John Cariani

American actor and playwright

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Edward Cariani (born July 23, 1969) is an American actor and playwright. Cariani is best known as the unwavering forensic expert Julian Beck in Law & Order. On stage, he earned a Tony Award nomination for his role as Motel the Tailor in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. As a playwright, he is best known for his first play, Almost, Maine, which has become one of the most frequently produced plays in the United States. He starred on Broadway in the Tony Award winning musicals Something Rotten! and The Band's Visit.[1]

Early life

Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, Cariani was eight when his family moved to Presque Isle, Maine.

He attended Presque Isle High School where he was active in the music and theater programs. After graduating in 1987, he attended Amherst College,[2] where he was a member of the Zumbyes,[3] Amherst's oldest a-cappella group, and the Glee Club. After graduating from Amherst College in 1991 with a B.A. in history, he studied acting and directing at now defunct StageWest in Springfield, Massachusetts.[4] He then moved to New York at age 27 to pursue acting.

Acting career

Cariani spent his early years in New York working with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and acting in Off-Broadway plays, television commercials, and films.

His first break came in 1999 when he was cast in the Off-Broadway play It's My Party (and I'll Die if I Want To), starring F. Murray Abraham and Joyce Van Patten.[5] In 2000 Cariani was cast in the independent film, Scotland, PA,[6] and also appeared in the TV series Ed [7]

In 2001 he had a small role in the independent film, The Shaft[6] and played Chuck in the film Kissing Jessica Stein[7][6] He also played a villain in Warner Brothers' film Showtime (2002)[6] and appeared on television in Big Apple.[7] From 2001-2003, he played Perry in Law and Order: Criminal Intent.[7] In 2002 he joined the cast of Law & Order, playing the role of forensic expert Julian Beck from 2002–2007.[8] In 2003, he appeared in the film Robot Stories.[7]

In 2004 Cariani made his Broadway debut in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Alfred Molina.[9] He won an Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Featured Actor In A Musical,[10] and a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Motel the tailor.[11] He also appeared in the films The Reunion and Messengers (1999).[7]

In 2006, he appeared on the TV series Six Degrees.[7] In 2008, appeared in the film High Street Plumbing.[7] In 2009, Cariani joined the cast of the television show Numb3rs on CBS as physicist Otto Bahnoff. In 2011, Cariani played Henry in the short film Henry[7] He also appeared in the film Certainty.[7]

From 2011–2012, he appeared in several sketches on IFC's Onion News Network, playing the role of "Michael Falk, Autistic Reporter."

In 2012 he starred opposite Ed Asner in the independent film Elephant Sighs, written and directed by Ed Simpson.[12][13] That same year, he guest-starred on the Showtime series, Homeland. In 2014 he had a guest starring role on The Good Wife, and later in the year played the role of "Zookeeper" in Sony Pictures Deliver Us From Evil.[14]

In 2014, he played Ollie in the film Child of Grace.[7][15]

In 2015, he originated the role of Nigel Bottom in the Broadway musical Something Rotten!, for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.[16] He was also nominated for a Grammy Award as part of the original cast recording of Something Rotten.[17] He left the production in July 2016.[18]

In 2016, he performed in Transport Group's Off-Broadway productions of Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba.[19] He also played Aaron Mulgrew on The Blacklist (TV Series).[7]

In 2016, he performed in the Off-Broadway production of a new musical, based on the film The Band's Visit, with the book by Itamar Moses and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. The musical opened at the Off-Broadway Linda Gross Theater, produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company, on November 11, 2016, closing on December 23, 2016.[20] It subsequently re-opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on November 9, 2017, with Cariani continuing in the cast.[21]

In 2018, he played Hank in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and appeared in the film Thrasher Road.[7]

In 2019, he played Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man at The Kennedy Center.[22]


As a playwright, Cariani is best known for his first play, Almost, Maine[23] which premiered at the Portland Stage Company in 2004 and became the company's most successful production to date garnering critical acclaim and breaking box office records. It was named "one of the ten must-see shows" in The Wall Street Journal's regional roundup for 2004/2005 regional theater season.[23]

Almost, Maine opened Off-Broadway in 2006 at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Since then, Almost, Maine has become one of the most frequently produced plays, produced by over 2500 theater companies in North America to date.[23] In 2014, The Washington Post reported that Almost, Maine had replaced Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as the most frequently produced play in North American High Schools.[23][24] Almost, Maine has also been translated into nearly 20 languages.

