Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the full cast and community events for A Wind in the Willows Christmas, a new musical inspired by Kenneth Grahame's children's classic, written by composer Mike Reid, lyricist Sarah Schlesinger, and bookwriter Mindi Dickstein. The world-premiere production is directed by Amanda Dehnert, with music direction by James Sampliner.
Performances will begin in Two River's Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, today, December 8 and continue through Sunday, December 30. There will be a special performance for families affected by Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday, December 11 at 7pm (please see below for more information). The first press performance is Friday, December 14 at 7pm. This production is sponsored by Investors Bank.
Commissioned and developed by Two River Theater, this new musical follows the adventures of the story's beloved characters-Mole, the Water Rat, Dr. Badger, and Mr. Toad-as they discover that home is where your friends are. A Wind in the Willows Christmas is recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or www.trtc.org. Tickets are $25 for patrons under age 18; ticket prices for adults are $50-$55. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
The company of A Wind in the Willows Christmas includes Farah Alvin (The Marvelous Wonderettes, Nine) as Mrs. Otter; Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid, 30 Rock) as Mr. Toad; Nick Choksi (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 at Ars Nova) as Rat; Kathy Connolly (A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey) as Weasel/Rabbit; Tom Deckman (Monty Python's Spamalot) as Mole; John Garry (Bunnicula for Theatreworks/USA) as Weasel/Rabbit; John Jellison (Memphis and Sunday in the Park with George) as Dr. Badger; and Dana Steingold (national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Little Portly.
"Two River's annual holiday production for families is one of the theater's beloved traditions," says Artistic Director John Dias. "This year, we commissioned a new musical that we hope will become part of the canon of great work for younger audiences-and a great experience for adult audiences, too. The story is given a fresh comic perspective by Mindi Dickstein, and has a buoyant, heartfelt score by Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger. Amanda Dehnert has brought together a wildly talented cast and design team to realize the whimsical, imaginative world of this beloved tale."
Composer Mike Reid and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger most recently wrote In This House, which premiered at Two River last season. Reid is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter with more than 30 Top-Ten pop and country hits recorded by many artists including Bonnie Raitt ("I Can't Make You Love Me") and Kenny Chesney ("Always Gonna Be You"). He received his Grammy for "Stranger in My House," recorded by Ronnie Milsap. Schlesinger is the Chair of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Mindi Dickstein wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women. She has written several musicals for Theatreworks USA including Black Beauty and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. Recent work includes the book for Toy Story - The Musical, with songs by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda (GrooveLily), for Disney Creative Entertainment.