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A Wind in the Willows Christmas

December 7, 2013 - December 29, 2013

Music by Mike Reid        Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger        Book by Mindi Dickstein
Based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame
Choreography by Warren Adams
Directed by Daniella Topol

Rechnitz Theater

Tickets start at $20. Click here to buy!

Two River’s annual holiday show for family audiences, A Wind in the Willows Christmas returns with a new take on the adventures of Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad, and all their furry friends. Last season, we premiered this sweet, tuneful musical, beginning a new tradition. This year, audiences will meet the creatures of the willows in a wintry wonderland with brand-new costumes, sets, and an even bigger focus on Christmas!


Note: The 7pm performance on Thursday, December 19 will offer American Sign Language Interpretation.



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Becca Ayers
Becca Ayers

Mrs. Otter

Becca Ayers (Mrs. Otter) Broadway: The Addams Family; South Pacific (original revival cast); Les Miserables (original revival cast); Avenue Q. Off-Broadway: Sarah, Plain and Tall (Lucille Lortel), Dogfight (2nd Stage), Giant (The Public). Check out Becca’s newly released Christmas single on iTunes: “Simple Wish”! Also on iTunes: Lovesick, Becca Ayers: Live from the Laurie Beechman and brainypants (with her band: baby goes bang). Her 2014 calendar, Edna Sparklebreight’s Life Lessons is now on Zazzle! (

Amanda Butterbaugh
Amanda Butterbaugh


Amanda Butterbaugh (Weasel) is thrilled to be back on stage for the second time at Two River Theater. She was seen previously as Grace/Dot/Lowbutt in Honk!. Her New York credits include Off-Broadway: Nunsense/Nunsense II (Sister/Amnesia). Regional: Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Dames at Sea (Ruby), Peter Pan (Peter), Once Upon a Mattress (Fred), Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide), The House of Blue Leaves (Little Nun), Almost September (Molly), A Christmas Carol (Christmas Past), The Fantasticks (Louisa), and many more. She dedicates her performance to Granzie, Michael, Conor, and Fiona.

Sean Patrick Doyle
Sean Patrick Doyle


Sean Patrick Doyle (Weasel) is thrilled to be making mischief at Toad Hall. Broadway: La Cage aux Folles (2010 Tony-winning Revival, OCR). Off-Broadway: Anna Nicole: The Opera (BAM/NYCO), Volpone (Red Bull), Wig Out! (Vineyard). Tours: Mary Poppins, West Side Story, Fame, and Fiddler on the Roof, breaking tradition as the first countertenor to portray Fruma-Sarah. Regional: John F. Kennedy Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, PCLO, Kansas City Starlight, NCT, Ogunquit. Television: Orange Is the New Black, Law & Order. He is known for his comedic turn as Garv in 20th Century Fox’s The Sitter, opposite Jonah Hill. Many thanks to Daniella, Warren, John, Adam and The Mine.

Cole Escola
Cole Escola

Portly Otter

Cole Escola (Portly Otter), aka “the funny guy” (The New York Times), is best known for his TV show Jeffrey & Cole Casserole on the Logo Network, which came about after a series of his internet videos became popular. He made his Two River debut last season as Roland Maule in Present Laughter. He has appeared onstage in NERDS: A New Musical Comedy at North Carolina Theatre and in Scott Wittman’s Jukebox Jackie at La MaMa in New York City. He was also named one of the 10 best cabaret artists of 2012 by Time Out New York for his popular one-man nightclub act. Other TV credits include Law & Order, Smash, Nurse Jackie, and the MTV original movie, Made 2: Ladies Man.

William Thomas Evans
William Thomas Evans

Dr. Badger

William Thomas Evans (Dr. Badger) is excited to be making his debut here at Two River Theater. He has appeared on Broadway in the original casts of Camelot 1993 Revival, The Scarlet Pimpernel versions 1 and 2, and A Tale of Two Cities. He plays Senator Lamar Farkus on Amazon’s first TV series Alpha House. He has performed with New York City Opera in Candide and The Pirates of Penzance; has toured the country in Camelot, My Fair Lady, the pre-Broadway Jekyll and Hyde and 8 years as Santa Claus with The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Most recently he played Merlyn and Pellinore in Camelot at the Arvada Center in Denver, Off Broadway in The Fantasticks, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth and Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Northern Stage, and Max in The Sound of Music at Stages St. Louis. Next up is the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as Jacob/Potiphar. This one is for Nikki and Rianna.

