Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Half Moon Theatre’s 5th Annual Ten Minute Play Festival at The Culinary Institute of America

Half Moon Theatre's Darrah Cloud and David Simpatico, co-curators of the Ten Minute Play Festival.

Celebrate the Hudson Valley’s Love Affair with Food

Media Contact:

Diane Jackson Schnoor
Half Moon Theatre

Hyde Park, NY – Half Moon Theatre will close its exciting inaugural season at The Culinary Institute of America with its fifth annual Ten Minute Play Festival. This year’s theme, All You Can Eat, celebrates the new partnership between HMT and the CIA with ten 10-minute plays—all written by nationally recognized playwrights expressly for this festival—set in familiar local eateries or featuring food-related themes at hot spots around the Hudson Valley.

On this culinary adventure, you will journey to Mercato restaurant with a NYC couple for a special occasion; join Margo and Dean while they fight for their future together over a tiramisù at the CIA’s Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici; eavesdrop on a master chef and her assistant as they prepare a dish at an exclusive French bistro; sit in a Cold Spring gazebo with an odd couple; and ride with a mother and daughter as they careen down the Thruway towards Junior Chef summer camp at the CIA.

Half Moon Theatre’s company of professional actors and invited artists participate in this dynamic, sophisticated staged reading. The immediacy of a reading—at which the cast has not memorized the plays and is performed with minimal costumes and sets—lends a more sophisticated, Off-Broadway vibe to the evening. The event is also geared towards a more mature audience—with adult humor and situations.

Ten nationally recognized playwrights have all written their love letters to the Hudson Valley, creating a foodie smorgasbord of dramatic delights. A list of their impressive biographies is attached.

Playwrights include: Rob Handel, Rob Ackerman, Migdalia Cruz, Margaret Namulyanga, Darrah Cloud, Jenny Lyn Bader, David Simpatico, Lisa Kimball, Mark Burns, and Kate Moira Ryan. Most of Half Moon Theatre’s acting company will perform.

All of the plays will be directed by HMT Resident Director Michael Schiralli. “I am looking forward to playing with these top playwrights’ work, which celebrate two of my favorite subjects—food and the Hudson Valley,” says Schiralli. “Bringing these eclectic pieces, in a fast paced stage reading to the CIA’s glorious Marriott Pavilion, is a thrilling proposition.”

In addition to being one of the playwrights, David Simpatico is also a co-creator of the Festival. “This year's theme, All You Can Eat, connects the varied hues of the human condition to the abundant presence of food in both our culture, and our specific region, the Hudson Valley,” Simpatico says.

Simpatico adds that he and co-creator Darrah Cloud chose playwrights whose work they had either long admired, or who had recently captured their attention and imagination. “We told them the theme, and gave them all one common element to include in their plays: a chef's hat, or toque,” Simpatico says. “The results are wonderful, quirky and varied, humorous and compassionate. Sex and procreation seem to be recurring elements in the different plays, connecting food to our essential drives and impulses in the most unexpected and entertaining ways.”

Cloud, who is also a featured playwright in the Festival, noted that the local playwrights are members of the Half Moon Writers, a group that meets every week to workshop their new plays. The nationally recognized playwrights all boast connections to HMT—as well as numerous theatrical awards, including the NEA, the Rockefeller, and the Frederick Loewe Award. “This year’s Festival celebrates our 5th anniversary promoting the new work of local and nationally known playwrights in the Hudson Valley,” she says. “Each play was written specifically for our theatre, in the hopes that we might draw more people to come ‘play’ with us at Half Moon!”

Half Moon Theatre Producing Director Patty Wineapple says, “The Ten Minute Play Festival has quickly become one of Half Moon Theatre’s signature events and is a favorite with our audience. This year, our patrons can celebrate All You Can Eat by dining at one of the CIA’s award-winning restaurants before the Festival. There is truly something for everyone—we call it a ‘theatrical smorgasbord.’”

Performance Schedule:

June 12 at 8 p.m.
June 13 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
$25 all ages

All performances are at the beautiful Marriott Pavilion at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-838-3006.

Dine at The Culinary Institute of America Before the Show

Book your table now to enjoy the award winning restaurants at The Culinary Institute of America paired with the critically acclaimed professional repertoire of Half Moon Theatre. Enjoy a delicious meal at The Bocuse Restaurant, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, American Bounty Restaurant, or Pangea Restaurant. Pre-theatre evening reservations are available for $39 per person at American Bounty, Bocuse, and Caterina de’ Medici by calling 845-905-4533. Pangea will be open for dinner before the Friday performance, and a $29 pre-theatre menu is available online.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images:

Photo 1 (top photo): Amy Lemon Olson and Barbara Rankin rehearse for Half Moon Theatre's Ten Minute Play Festival. Ten short food-related plays will be performed in the Marriott Pavilion at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on June 12 & 13. (Photo credits CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Photo 2: Half Moon Theatre's Darrah Cloud and David Simpatico, co-curators of the Ten Minute Play Festival, peruse scripts of the food-related short plays to be performed at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on June 12 & 13. (Photo credits CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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