News & Events

UMPI hosts hometown premiere of John Cariani’s LOVE/SICK

The University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Presque Isle Community Players are pleased to present the northern Maine debut of John Cariani’s play LOVE/SICK this spring, bringing the Presque Isle native’s dark comedy to the stage for its hometown premiere. LOVE/SICK performances will take place on Fridays and Saturdays, April 5, 6, 12, and 13 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium in Wieden Hall; doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and are available at Goin’ Postal, the Aroostook Centre Mall Info Desk, the UMPI Campus Store, and online at www.picplayers.com. Tickets will also be available at the door, if not sold out. A portion of the proceeds from these special performances will benefit renovations to the Auditorium at Wieden Hall.

A darker cousin to Cariani’s first play Almost, Maine, this unromantic comedy is truly for the romantic in everyone. A collection of nine slightly twisted and completely hilarious short plays, LOVE/SICK is set on a Friday night in an alternate suburban reality. Full of imperfect lovers and dreamers, this show explores the pain and joy that come with being in love.

LOVE/SICK brings together for the third time the creative forces of the playwright—Presque Isle native and Tony-nominated actor John Cariani—and director Barbara Frick Ladner. Cariani has appeared in several major roles on Broadway, including in the 2017 Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit, the 2015 musical comedy Something Rotten!, and the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof. He also has performed numerous roles in Presque Isle High School and Pioneer Playhouse productions. Frick Ladner has directed scores of high school and community theater productions in the last three decades. The two came together for the first time in 1984, when Cariani played Doody in the high school production of Grease, under Frick Ladner’s direction.

While Cariani isn’t able to be a part of this year’s production as he was the year the Presque Isle Community Players presented his play Almost, Maine, he has been consulting with Frick Ladner and met via video conference with the cast to discuss their characters.

LOVE/SICK is the most recent of Cariani’s four stage works. His other plays include Almost, Maine, cul-de-sac, and Last Gas. Three of the shows—Almost, Maine, cul-de-sac, and LOVE/SICK—have had Off-Broadway runs, and all four are published by Dramatists Play Service.

His first play, Almost, Maine, has become one of the most frequently produced plays in North America, produced by more than 3,000 theater companies across the continent. It is currently the most frequently produced play in North American high schools, topping perennial favorites A Midsummer Night’s Dream, You Can’t Take It with You, and Our Town.

Cariani graduated from Presque Isle High School in 1987. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in history from Amherst College, he studied theater at StageWest in Springfield, Mass., and moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. He made his Broadway debut in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof and received an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of Motel the Tailor. On television, he is best known for his role on NBC’s Law & Order as Forensics Technician Julian Beck. Notable film work includes Showtime (with Robert De Niro), Scotland, PA (with Christopher Walken), and Elephant Sighs (with Ed Asner).

“We are delighted to be hosting our third hometown premiere of a John Cariani play, and to do it in our Auditorium in Wieden Hall, where John starred in many a community theater production,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “The support our theater has from him and the Presque Isle Community Players is tremendous, and we greatly appreciate their work to help us continue bringing excellent live theater experiences to the region.”

The Presque Isle Community Players’ production of LOVE/SICK features Dan Ladner, Tamia Glidden, Jeff Ashby, Debbie Lamont, Sherry Sullivan, Judy Crawford, John Kiehn, Yvette Stephens, Matt St. Jean, Amy Daniels, and Jonna Bouré. Original music for the show was composed by Julian Fleisher.

For more information, contact the UMPI Community and Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu.