“Over the River and Through the Woods,” a raucous, warm-hearted comedy from Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro (“Memphis,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”) will be the first production of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2022-2023 season, opening October 20 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through November 6.
Set inside a suburban house in the not-too-distant past, “Over the River and Through the Woods” puts to the test the concept of “tengo familia” – an Italian phrase connoting the importance of “keeping family first” – through the eyes and opinions of two sets of doting Italian-American grandparents and their beloved, if restless, 29-year-old grandson.
Nick Cristano may be living the life of a single young professional in NYC, but his four grandparents – Frank and Aida Gianelli, and Nunzio and Emma Cristano – never let him forget where he belongs: in New Jersey with them, in the bosom of a tenacious, tender-hearted, loud, and well-fed family. The comfy status quo is upended when Nick announces that he has been offered a big promotion … in Seattle. This bombshell revelation leads his grandparents to hatch a code-red plan to map out an irresistible alternate future designed to keep Nick close to home. At the center of this scheme is Caitlin, a surprise dinner guest who might just turn the tables in the elders’ favor.
A boisterously funny and touching story about intergenerational relationships, deep familial love, and the inevitable little heartbreaks that occur as time passes and children grow, “Over the River and Through the Woods” played 800 performances at the John Houseman Theatre in New York from 1998-2000. The play was lauded by BackStage as “a hilarious family comedy that is even funnier than [DiPietro’s] ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.’” The Star-Ledger wrote that the play is “loaded with laughs every step of the way,” with YourObserver.com calling it “a crowd-pleasing night of theater.”
The HTC production of “Over the River and Through the Woods” features a spirited ensemble cast of six, including three HTC veterans: George A. Loizides (“On Golden Pond,” “Alarms & Excursions”) as Nunzio, Catherine Maloney (“Sylvia,” “A Comedy of Tenors”) as Emma, and Patrick Osborne (“The Foreigner”) as Nick. Newcomers to the HTC include Amelia Chiaramonte as Aida, Carl DiModugno as Frank, and Meg Hrinkevich as Caitlin.
In addition to acting in the play, George Loizides (“A Doll’s House, Part 2,” “Native Gardens,” “Private Lives”) directs, with Roger Moley co-directing. Set design is by Mr. Loizides; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; sound by Seamus Naughton; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
“Over the River and Through the Woods” will be performed from October 20 through November 6 on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 2:30. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, November 5, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. A talkback with the cast will be offered to ticketholders immediately following the Friday, October 28, evening performance.
Tickets are $36, $31 for seniors, and $20 for students 25 and under, and are available at the Hampton Theatre Company website at hamptontheatre.org or by calling 631-653-8955. A discounted season-subscription offer, applied to all three HTC productions in 2022-2023 at a savings of up to 20%, is also available through the theatre website or phone number.