John Cariani

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John Cariani
Cariani in 2022 at the premiere of Enfermo Amor in Mexico City
Born (1969-07-23) July 23, 1969 (age 54)
EducationAmherst College
Occupation(s)Actor, playwright
Known forLaw & Order, Almost, Maine, Fiddler on the Roof, Something Rotten!, The Band's Visit
SpouseJohn Lloyd

John Edward Cariani (born July 23, 1969) is an American actor and playwright. Cariani is best known as the 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. He is also known for his roles in Broadway shows Something Rotten! and The Band's Visit, and for writing Almost, Maine, one of the most produced plays in American high schools.[1]

Early life[edit]

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.


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]

Cariani broke into film and TV in 2000 when he was cast in the independent film,Scotland, PA,[6] opposite Christopher Walken and guest-starred on the TV series Ed [7]

In 2001, he landed his first major film role opposite Robert De Niro in the Warner Brothers' film Showtime (2002)[6]

In 2002, he joined the cast of Law & Order, playing the role of forensic expert Julian Beck from 2002 to 2007.[8]

Since then, he has appeared in several TV shows, films, plays and musicals, both on and off-Broadway, and in regional theaters across the country.


As playwright, Cariani is best known for his first play, Almost, Maine, which was developed at the Cape Cod Theatre Project in 2002.[9] It premiered at Portland Stage Company (in Portland, Maine) in 2004.[10] Almost, Maine opened Off-Broadway in 2006 [11] and was featured in Smith and Kraus' New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2006."[citation needed]

The play was published by Dramatists Play Service in 2007 [12] and has since become one of the most popular plays in the United States with nearly 100 professional productions and over 5000 community, university, and high school productions to date.[13]

Over the past decade, it has become one of the most frequently produced plays in North American high schools.[10][14][15]

In 2014, Transport Group revived Almost, Maine Off-Broadway to critical acclaim.[16] The Advocate named the production to its "Best Theatre of 2014" list,[17] and Lincoln Center recorded the production for its Theatre on Film and Tape Archive.[18]

Dramatists Play Service recently published its 80th Anniversary Edition, a boxed set of 8 definitive titles representing each decade of the Play Service's history. Almost, Maine was selected to represent DPS' eighth decade.[19]

In 2020, Cariani adapted Almost, Maine into a novel, Almost, Maine: A Novel, published by Macmillan.[20]

Cariani's second play, cul-de-sac premiered Off-Broadway in April 2006 in a Transport Group production.[21] The New York Times described cul-de-sac as "charming, witty and macabre."[22] The play was reworked and presented at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York City) and at High Point University (High Point, NC) in 2016 and received further development at the Cape Cod Theatre Project.[23] It received a professional production at Half Theatre in Poughkeepsie in 2016.

Cariani's third play, Last Gas premiered at Portland Stage Company (Portland, Maine) in 2010.[24] 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."[25] 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 despite its predictable twist."[26] The play ran at Opera House Arts, Stonington Opera House, Maine, in 2013[27] 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,[28] and was produced by Hartford TheaterWorks in 2014. The play ran Off-Broadway in February 2015 at the Royal Family Performing Arts Space.[29] The Huffington Post gave the Off Broadway production a positive review: "Sometimes playwright John Cariani looks at the world — actually the worlds of love and relationships — through rose-colored glasses. Just as often he views those worlds through lenses tinted a middling-to-dark-gray or maybe a jaundiced yellow. … While poking fun at the happily-ever-after notion by means of a strong dose of happily-never-after, Cariani shoots his cockeyed valentines with a quiver full of funny lines. He knows how to keep audiences laughing while passing along disappointing news."[30]

LOVE/SICK has been performed in Riga, Latvia [31] and Mexico City and was recently made into a Spanish language feature called Enfermo Amor on Vix+.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Cariani and his husband John Lloyd, a retired NYPD detective, have been together since 1999 and live in the Bronx.[33][34]


Film roles[edit]

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, 3 episodes
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[edit]

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[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2004 Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Musical Fiddler on the Roof Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Best Featured Actor in a Musical Won
2015 Something Rotten! Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album Nominated
2019 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program The Band's Visit Won
2022 Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album Caroline, or Change Nominated

Playwriting bibliography[edit]

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 "John Cariani Credits", retrieved June 23, 2019
  7. ^ "Cariani Film and TV", retrieved June 23, 2019
  8. ^ "A Romantic Comedy for Guys" The New York Times, March 23, 2008
  9. ^ "Cape Cod Theatre Project History 1995-2021"
  10. ^ a b "Almost, Maine Awards-Accolades-Honors"
  11. ^ "Almost, Maine Off-Broadway"
  12. ^ "Almost, Maine John Cariani"
  13. ^ "Almost, Maine About The Play"
  14. ^ "Official Site, Almost, Maine". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  15. ^ Rampell, Catherine (October 27, 2014). "Theater censorship is alive and well". Washington Post.
  16. ^ "Almost, Maine". Transport Group.
  17. ^ "New York Theater 2014". The Advocate.
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew (February 25, 2014). "Transport Group's Almost, Maine will be taped for archives; One scene will be filmed two ways". Playbill.
  19. ^ "The 80th Anniversary Collection"
  20. ^ "Almost, Maine A Novel"
  21. ^ "cul-de-sac". transportgroup. 20 April 2006.
  22. ^ Horn, Miriam (May 3, 2006). "cul-de-sac: A study in suburban doldrums". Review. The New York Times.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Feeney, Steve (November 7, 2010). "Last Gas a full tank of unfulfilled desires". Theater Review. Portland Press Herald.
  25. ^ Considine, Basil (March 26, 2014). "Playwright John Cariani talks Almost, Maine and Love/Sick".
  26. ^ Morphy, Marcia (January 13, 2014). "Geva's Last Gas an everyday love story". Review. Democrat and Chronicle.
  27. ^ "Talk back to Maine playwright John Cariani". February 6, 2013.
  28. ^ "That Thing Called Love". Press Herald. 2013-03-31.
  29. ^ Clement, Olivia (February 6, 2015). "John Cariani's Love/Sick, co-starring the playwright, begins tonight off-Broadway". Playbill.
  30. ^ "First Nighter: John Cariani's Love/Sick"
  31. ^ "Chekhov Theatre"
  32. ^ "Tráiler: Enfermo amor"
  33. ^ Gates, Anita (May 29, 2014). "Love Is Out of This World. Far Out". Interview. New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  34. ^ 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.

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