Joe Iconis’ Love in Hate Nation to Play New Jersey's Two River Theater | Playbill

Regional News Joe Iconis’ Love in Hate Nation to Play New Jersey's Two River Theater The 2019–2020 season at the New Jersey venue will also include the world premiere of The Hombres plus Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Lackawanna Blues.
Joe Iconis Marc J. Franklin

Love in Hate Nation, a new musical from Joe Iconis (currently represented on Broadway with Be More Chill) will make its professional world premiere in the fall at Red Bank, New Jersey's Two River Theater

Directed by John Simpkins, the production will run November 9–December 1. The 1960s-set rock romance draws from classic “bad girl” movies as the inspiration for a story about young people caught between eras of a changing America.

In the musical, previously developed at Penn State Centre Stage, 16-year-old Susannah Son is carted off to the National Reformatory for Girls, where she meets Sheila Nail and a relationship forms, leading to an all-out “revolution in the institution.”

Iconis and Joe Tracz wrote Be More Chill as a commission for Two River Theater, where the show was developed and premiered in 2015 before its Off-Broadway and Broadway bows.

READ: Joe Iconis Breaks Down Be More Chill Track by Track

Chris Thomas King and Ruben Santiago-Hudson Craig Schwartz

The upcoming season will also include Cyrano, a co-production with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, adapted by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers and directed by Meredith McDonough (September 21-October 13); Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Sara Holdren (January 11-February 2, 2020); A Little Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, a 75-minute version of the Shakespeare classic, adapted and directed by Em Weinstein and performed by high school students (January 31-February 9); August Wilson’s Radio Golf, directed by Brandon J. Dirden (February 29-March 22); and the world premiere of The Hombres by Tony Meneses (April 11-May 10). The latter looks at the intimacy of male relationships through the point of view of Machismo culture. Set in New Jersey, the play follows Julián, a gay Latino yoga teacher, as he clashes with the Latino construction workers outside his studio.

The season will conclude June 6-28 with Lackawanna Blues, written, performed, and directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson with live blues music by Bill Sims Jr., performed by Chris Thomas King. The play, which recently ran at Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, is a reminiscence of Santiago-Hudson’s 1950s childhood growing up on the banks of Lake Erie. The actor takes on more than 20 characters, from would-be philosophers and petty hustlers to lost souls and abandoned lovers.

“All of the work we produce at Two River Theater, both classics and new works, is driven by the passions of artists,” says Artistic Director John Dias. “Each year, I engage the best, most interesting, and most challenging people I know—writers, directors, actors, designers—and ask them questions like: What’s the next great new play? Who’s got an exciting vision for a Shakespeare play? What’s the classic you’ve always wanted to do and finally know how? What play of yours deserves another production? This year, we answer all of those questions in a lineup that include some of the most extraordinary artists in the American theatre.”

For more information, visit

Production Photos: Be More Chill on Broadway

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