Cariani starred in the Transport Group's 2014 Off-Broadway revival of Almost, Maine.[25] The production was named one of the ten best of 2014 by The Advocate,[26] and was also recorded by the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.[27] It was named the most-performed full-length play in United States high schools in 2016-2017.[28] Cariani later adapted the play into a book of the same name.[29]

Cariani's second play, cul-de-sac premiered Off-Broadway in April 2006 in a Transport Group production,[30] with Cariani performing as Joe Jones. The New York Times described cul-de-sac as "charming, witty and macabre."[31] A production was presented at High Point University in April 2016, and the play was performed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York City) in October 2016. Playbill reported that he was in the process of revising the piece,[32] which was further revised following development at the Cape Cod Theatre Project.[33]

Cariani's third play, Last Gas premiered at Portland Stage Company (Portland, Maine) in 2010.[34] Cariani noted that "Almost, Maine is almost a love letter to northern Maine and Last Gas is a more realistic look at that part of the world."[35] Last Gas became the biggest selling three-week run in Portland Stage Company's history. It has been described as "a bittersweet romance about two people who lack the courage to admit they love one another ... it's an undeniable winner."[36] The play ran at Opera House Arts, Stonington Opera House, Maine, in 2013[37] and at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York in the winter of 2014. It was published by Dramatists Play Service in 2014.

Love/Sick is Cariani's most recent play. It premiered at High Point University in the fall of 2010, then was presented at the Portland Stage Company in the spring of 2013,[38] and was produced by Hartford TheaterWorks in 2014. The play ran Off-Broadway in February 2015 at the Royal Family Performing Arts Space.[39]

Personal life

Cariani and his husband John Lloyd, a retired NYPD detective, have been together for 21 years and live in the Bronx.[40][41]


Film roles

Year Film Role Notes
2001 Kissing Jessica Stein Chuck
2001 Scotland, PA Ed the 'not-too-bright' Cop
2001 The Shaft Security Guard Gary
2002 Showtime Charlie Hertz
2003 Robot Stories Salesman
2004 The Reunion Scott Short
2004 Messengers Derek the Cop
2008 High Street Plumbing Big Boy Short
2011 Certainty Odd Interviewer
2011 Henry Henry Short
2012 Elephant Sighs Joel
2013 Sleeping With The Fishes Louis Belsky
2014 Deliver us from Evil Zookeeper
2014 Child of Grace Ollie
2015 Paper Dreams Ethan
2018 Thrasher Road TSA Supervisor
2019 Nasa Seals Josh Peters


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Ed Howard Pissle NBC, episode 1.2: "The World of Possibility"
2001 Big Apple ER Doctor CBS, Episode 1.7
2001–2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Perry NBC, 2 episodes
2004 The 58th Annual Tony Awards Himself - Nominee CBS
2002–2007 Law & Order CSU Tech Beck NBC, 26 episodes
2006 Six Degrees Blogger ABC
2009–2010 Numb3rs Otto Bahnoff CBS
2011 The Onion News Network Michael Falk IFC, 5 episodes
2012 Homeland Jeff Ricker Showtime, episode "The Choice"
2014 The Good Wife Stuart CBS
2015 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself - Nigel Bottom NBC
2016 The Blacklist Aaron Mulgrew NBC, episode "Drexel" #LiveatFive Himself - Guest
2018 Theater Talk Himself - Guest PBS
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Hank Amazon Prime Video

Stage appearances

Start year Production Role Notes
1997 As You Like It Sylvius Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1998 The Winter's Tale The Clown
Much Ado About Nothing Verges
1999 Twelfth Night Andrew Aguecheek
It's My Party Ted Arclight Theatre Company
2003 The Unrepeatable Robert The Lark
2004 Fiddler on the Roof Motel Broadway
2005 Modern Orthodox Hershel Ars Nova
Two Gentlemen of Verona Speed Off-Broadway
2006 Cul-de-sac Joe Transport Group
2007 The Front Page Mr. Pincus Williamstown Theatre Festival
2009 Minsky's Jason The Ahmanson
The Mystery of Irma Vep Lord Edgar The Old Globe Theatre
2011 Much Ado About Nothing Dogberry
The Tempest Trinculo
2015 Love/Sick Various Off-Broadway
Something Rotten! Nigel Bottom Broadway
2016 Picnic Howard Transport Group
Come Back, Little Sheba Postman/Milkman/Messenger Transport Group
The Band's Visit Itzik Atlantic Theater Company
2017 The Band's Visit Itzik Broadway
2019 The Music Man Marcellus Washburn The Kennedy Center
2021 Caroline, or Change Stuart Gellman Broadway

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2004 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Fiddler on the Roof Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Won
2015 Something Rotten! Nominated
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Something Rotten! Nominated
2019 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program (with the cast of The Band's Visit) The Band's Visit Won

