Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

May 31 – June 22: Annette O’Toole Leads Cast of Wendy Wasserstein’s “Third” Helmed by Michael Cumpsty at Two River Theater Company

Annette O’Toole leads the cast of Wendy Wasserstein’s Third at Two River Theater Company, helmed Michael Cumpsty, May 31 through June 22, 2014. First produced at the Lincoln Center Theater in 2005, the play is set at an elite, New England liberal arts college in November 2002 and focuses on college professor Laurie Jameson (played by Annette O’Toole), who accuses one of her students—an outwardly preppy jock nicknamed ‘Third’ (Christopher Sears) — of plagiarism, and upends her own life in the process. The cast also features Amy Hohn (Nancy), J.R. Horne (Jack Jameson), and Emily Walton (Emily Jameson). Performances are at Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, N.J.

Michael Cumpsty directs, and Annette O’Toole stars in Wendy Wasserstein's Third.

Michael Cumpsty directs, and Annette O’Toole stars in Wendy Wasserstein’s Third.

Third is a moving, dazzlingly smart and funny play that explores such quintessential Wasserstein themes as the challenges confronting Laurie Jameson and her generation; friendship and rivalry between women; the complexities of family; and the dangers of identity politics and class distinctions.

Wendy Wasserstein was the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Play, for The Heidi Chronicles (the second play produced by Two River Theater in its 1994/95 debut season at Monmouth University), for which she also received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. In addition, The Heidi Chronicles won the 1989 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Wasserstein’s other plays include Uncommon Women and Others, Isn’t It Romantic, The Sisters Rosensweig, An American Daughter, and Old Money. Among other works, she wrote several collections of essays; a children’s book, Pamela’s First Musical; and screenplays, including The Object of My Affection. Wasserstein was educated at Mounty Holyoke College and the Yale School of Drama. She died on January 30, 2006 at the age of 55, after a bout with lymphoma.

Director Michael Cumpsty is an Obie-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor. His credits include, most recently, Machinal, The Winslow Boy, and The End of the Rainbow, as well as an additional 14 Broadway productions. At Two River Theater, he has performed in Present Laughter and Much Ado About Nothing. He received an Obie Award for his performance as Hamlet at Classic Stage Company, where he starred in many other Shakespeare productions including Richard III, which he co-directed.

 Amy Hohn & Annette O'Toole in Third. © Michal Daniel

Amy Hohn & Annette O’Toole in Third. © Michal Daniel

Amy Hohn has appeared on Broadway in November and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her television credits include “Person of Interest,” “Elementary,” and “The Good Wife”.

Annette O'Toole & J.R. Horne in Third. © Michal Daniel

Annette O’Toole & J.R. Horne in Third. © Michal Daniel

J.R. Horne starred as Grandpa in You Can’t Take It with You, the inaugural production of Two River’s Rechnitz Theater in 2005. His other credits in a career spanning more than 50 years include A Time to Kill and The Crucible on Broadway.

Annette O'Toole in Third.  © Michal Daniel

Annette O’Toole in Third.
© Michal Daniel

Annette O’Toole’s Off-Broadway and regional theater credits include Southern Comfort for Barrington Stage Company & CAP21, Kindness at Playwrights Horizons, and The Seagull for Classic Stage Company. On television, she starred as Martha Kent in “Smallville” and received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her work in “The Kennedys of Massachusetts”. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song with Michael McKean for “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” from the film A Mighty Wind.

Annette O'Toole & Christopher Sears in Third. © Michal Daniel

Annette O’Toole & Christopher Sears in Third.
© Michal Daniel

Christopher Sears most recently appeared Off-Broadway in London Wall. His television credits include “The Michael J. Fox Show” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”.

Christopher Sears & Emily Walton in Third.  © Michal Daniel

Christopher Sears & Emily Walton in Third.
© Michal Daniel

Emily Walton has been in the Broadway companies of Peter and the Starcatcher and August: Osage County.

Annette O'Toole, Christopher Sears & Amy Hohn in Third. © Michal Daniel

Annette O’Toole, Christopher Sears & Amy Hohn in Third.
© Michal Daniel

The creative team includes scenic designer Michael Carnahan; costume designer Karen Perry; lighting designer Rui Rita; and sound designers Nathan Roberts & Charles Coes. The casting is by Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell and the production stage manager is Laura Wilson.

TICKETS: range from $37 to $65, with discounts available for groups, seniors and U.S. military personnel, their families and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $24 and include the best available seats at every performance.
Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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