Mike Faist
Mike Faist


Mike Faist (Mole) This is Mike’s first performance with Two River Theater, and he couldn’t be more enthused about the company itself and all the people who put the show together. Mike recently was part of the original cast of Newsies in the ensemble and the Jack Kelly understudy. He would like to thank his family for their endless support and all the people he has met in this business that have had an impact on him.

Justin Keyes
Justin Keyes

Water Rat

Justin Keyes (Water Rat) is happy to be joining the Two River family for this new production of A Wind in the Willows Christmas. He recently completed NYC workshops of In Transit (Trent), directed by Christopher Gattelli and West Side Story (Action) with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. He will be seen this February in the City Center Encores! revival of Little Me starring Christian Borle and directed by John Rando. Broadway: How to Succeed in Business..., The Apple Tree, Mary Poppins. National Tour: The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee (Chip). Regional: Dallas Theater Center, Kansas City Starlight, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Muny, Pittsburgh CLO. TV: Gossip Girl. Thank you to John, Daniella and Warren for having me out to Red Bank this season!

Caesar Samayoa
Caesar Samayoa

Mr. Toad

Caesar Samayoa (Mr. Toad) Most recent credits include originating the roles of Don Armado in Alex Timbers musical adaption of Love’s Labour’s Lost for Shakespeare in the Park, and Hysterium in The Great American Mousical directed by Julie Andrews for Goodspeed Opera House. He was most recently seen on Broadway in the critically acclaimed productions of Sister Act and The Pee Wee Herman Show. Credits include leading roles in film, TV, Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theaters around the country including Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Le Freres Corbusier, Primary Stages, Urban Stages, The Play Company, Maltz Jupiter Theatre and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. TV/Film includes principal roles in AbFab, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and the independent feature Si’ Laraby. Mr. Samayoa has also appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and in various national and international concert tours.

Pauline Bradshaw

Musician (Violin)

Pauline Bradshaw is a violinist, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, who has been in New Jersey for 25 years. After graduating with a Masters in Violin Performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder, she was a member of the Colorado Springs Symphony. Currently a violin/viola studio teacher and freelancer, she is an adjunct at Peddie School and performs in opera, musicals and symphonies in the tri-state area.

Tereasa Payne

Musician (Woodwinds)

Tereasa Payne is a flutist, ethnic flutist and woodwinds specialist who performs throughout the US with national touring shows & artists, and in several orchestras including the Orlando Philharmonic. Favorite performances include: Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, Wicked, A Chorus Line, and Bernadette Peters. Tereasa is a founding member of the Areté Woodwind Doubling Quartet, commissioning and premiering works for multiple woodwinds. She can be seen in the pit orchestra of the NBC series, Smash. Please visit her website at:

Jake Robinson

Musician (Drums and Percussion)

Jake Robinson is a NYC drummer and percussionist. After attending Oberlin Conservatory, he earned his M.M. at Manhattan School of Music on scholarship. He is an active performer in the tri-state area and New England with jazz ensembles, cover bands, singer-songwriters, and his own original funk band The Uptown Partydown, which has just complete a 9-month residency at the acclaimed Rockwood Music Hall. After only a few years in New York, Jake has played at major venues such as Birdland, The Highline Ballroom, the 92nd St. Y, and Carnegie Hall. He also holds the drum set chair at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, where he also serves as Assistant Dean. Jake is pleased to be performing at Two River Theater again this December.

