Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Half Moon Theatre Wraps 10th Anniversary Season with cul-de-sac

Tony Award-nominated actor and playwright John Cariani. Cul-de-sac runs April 29 through May 14, 2017 at The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion

A New Dark Comedy by Tony-nominated Actor and North America’s Most-Produced Playwright, John Cariani

Hyde Park, NY – Three suburban couples desperately trying to lead perfectly happy lives are at the heart of cul-de-sac by John Cariani which opens Saturday, April 29 at Half Moon Theatre. Cariani, a Tony-nominated Broadway actor (Fiddler on the Roof, Something Rotten!), is also one of North America’s most-produced playwrights, best known for Almost, Maine and Love/Sick.

Directed by Michael Schiralli, cul-de-sac features an all-star cast of six actors from New York City and Chicago: Michael Borrelli, Katie Hartke, Sean Hayden, Samantha Jones, Molly Renfroe Katz, and Bruch Reed. They play three married couples—the Smiths, Johnsons, and Joneses—who live on a nice little street, in a nice little suburb, in a nice little state, in a nice big country. As the play begins, it is an ordinary spring evening and they’re all very happy—or trying desperately to be. The extreme measures they take to achieve happiness—or at least look happy—are both hilarious and haunting. Cul-de-sac “is a psychological—and real—thriller that examines the American dream and the nightmare it can become,” says Cariani.

Half Moon Theatre audiences will be the first to see this new version of a script that the playwright has been revising and re-working since 2006. Even in its early phases, the play captured the theater world’s attention. The New York Times called it “charming, witty, and macabre,” noting that Cariani has a “gift for the banality and comedy of despair.” praised the play for its “clear-eyed profundity…[and] an equal amount of laughs,” adding that cul-de-sac serves as “a potent wake-up call.”

Half Moon Theatre is delighted to collaborate with Cariani for a third time, having previously produced his plays Almost, Maine (in 2010) and Love/Sick (in 2013). Half Moon Artistic Director Michael Schiralli is looking forward to entering the world of John Cariani: “Working on a new piece with the author is a luxury. Hearing firsthand how he sees and hears it is both a gift and a challenge…the possibilities seem endless.” Schiralli notes that in the play, “Everyone’s ‘jonesing’ to keep up with everyone else—they’re all chasing their tails in pursuit of the magical happiness that their neighbors seem to have.”

Cariani’s previous plays have been tremendously popular with high school students. In 2013 Almost, Maine replaced Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the top play performed in high schools. Up to 1,600 high school students will see cul-de-sac at school matinee performances and participate in discussion forums with the playwright, thanks in part to a grant from AT&T in memory of the late Valerie MacKay, local resident and former Half Moon Theatre board member.

Cul-de-sac will be performed at The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion on weekends from Saturday, April 29, 2017 through Sunday, May 14, 2017. Weekday matinee performances for schools and community groups will be held on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11 at 10 a.m. Tickets for cul-de-sac range from $20–$45 and discounts are available for groups of eight or more. For the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, April 29, patrons have the option to purchase Premier Tickets, which include an exclusive Opening Night Party with the artists after the show. Premier Tickets are strictly limited and must be purchased in advance. In addition, specially priced pre-theatre dining is available at CIA restaurants by calling 845-905-4533.

What:Cul-de-sac, a new dark comedy and psychological thriller by John Cariani
Where: Marriott Pavilion at The Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538
When: Saturday, April 29, 2017 through Sunday, May 14, 2017
Tickets: $20–$45
More Information & Tickets: or 845-235-9885

Photos Captions and Hi-Res Images:

Top Photo: From left to right: Molly Renfroe Katz, Katie Hartke, and Michael Borelli. Cul-de-sac, a new dark comedy and psychological thriller by John Cariani, runs weekends from April 29 through May 14, 2017 at The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion. (Photo credit: by Jennifer Kiaba)
View hi-res image >

Bottom Photo: Tony Award-nominated actor and playwright John Cariani. Cul-de-sac runs April 29 through May 14, 2017 at The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion. (Courtesy photo)
View hi-res image >

Media Contact:

Sara Capozzoli
Public Relations Director

About Playwright and Actor John Cariani:
As a playwright, John Cariani is best known for
Almost, Maine, his first play and one of the most frequently produced plays in the country, now translated into more than a dozen languages. Macmillan Imprint Feiwel and Friends has signed John to develop Almost, Maine into a young adult novel. Cariani’s plays Last Gas and LOVE/SICK are published through Dramatists Play Service. Cariani is also a Tony Award-nominated actor. He made his Broadway debut in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof as Motel the Tailor; he received the Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award nomination for his performance. He was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance as Nigel Bottom in the recent Broadway hit Something Rotten! On television, Cariani is best known as Forensics Tech Beck on NBC’s Law & Order. He has had recurring roles on CBS’ Numbers and on the IFC’s The Onion News Network and has recently guest-starred on Homeland, The Good Wife, and The Blacklist. Notable film work includes Showtime (with Robert De Niro), Scotland, PA (with Christopher Walken), and Elephant Sighs (with Ed Asner). Originally from Presque Isle, ME, John is a graduate of Amherst College. He lives in New York City.

About Half Moon Theatre:
Founded in 2006, Half Moon Theatre (HMT) is the Hudson Valley’s only year-round professional theater company. HMT brings plays and musicals from Broadway and off-Broadway to the Mid-Hudson region and supports the development of new work by American playwrights, composers and lyricists. The mainstage season is presented at the Marriott Pavilion on The Culinary Institute of America campus in Hyde Park, NY. HMT also operates a School of the Arts and a Studio Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY. HMT’s Educational programs cultivate a new generation of theater artists and fans through in-school residencies, theater classes, and professional trainings. The HMT Junior Company creates and performs free shows at hospitals, senior centers and community events. Half Moon Theatre’s performances, education and outreach programs serve over 15,000 youth and adults annually, enhancing the quality of life for local residents while also promoting tourism in the Hudson Valley. HMT is the recipient of the 2015 Dutchess County Tourism Arts Award of Distinction and 2014 Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Organization of the Year by Arts Mid-Hudson. 

About The Culinary Institute of America:
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; and executive education through its Food Business School. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of 49,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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