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.” NYTheatre.com 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
More Information & Tickets: www.halfmoontheatre.org or 845-235-9885
Photos Captions and
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 >
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 >
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
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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