Joseph Wallace

Musician (Bass)

Joseph Wallace is a double & electric bassist currently living in Manhattan. Recent theater credits include: Bedbugs!!! The Musical; Hello Gorgeous: A Tribute to Barbara Streisand; The Rescignos; and 35mm The Musical. Previous Two River credits include Honk! and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Joseph can also be seen performing and recording with numerous artists throughout New York City and across the US.

Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger

Composer and Lyricist

Mike Reid (Composer) and Sarah Schlesinger (Lyricist) wrote In This House, which had its world premiere at Two River in 2012. Their musical The Ballad of Little Jo was produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago as its first musical and was subsequently produced at the Bridewell Theatre in London. They have also written the score for Casanova Returns, a new musical based on the life of Casanova, which won the Global Search for New Musicals. The team’s opera Different Fields was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Mike and Sarah have received the Kleban Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, a Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, and Chicago’s Jeff Award for best original musical. Mike 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”), Anita Baker, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, Alabama, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Bette Midler, and Tim McGraw. His song “Always Gonna Be You” was recorded by Kenny Chesney for his album Welcome to the Fishbowl. Sarah is the Chair of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Mindi Dickstein


Mindi Dickstein (Bookwriter) wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women. Current projects: lyrics for Snow in August, based on the novel by Pete Hamill; lyrics for Benny and Joon, based on the movie; and lyrics for At the Beck, an original musical. Recent work includes: book and lyrics for Trip, an original musical commissioned by Playwrights Horizons; book for Toy Story – The Musical for Disney Creative Entertainment; and book and lyrics for Nate the Great for Theatreworks USA. Mindi’s songs have been performed widely, most notably as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook (“Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists”) and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Awards and honors include playwriting fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts, the ASCAP Bernice Cohen Award, Second Stage Constance Klinsky Award for Excellence in Musical Theater, and PEN International New Playwright Award (selected by Wendy Wasserstein). She received her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where she was an Oscar Hammerstein Fellow and where she now serves on the faculty. Little Women is available through Music Theatre International and Cherry Lane Music. The original Broadway cast album, released by Ghostlight Records, is available from and other music retailers. Contact or follow Mindi on Facebook: or Twitter @mindidickstein.

Danielle Topol


Danielle Topol (Director) Daniella’s world-premiere productions include: Jessica Dickey’s Charles Ives Take Me Home (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), Catherine Trieschmann’s How the World Began (South Coast Rep; Women’s Project), Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre), Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City (New Georges), Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India (Magic Theatre; Ma-Yi Theatre), Willy Holtzman’s The Morini Strad (City Theatre, PA), Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (Quantum Theatre), Janet Allard and Niko Tsakalakos’ Pool Boy (Barrington Stage), Carla Ching’s The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi), Caridad Svich’s Instructions for Breathing (Passage Theatre), and Sheila Callaghan’s Lascivious Something (Women’s Project/Cherry Lane). Upcoming productions: Jessica Dickey’s Row After Row (Women’s Project) and Lina Patel’s The Ragged Claws (Cherry Lane). Formerly the Artistic Program Director of the Lark Play Development Center and New Works Program Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Daniella is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, an NYTW Usual Suspect, EST Member, and member of the Board of the Lark Play Development Center. Daniella lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Warren Adams


Warren Adams (Choreographer) is an award-winning producer, director, and choreographer and an Adjunct Professor at Princeton University and NYU in the Theatre Department. He choreographed the Broadway smash hit Motown: The Musical (produced by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Doug Morrisand Kevin McCollum) for which he won the 2013 Fred Astaire Award for Best Choreographer on Broadway. He recently directed the film documentary Africa Straight Up which premiered in Oct 2012. Born and raised in South Africa, he won the Nelson Mandela/Sainsbury scholarship to study at the Rambert Ballet in London. He is a graduate of Brunel University in England and winner of the Rudolf Nureyev Award. Past highlights include choreographing the Pulitzer Prize-winning Off Broadway plays How I Learned to Drive and Ruined; the opera Magdalena at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Toy Story – The Musical for Disney, and Nora Ephron’s last film Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep. Adams was also part of the Disney Team that launched Hong Kong Disney in 2005. He was the Associate Choreographer for The Lion King and created The World Drummers show. Other theatrical work has been presented at New York City Center, The Joyce, 2nd Stage, South Coast Rep, Teatro du Municipal Sao Paulo, Theatre for a New Audience, Intiman, The Geffen, and several dance companies including the critically acclaimed The Audacious One for Phoenix Dance Theatre.

