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Into The Rabbit Hole

By Gary Wien

originally published: 03/27/2017

Into The Rabbit Hole

There are few things worse than the death of a child.  One family’s struggle with dealing with and overcoming their grief is the foundation of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire.  The Pulitzer-Prize winning play is being performed by The Company Theatre Group in April.

In the play, a series of complex characters deal with the death of Danny, a 4 year-old boy, in their own way.  The situation threatens to destroy the relationship of the boy’s parents.  Meanwhile, Jason, the boy who accidentally killed Danny with his car, tries to offer a ray of hope with an intriguing concept:  What if you could travel through a rabbit hole like Alice to another time, place, and circumstance where your son was still alive?

“How do you move on after a tragedy like that?” wonders Louis Scarpati, the Managing Artistic Director of The Company Theatre Group who will direct the production. “How do you get your life back together?”

Previous incarnations of the play have focused on the grief, but Scarpati wants the hope to shine through.  It’s the idea that people can find a way to move on; that it is a sad story, but one which explores the complex human condition of grief while offering something more.

The emotional ride of Rabbit Hole forces the director and cast to navigate a balance between telling the story and avoiding the production to become too morbid for the audience to watch. 

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“It’s not a morbid piece,” explained Scarpati.  “There is hope.  It’s a journey for each of the major characters from the beginning where it’s complete and utter loss to how they each get themselves back to living their lives.  It’s a sad story.  The death of a child is always a sad story.  It’s the actors’ job and my job to bring it out of them.  To get the message behind the story, navigate, and keep the right balance because you don’t want people to leave at intermission due to the story being too devastating.”

In a world in which there are few plays with great roles for women, Rabbit Hole is the exception.  There are three wonderful female characters in this play — Becca (the mother of Danny), Izzy (Becca’s sister), and Nat (the mother of Becca and Izzy).  In the original Broadway production, Cynthia Nixon won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Becca.  In addition, Tyne Daly was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Nat.  The play itself was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, losing to The History Boys by Alan Bennett.

The Company’s cast includes: Andrea Prendamano (Becca), Larry Kadish (Howie), Jenny Robbins (Izzy), Elizabeth Nicholas Synnott (Nat), and James Van Nostrand (Jason).  

The Company Theatre Group currently presents its shows at the Hackensack Cultural Center, but will soon have a new space.  In fact, they hope to have their next production in September be presented in the new Hackensack Performing Arts Center - a much larger and more modern space, which is part of the city’s downtown redevelopment.

The theatre group was founded in the summer of 2007 and is one of the newest members of the prestigious New Jersey Theatre Alliance.  The Company’s goal is to create an environment and an experience where each audience member can feel like a ‘fly on the wall’, watching the lives and events of real people unfold and sometimes unravel right before their eyes.  Rabbit Hole is a perfect example of their mission.

“Everybody can relate to this kind of story,” said Scarpati.  “It’s ripped right out of the headlines.  There’s a real life incident like this every day of the week.  Our job is to bring that forth truthfully while, at the same time, not making it too far over the cliff so there’s no turning back.  That’s what we pride ourselves on doing.  This one’s a challenge.  I think we’re up for it.”

Into The Rabbit Hole

April 21-30 at Hackensack Cultural Arts Center

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Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm


Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm


Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ Mainebiz Health Care Forum, Newyork - 8:00pm

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