Half Moon Theatre to Wrap Season with John Cariani's New Dark Comedy CUL-DE-SAC

Half Moon Theatre to Wrap Season with John Cariani's New Dark Comedy CUL-DE-SACThree 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 the three married couples in the play--the Smiths, The Johnsons, and the 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.

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's 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. Two 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 8 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 The Culinary Institute of America's restaurants; reservations can be made by calling (845) 905-4533.

cul-de-sac, a new dark comedy and psychological thriller by John Cariani will play the Marriott Pavilion at The Culinary Institute of America, running Saturday, April 29, 2017 through Sunday, May 14, 2017. Tickets: $20 - $45. For more information and tickets, visit www.halfmoontheatre.org or call (845) 235-9885.

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, Maine, John is a graduate of Amherst College. He lives in New York City.

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. Visit www.halfmoontheatre.org for more.

Pictured: Molly Renfroe Katz, Katie Hartke and Michael Borelli. Cul-de-sac, a new dark comedy and psychological thriller by John Cariani, runs weekends from Saturday, April 29, 2017 through Sunday, May 14, 2017 at The Culinary Institute of America's Marriott Pavilion. Photo by Jennifer Kiaba.


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