John O’Neill

Music Director/Vocal Arrangements

John O’Neill (Music Director/Vocal Arrangements) is very happy to be returning to Two River Theater where he was recently Music Director for Present Laughter. Recently he worked on Barry Manilow’s musical Harmony, which had its premiere at the Alliance Theatre. Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include A Chorus Line, Curtains, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well…. Regional theater credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival and North Carolina Theatre for the Arts. Tours include West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Cabaret (Japan), The Rockettes Spectacular, Grease (Hong Kong), and Forever Plaid in Las Vegas. John has been on the faculty of The Julliard School Drama Division, Rutgers University, and CAP21. Published compositions: Sunshine, a children’s musical based on a Ludwig Bemelmans story.

Clint Ramos

Scenic Designer

Clint Ramos (Scenic Designer) is the recipient of a 2013 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, two Lucille Lortel Awards, the TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and two American Theatre Wing Henry Hewes Awards, among others. Recent credits include sets and/or costumes for Appropriate (Woolly Mammoth); Here Lies Love, Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Wild With Happy (Public Theater); Romeo and Juliet (Classic Stage); Good Person of Szechuan (Foundry/Public Theater); Cradle Will Rock, Violet, I’m Getting My Act Together… (City Center Encores!); Tallest Tree in the Forest (Kansas City Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Mark Taper Forum). Regional credits also include Alley Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Huntington Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Denver Center, Centerstage– Baltimore, American Repertory Theater, Asolo Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, Alliance, Folger, The Guthrie, Williamstown, Barrington Stage, Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, others. Opera: Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Boston. International credits include Riksteatern (Stockholm), Thalia (Bucharest), Teatro Pilipino (Manila), Barbican (London), Kannon Dance Company (St. Petersburg), O’Reilly Theatre (Dublin). MFA from NYU.

Olivera Gajic

Costume Designer

Olivera Gajic (Costume Designer) Off-Broadway: God’s Ear, Vineyard; Miss Julie, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (2005); One Million Butterflies, Primary Stages; Williams in Transit, Americans, The Greeks, Edward II, The Juilliard School-drama; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Le Comte Ory, The Juilliard School-opera. Regional: A Dream Play, Peter Pan, Macbeth, Miss Julie, The Father, Ghosts, Candida, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Heartbreak House, Berkshire Theatre Festival; Clybourne Park, Crime and Punishment, Merchant of Venice, Social Creatures, Trinity Rep; Chekhov Lizardbrain, Twelfth Night, Pig Iron; Seagull, Ivanov, Uncle Vanya, Platonov, Lake Lucille. She has also worked with the following companies: Long Wharf, Two River, Riverside Theatre, Playmakers Rep, Theatre Works, American Stage, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Cleveland Play House, California Shakespeare Theater. International: Jedermann, Salzburg Festspiele Austria; USA National Exhibit, Prague Quadrennial 2003 & 2007, Czech Republic. Education: University of CT, Storrs; Academy of Fine Arts, Belgrade, Serbia. Awards: 2012 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Costume Design for Pig Iron’s Twelfth Night, TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award-Distinguished Costume Design, Innovative Theatre Awards-Outstanding Costume Design, The Tobin Foundation design grant, NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers.

Paul Whitaker

Lighting Designer

Paul Whitaker (Lighting Designer) New York credits include The Public Theater, MCC, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Atlantic Theater, The Play Company, Ma-Yi, LAByrinth Theatre, Intar, The Mint, and others. Regional credits include The Guthrie, Yale Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf Theater, Alley, Huntington Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company, Centerstage, A.C.T., Hartford Stage, Dallas Theater Center, George Street Playhouse, Two River, and others. He has a B.A. from Macalester College and an M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama. Paul has taught at Cal Poly Pomona and Amherst College, and is currently a Lighting Designer/Theatre Consultant for Schuler Shook.

