production will be Twelfth Night, which will be produced in the Marion Huber Theater in conjunction with director Sara Holdren’s mainstage production of the play in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater. A Little Shakespeare: Twelfth Night will be adapted and directed by Em Weinstein, a writer and a director of new plays, films, musicals, and interactive installations. At Yale School of Drama, Weinstein directed the first workshop production of Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris; an all-female, pop-infused Romeo & Juliet set in a Catholic high school; and In the Palm of a Giant by Christopher Gabriel Nύñez as part of the New Play Lab. Their thesis production, Arden (or shakespeare’s as u like it), was an immersive musical co-written with Michael Breslin that explored queer utopias and featured original songs by Julian Hornik. As an educator, Weinstein ran the Guerrilla Filmmaking Program for Teens and directed the teen ensemble’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the 52nd Street Project. They were a Fall Festival Director for Shakespeare & Company and directed in their Shakespeare in the Courts program for adjudicated youth. 

Says Weinstein, “Twelfth Night is Shakespeare at his most playful: with fools and twins and music: the food of love. But it’s also an incredibly sharp investigation of gender performance with Viola finding her bravery, independence and power in drag as Cesario. It’s also a rich and complex look at how we treat each other: when Malvolio’s hilarious humbling in his yellow stockings turns into an act of painful bullying and we’re made to question our own laughter at his expense. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be tackling this piece with a group of talented teens.”

The Lead Sponsor of A Little Shakespeare: Twelfth Night is OceanFirst Foundation.


Student actors for A Little Shakespeare: Twelfth Night will be cast through auditions, followed by three months of rehearsals. Student actors should prepare one short monologue: 15-20 memorized lines of text from any Shakespeare play. If you sing or play an instrument, please prepare a brief song as well. You will then be paired up and asked to read scenes. Audition scenes will be posted on the Two River Theater website shortly for your reference.
Auditions will be held at Two River Theater on Monday, October 28 starting at 3:30 by appointment only. To schedule an audition appointment, contact Amanda Espinoza, Education and Community Engagement Manager, at and include your full name, school, and cell phone number. In-person auditions with the director are always best, but if you cannot make it on October 28, you may send a video audition by 8pm on Wednesday, October 30. Email Amanda Espinoza for details.


If you are interested in being an assistant director, designer, or stage manager, or having a position on the run crew, send an email telling us about yourself and your experience by Monday, October 28 to Amanda Espinoza, Education and Community Engagement Manager, at
  • Assistant Director We will need one high school student to assist our director throughout the rehearsal process and performances. Students who have an interest in directing and who want to learn more about it should apply.
  • Assistant Stage Managers We are looking for one-to-two assistant stage manager(s). Enhance your skills as an organized and professional stage manager as you work with the director and cast throughout the rehearsal process to bring the show to life.
  • Assistant Designers and Run Crew We will need responsible, organized people to work backstage as assistants to each designer (set, costumes, lighting, sound, and props). If you are interested in any areas of theater design or technical theater, you could have the opportunity to assist a professional designer in translating the director’s vision to the stage, and running the show during performances. The time commitment for these positions starts when technical rehearsals begin in late January 2020.


Two River Theater’s Education programs are supported in part by The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Investors Foundation, The Mary Own Borden Foundation, OceanFirst, PNC Foundation, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, The Wells Fargo Foundation, and are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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, Bank of America Private Bank, Brookdale Community College, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, Investors Foundation, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, 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 Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, VNA Health Group, Wells Fargo Foundation, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Two River Theater produces a theatrical season that includes American and world classics, new plays and musicals, programs for young people, and festivals of new work. Each year, we also offer 40+ events that reflect our diverse community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Two River 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 Playwright-in-Residence Madeleine George (which won an Obie Award for its Off-Broadway run). Two River serves thousands of students and community members through arts and humanities programs at the theater, in schools, and throughout our region. The theater’s three-story Center for New Work, Education and Design will open in September 2019. Two River Theater is led by Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.  

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