Playwriting bibliography

Year Title
2004 Almost, Maine
2006 cul-de-sac
2010 Last Gas
2012 Love/Sick


  1. ^ Considine, Basil (30 September 2017). "Actor-playwright John Cariani on The Band's Visit, The Final Frontier, and more". Interview. Twin Cities Arts Reader. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  2. ^ Williams, Roger M. (Winter 2012). "One Up on Shakespeare". Amheart Magazine. Amherst College. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Zumbyes alumni". September 28, 2014.
  4. ^ Burns-Fusaro, Nancy (February 2, 2015). "10 questions with playwright John Cariani". The Westerly Sun.
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth; Lefkowitz, David (August 4, 1999). "Abraham and van Patten are couple with no time to lose in It's My Party ...". Playbill.
  6. ^ a b c d "John Cariani Credits", retrieved June 23, 2019
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Cariani Film and TV", retrieved June 23, 2019
  8. ^ "A Romantic Comedy for Guys" The New York Times, March 23, 2008
  9. ^ "Fiddler on the Roof". playbillvault. Archived from the original on 2015-03-12.
  10. ^ Hernandez (May 2, 2004). "Wicked, Wonderful Town, I Am My Own Wife top 2004 Outer Critics Circle awards". Playbill.
  11. ^ "2004 Tony Award Award winners". New York Times. 2004. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Elephant Sighs, retrieved June 23, 2019
  13. ^ "Play 'Elephant Sighs' Written by HPU Professor Ed Simpson Filming in High Point", January 13, 2010
  14. ^ "Cast and Crew". Deliver Us From Evil. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  15. ^ " 'Child of Grace' (2014)", retrieved June 23, 2019
  16. ^ Feinberg, Scott (April 20, 2015). "Tonys: Something Rotten! leads Outer Critics Circle Award nominations". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ "'Hamilton,' 'Fun Home' Cast Recordings Get Grammy Nominations" Hollywood Reporter, 2015
  18. ^ Rickwald, Bethany (May 26, 2016). "Broadway's Something Rotten! announces a new trio of stars".
  19. ^ Picnic transportgroup
  20. ^ Clement, Olivia (November 11, 2016). "The Band's Visit musical begins tonight off-Broadway". Playbill.
  21. ^ Considine, Basil (10 November 2017). "Sensitive, moving, nuanced beauty in The Band's Visit (NYC/Broadway)". Review. Twin Cities Arts Reader. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  22. ^ Tickets
  23. ^ a b c d "Official Site, Almost, Maine". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  24. ^ Rampell, Catherine (October 27, 2014). "Theater censorship is alive and well". Washington Post.
  25. ^ "Almost, Maine". Transport Group.
  26. ^ "New York Theater 2014". The Advocate.
  27. ^ Gans, Andrew (February 25, 2014). "Transport Group's Almost, Maine will be taped for archives; One scene will be filmed two ways". Playbill.
  28. ^ BWW News Desk. "The Addams Family, Almost, Maine are most-produced high school shows for 2016–2017". Broadway World. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  29. ^ BWW News Desk. "ALMOST, MAINE Novel Adaptation Will Be Released in March 2020". Retrieved 2020-03-05.
  30. ^ "cul-de-sac". transportgroup.
  31. ^ Horn, Miriam (May 3, 2006). "cul-de-sac: A study in suburban doldrums". Review. The New York Times.
  32. ^ Viagas, Robert (October 5, 2016). "Almost, Maine author John Cariani revises 'Cul-de-sac' for NY revival". Playbill.
  33. ^ Considine, Basil (30 September 2017). "Actor-playwright John Cariani on The Band's Visit, The Final Frontier, and more". Interview. Twin Cities Arts Reader. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  34. ^ Feeney, Steve (November 7, 2010). "Last Gas a full tank of unfulfilled desires". Theater Review. Portland Press Herald.
  35. ^ Considine, Basil (March 26, 2014). "Playwright John Cariani talks Almost, Maine and Love/Sick".
  36. ^ Morphy, Marcia (January 13, 2014). "Geva's Last Gas an everyday love story". Review. Democrat and Chronicle.
  37. ^ "Talk back to Maine playwright John Cariani". February 6, 2013.
  38. ^ "That Thing Called Love". Press Herald. 2013-03-31.
  39. ^ Clement, Olivia (February 6, 2015). "John Cariani's Love/Sick, co-starring the playwright, begins tonight off-Broadway". Playbill.
  40. ^ Gates, Anita (May 29, 2014). "Love Is Out of This World. Far Out". Interview. New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  41. ^ Rudetsky, Seth (April 17, 2017). "StarsInTheHouse #59 Friday 4/17 at 2PM: Broadway Cast Reunion: Caroline, or Change". Interview. youtube. Event occurs at 23:40. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved April 19, 2020.

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - John Cariani