New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


(RED BANK, NJ) --  Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, launches its new season with Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Tony Award nominee Sam Buntrock and starring Obie winner Michael Cumpsty and Tony Award nominee Kathryn Meisle as Benedick and Beatrice. Performances will begin in Two River's Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, September 10 and continue through Sunday, October 2. The opening night performance is Saturday, September 17 at 8pm.

Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or Single ticket prices start at $37. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and patrons aged 30 and under. 

A great and witty romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing delights audiences with the sparkling banter between resistant lovers Benedick and Beatrice. Buntrock sets their "merry war" in the early 20th century, on the veranda of a family home owned by one of Sicily's most powerful men. In this idyllic atmosphere, filled with music and sunshine, the sudden appearance of soldiers returning from battle brings romance—and an undercurrent of danger. In this world of honor and passion, two sets of lovers—Benedick and Beatrice, and the younger couple Claudio and Hero—determine their futures.

John Dias says, "I am thrilled to launch my first season at Two River with this truly glorious comedy. I have long wanted to produce Much Ado with the exceptional actors Michael Cumpsty and Katherine Meisle in Shakespeare's greatest roles for mature lovers. Led by the brilliant director Sam Buntrock, they are joined by some of the most accomplished artists in the American theater, including a great ensemble and an exciting, inventive design team." 

Sam Buntrock directed the first Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George, a production that originated at London's Menier Chocolate Factory and also played in the West End and at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. The production has been honored with five Olivier Awards including Outstanding Musical Production and an Olivier nomination for Best Director; nine Tony nominations including Best Director; and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Director. His other recent credits include plays for New York Stage & Film and (Manhattan Theatre Club).

Michael Cumpsty (Benedick) has appeared in 14 Broadway productions including Sunday in the Park with George (directed by Buntrock) and Copenhagen. His Shakespeare credits include his Obie-winning performance as Hamlet at Classic Stage, Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and Leontes in The Winter's Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film and television credits include Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie and The Ice Storm.

Kathryn Meisle (Beatrice) received a Tony nomination and the Callaway Award for Roundabout's Tartuffe; her Broadway credits also include Racing Demon and The Constant Wife. She starred in Twelfth Night, As You Like It (Drama Desk nomination) and Othello for New York Shakespeare Festival. Her New Jersey credits include productions at McCarter and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

The company also includes John Ahlin (Dogberry), Tom Bloom (Leonato), Connor Carew (Friar Francis , Verges), Sean Dugan (Don John),  Christopher Hirsh (Borachio), Tia James (Margaret), Kevin Kelly (Conrade), Nick LaMedica (Balthasar, Watchman), Aaron Clifton Moten (Claudio), Mary Anne O'Brien (Ursula, Sexton), Steven Skybell (Don Pedro), Annapurna Sriram (Hero) and Zeke Zaccaro (Antonio, Watchman).

The creative team includes scenic designer Tony Straiges, costume designer Mattie Ullrich, lighting designer Brian Tovar, sound designer and composer Mark Bennett, and vocal coach Deborah Hecht. The casting is by Janet Foster, CSA and the stage manager is Whitney McAnally.

For complete biographies of the company, visit