Zachary Williamson

Sound Designer

Zachary Williamson (Sound Designer) is very pleased to be designing again for Two River, where previous designs include last years’ A Wind in the Willows Christmas, Carry It On, Jacques Brel, Opus, Charlie Brown, 26 Miles, ReEntry, Glass Menagerie, Charlatan’s Séance, Umbrellas of Cherbourg and House of Blue Leaves. Broadway credits (Associate): Lysistrata Jones, The Ritz, and Pal Joey. Off-Broadway credits: Irish Repertory Theater, 2nd Stage, Origin, Partial Comfort, American Records and Urban Stages. Recent regional credits: Cincinnati Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, Kansas City Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, 5th Avenue Seattle, Ordway Center, Clarence Brown, Long Wharf, Round House, St. Louis Rep, Syracuse Stage, Vermont Stage, Virginia Stage, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodspeed, Asolo, and TheaterWorks Hartford. International credits: Broadway Asia International and Edinburgh Fringe.

Danny Larsen


Danny Larsen (Orchestrations) previously orchestrated In This House for Two River. He graduated from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program in 2005 as a composer/lyricist and holds Bachelors of Arts degrees in Music and Theatre Education from Brigham Young University. His most recent show, Cloaked, written with collaborator Michelle Elliott, has received a number of workshop productions in New York and all over the country, and was honored with a Jonathan Larson Grant and the Kleban Award in 2011. His first musical with Elliott, The Yellow Wood, received the 2006 Richard Rodgers Development Award and the Daryl Roth Award; it was presented as part of the 2007 NYMF Festival (where he won the Excellence in Music Award) and 2008 NAMT Festival. Danny also won the ACTF Kennedy Center Composition Award for his music and lyrics for Soft Shoe. He is currently working on a new musical web series called The Hinterlands which is a response to the gay teen suicides tragically plaguing the nation. Danny has done an extensive amount of arranging, orchestration, and composing for his own original musicals and other various projects.

Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell


Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell (Casting) Broadway: Betrayal, Cinderella, The Performers, Lysistrata Jones, Relatively Speaking, That Championship Season, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, Avenue Q, and Xanadu. Previous productions with Vineyard Theatre, Bay Street, Dallas Theater Center, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, and Lincoln Center Theater. Film: The Place Beyond the Pines, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Blue Valentine, Another Happy Day, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Letters to Juliet, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Starting Out in the Evening, Death of a President, The Darjeeling Limited, The Namesake, Sherrybaby, Kinsey, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, Personal Velocity. Upcoming films: This Is Where I Leave You, Winter’s Tale, Gods Behaving Badly. Television: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, Fringe, The Return of Jezebel James, and multiple HBO pilots. Members of CSA.

M. William Shiner

Production Stage Manager

M. William Shiner (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to be making his Two River Theater debut with A Wind in the Willows Christmas. Mr. Shiner just completed a run of Disney’s The Jungle Book, Mary Zimmerman’s new stage musical. NY credits include: the Off-Broadway run of The 39 Steps and The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of Measure for Measure (dir. David Esbjornson) and As You Like It (dir. Daniel Sullivan with music by Steve Martin). Regionally, Mr. Shiner was the resident production stage manager for six years at Shakespeare Theatre Company under Artistic Director Michael Kahn where he stage managed over 35 productions. He was also the resident production stage manager at Dallas Theater Center and spent three seasons at the La Jolla Playhouse. Internationally, Mr. Shiner has worked at the RSC in Stratford, England, and spent this summer with Franco Dragon’s circus production of The House of Dancing Water in Macau. Mr. Shiner holds his MFA in stage management from UC San Diego.


playBehind the Seams with Costume Designer

Behind the Seams with Costume Designer

Olivera Gajic talks with us about her design process for the show.

playPreview Trailer

Preview Trailer


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The Tim McLoone Radio Show Interviews Mike Reid and Mindi Dickstein