John Cariani Workshops New Play at American Academy of Dramatic Arts

Celebrated actor and playwright John Cariani joins The American Academy of Dramatic Arts Main Stage Live program to workshop his newest play, "cul-de-sac," developing it as a limited-run workshop production featuring the all-Academy alumni cast.

Directed by Main Stage Live Program Coordinator Adam Fitzgerald, "cul-de-sac" tells the story of three small-time suburban families: the Smiths, Johnsons and Joneses. In this quirky family comedy, the audience will follow along as these neighbors go at lengths to appear happy in what turns out to be both a hilarious and heartbreaking tale examining the American dream.

"The opportunity to collaborate with John on reworking his play, 'cul-de-sac,' is the epitome of why we do Main Stage Live," says Fitzgerald. "Already, from the first read-through, John has had the chance to do - and test out - some major revisions to the piece, and the team of Academy alumni actors has been a vital part of that creative process."

The "cul-de-sac" workshop performances will take place at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 through Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. All performances begin at 7 p.m. The production stars Academy alumni Clemmie Evans, Michael Ford, Txai Frota, Sammi Price, Gerome Samonte and Tamara Sevunts with props, costume and set design provided by The Academy.

"It is beyond inspiring to watch the creativity and collaboration ensue so organically from pairing hard-working, dedicated actors with an established New York theatre artist like John," adds Fitzgerald. "We're able to provide John with the space, talent and resources necessary to workshop his play, as well as Academy alumni the immeasurable experience to work hand-in-hand with a prolific artist in the community. This is exactly why Main Stage Live exists."

About "cul-de-sac": Meet the Smiths The Johnsons and the Joneses. They live in a nice little cul-de-sac in a nice little suburb in a nice little state in a nice big country. And they're happy. Or-trying to be. The lengths to which they go to be--or seem or feel--happy are hilarious and heartbreaking. "cul-de-sac" is a not-quite-for-families family comedy that examines the American dream-and the nightmare it can become. The premiere production of "cul-de-sac" was produced by Transport Group; Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director.

Main Stage Live is an innovative program which connects Academy students and alumni with leading playwrights, directors and established industry professionals to explore original works through script development and workshops. Past Main Stage Live productions have been led by Douglas Carter Beane, Neil LaBute, Sandy Martin and Derek Ahonen. For more information on Main Stage Live, visit

Founded in 1884, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts is the first conservatory for actors in the English-speaking world. Since then, its purpose has remained the same: to provide students with the tools needed to make acting their profession. Having been regarded as the "Cradle to the Stars," The Academy has an illustrious list of alumni which includes Cecil B. DeMille, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Jessica Chastain, and Paul Rudd. Together, Academy alumni have earned 106 Oscar, 283 Emmy and 90 Tony nominations. For information on The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, visit


John Cariani is a Tony award nominated actor and an accomplished playwright. As an actor, he has appeared on and off Broadway and in several films and television shows. He made his Broadway debut in the 2004 revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" as Motel the Tailor and 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 current Broadway hit, "Something Rotten!" On television, Cariani is best known as Forensics Tech Beck on NBC's "Law & Order," Professor Otto Bahn on CBS' "Numbers" and Reporter Michael Faulk on IFC's "The Onion News Network." Notable film work includes "Showtime" (with Robert De Niro), "Scotland, PA" (with Christopher Walken), and "Elephant Sighs" (with Ed Asner). As a playwright, John is best known for his first play, "Almost, Maine," which is one of the most frequently produced plays in the country and has been translated into over a dozen languages. To date, the play has been produced by over 3,000 theater companies worldwide. Macmillan Imprint Feiwel and Friends recently signed John to develop "Almost, Maine" into a young adult novel. Cariani's new plays, "Last Gas" and "LOVE/SICK," are newly published through Dramatists Play Service. Originally from Presque Isle, Maine, John is a graduate of Amherst College. He lives in New York City.

Adam Fitzgerald is a film and theater director currently based in New York. Select NYC directing credits include "The Good Girl," "The Awake" (NY Times Critic's Pick), and "Sense of an Ending" (all at 59E59); "Methtacular!" (Time Out NY Critics' Pick), "Killing Women," "Lyric Is Waiting," "It's Only Kickball," "Stupid" (Advocate Mag. Best of the Year), A. Rey Pamatmat's "The Shotgun Message" (workshop at The Academy), "Songs for a More Funnier World" (NYMF) and "Letter From Algeria" (GroundUP). Some of Adam's regional work includes "Twelfth Night" (Scranton Shakespeare Festival), "Defiance" (Playhouse West, Critics' Circle nominations for Director and Production), "Santaland Diaries" (Homemade Theater), and "Methtacular!" (About Face Theater, Time Out Chicago Critic's Pick, Jeff Award nominations). Adam's TV/FILM work ranges from a PSA for The Ad Council and GLSEN, which won the national Talent House competition (judged by Brett Ratner and Tom Ford), to eight episodes of FIFTY2&NINE's web series, "Conversations w/ My Ex" for GWIST T.V. (Director, Co-Writer), to the short film (director, writer) which was an official selection at Inside Out Toronto, North Carolina LGBT Film Festival, QFlix Philadelphia, InDPanda Hong Kong, and the Madrid International Film Festival. Visit for more information.

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