Martin Moran's "Theo" Has Its Emotional Premiere at Two River Theater

Mar 1, 2019

Award-winning playwright Martin Moran talks to WBGO's Doug Doyle about "Theo"
Credit Cassie Galasetti for WBGO News

The world premiere of Martin Moran's Theo renders the complexity of living with humor and truth.  Moran sat down recently with WBGO's Doug Doyle at Two River Theater in Red Bank to discuss his new five person play.

Moran's highly acclaimed solo shows The Tricky Part and All The Rage were also performed at Two River.  Moran is an Obie Award winner, but he has also performed in many Broadways shows including Titanic The Musical, Wicked, Spamelot and Cabaret.  He has a love for both writing and acting/singing.

"There's a way in which the early part of my morning, my day is writing and then I'm off to the theater for the most part.  There's the solitude and the profound kind of discipline, rigor and joy of a community. And there's a way in which I recognize both fuels the other."

In Theo, the family’s matriarch, Margaret, is forced to acknowledge that her health is deteriorating.  Her son Theodore returns to their Catskills home after many years away. There, he reconnects with Abe, an acquaintance from his youth who is now his mother’s home aide, and with his sister Beth, a single mother struggling to understand her teenaged child, Maddy.  Theo is a warm look at the far-reaching ties of love.  Moran says this new play is a moving portrait of kinship, faith, and the pursuit of one’s true self.

"Theo" is set in the Catskills
Credit T. Charles Erickson

Why is Theo set in the Catskills?

"I grew in Denver, Colorado and in the very pages of the play, the first scribblings and workings, I returned to my beloved Rocky Mountains, and then I realized I've lived in New York City for 37 years.  I've spent a lot of time in the Catskills and Berkshires for which I have a great love.  Not the kind of bone marrow love that I have for Colorado where I experienced the first 18 years of my life.  But there was a way that the emotional childhood, sort of energy and momentousness of the mountains...I loved this idea of there being the mountains and the city and I was able to access it more readily in my imagination by thinking of the Catskills and New York City since that's where I've lived now the vast amount of my life.  But I think it has to do very much with my growing up at the foot of the Rockies." 

The cast of "Theo"
Credit T. Charles Erickson

Moran says the cast is group of deep artists who are tremendously authentic, dedicated and sensitive.

"There's a way in which I'm finding a room full of formidable collaborators, including Carolyn Cantor who is an extraordinary director, thoughtful director.  It's deeply collaborative."

Theo runs through March 24th at Two River's Marion Huber Theater in Red Bank.

Click above to hear the entire interview with Martin Moran.