Dinner With Friends

Dinner With Friends closes Off-Broadway


Dinner With Friends, the second production at the Laura Pels Theatre in our 2013-2014 Season brought Donald Margulies’ Pultizer Prize-winning play back to the New York stage. This production played a total of 99 performances from first preview on January 17 through closing night on April 13.

Family photo of the cast and crew of Dinner With Friends. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

We welcomed back actors Darren Pettie and Marin Hinkle back to the Roundabout stage. Darren last appeared at Roundabout in 2011’s The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and Marin appeared in our 1996 production of A Thousand Clowns. Jeremy Shamos who has joined us for in-house and donor playreadings took to the Roundabout stage for his first full production and Heather Burns and director Pam MacKinnon joined us for the first time.

Darren Pettie, Heather Burns, Jeremy Shamos & Marin Hinkle in Dinner With Friends. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Dinner With Friends, directed by Tony winner Pam MacKinnon received rave reviews from New York Magazine, The New York Times and Time Out New York. Audience members praised the “thought-provoking writing” and “seamless, heartfelt performances."

We filmed a dinner conversation about the show between Artistic Director Todd Haimes, director Pam MacKinnon and playwright Donald Margulies. Moderated by NY1's Theater Critic, Roma Torre the discussion included questions posed by you on Facebook. Watch the complete video series below.


Education at Roundabout provided weekly pre-show talks with historical and biographical information about Dinner With Friends and the artists involved. At each post-show talk the entire cast came out to share stories and answer audience questions. Our Dinner With Friends Upstage Guide contains artist interviews and dramaturgical information such as notable marriage-centric plays from the last hundred years and the thread of food throughout the production.

To learn more about Dinner With Friends, visit the Roundabout Archive or watch clips on our YouTube Channel.

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Dinner with Friends: Theatre and Food


In Donald Margulies' play, Dinner with Friends, one of the couples, Gabe and Karen, are food writers who start the show by recounting their experience in Italy with a seasoned cook. They respond to not just the food, but to the specific details and emotions behind each step the woman teaching them took.

In the play food or drink is mentioned in almost every scene, and the thread of food through the production highlights the complexity of flavors in a romantic relationship. Some say that Gabe and Karen’s search for perfection in the taste and appearance of their food reflects their search for the ideal marriage.

You can find some of the delicious recipes mentioned in the play below.


Pumpkin Risotto and Grilled Lamb
From Epicurious
Serves 2

Photo from


For the Risotto:

1 onion finely chopped

600g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes

150g of Parmesan or Gruyere Cheese

300g (1cup) Arborio rice (risotto rice)

150ml (small glass) of Italian dry white wine

1 vegetable stock cube (in 500ml of hot water)

Fresh Rosemary and thyme

Rocket (Rucola)

2 table spoon butter

Olive oil

Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the lamb:

3-bone rack of lamb per person

Red wine

1 crushed clove of garlic

Fresh Rosemary and thyme

Olive oil

Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper




Pumpkin purée - Cook 300g of the pumpkin cubes with a little bit of water for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are soft enough to make a purée (don’t use too much water, you don’t want water just the pumpkin to make your purée). Put in a blender for 1 minute until you have the purée.

Roasted pumpkin – roast the rest of the pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper and the rosemary and thyme for about 5 minutes. Keep this and the purée aside for a moment.

Now you are ready to cook the risotto, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and fry for about 2 minutes in a medium heat and then add the rice, sauté it for more 2 minutes or until they look translucent (not browned).

Pour in the wine and let it bubble up for some moment and then add the pumpkin purée and about two ladles of stock, add some salt and pepper and let it cook in a medium heat for 15 minutes (that will depend on the rice you are using).

Now add the roasted pumpkin the parmesan or gruyere cheese and some rocket (rucola) leaves and cook for more 5 minutes, adding more stock as needed until the rice is tender and creamy. Season to taste and serve.

Rack of Lamb:

Stand the racks of lamb in a china, scatter the garlic thyme and rosemary over the top, and add in some salt and pepper and a little bit of red wine. Leave to marinate for at least 4 hours (or overnight if you have the time).

Heat the olive oil in a frying oven proof pan and gently roast all the sides of the rack for 3 to 5 minutes, until you give some color to the meat.

Bring the pan to a pre-heated oven (200°C) for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the racks). Use your fingers to feel if the meat is rare or well done.

Bring the pan back to the stove and roast until you have the desired golden color outside. Carve into cutlets and serve.


Home-made Macaroni and Cheese (for the kids)
From Bev at
Serves 6

Photo by Caroline Cooks.


2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 1/2 cups milk

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

8 ounces dry elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions







Melt butter in medium saucepan.

Stir in flour, salt, mustard and pepper until smooth.

Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk until smooth.

Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened (about 10 minutes).

Remove from heat.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted.

Combine cheese mixture with macaroni in greased 2 quart casserole.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Gabe and Karen’s Polenta Almond Lemon Cake Recipe
Serves 10


2 cups unsalted butter, softened

2 cups caster sugar

2 cups ground almonds

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 eggs

1 cup polenta flour

1 cup lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt





Pre-heat oven to 370F.

Beat together butter and sugar until pale and light.

Stir in ground almonds and vanilla.

Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Fold in lemon zest, lemon juice, polenta flour, baking powder, and salt.

Spoon batter into a butter and floured 12 inch round cake tin.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until top is deep golden brown.


Dinner with Friends plays at the Laura Pels Theatre through April 13. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

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Marriage on Stage


Dinner with Friends offers an intimate view of two marriages and four friendships, examining the loyalties, fears, passions, and habits that keep couples and friends together. Marriage is a popular onstage subject, the backbone for many of the last century’s most iconic plays. Domestic drama as we know it today may be traced back to Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House. The play, which follows an unequal and eventually unsustainable marriage, was a radical critique of 19th-century marriage norms and set the stage for the realistic plays (many of them domestic) of the 20th century. Below are a few examples of notable marriage-centric plays from the last hundred years. Whether funny or heartbreaking, they are inherently, undoubtedly dramatic.


1930: Private Lives by Noël Coward

Five years after their divorce, Elyot and Amanda have moved on and married new partners. When the play begins, both couples are on honeymoon. They quickly realize they are staying in the same hotel—in rooms with an adjoining terrace. They rekindle their romance but soon fall into old patterns.


Poster from the 1968 revival of Private Lives, featuring Al Hirschfeld's drawing of the playwright, Noël Coward.


1962: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

A middle-aged couple, George and Martha, come home drunk after a university faculty party. A younger couple, Nick and Honey, stop by for a late drink, and the night dissolves as George and Martha viciously argue, using their new acquaintances as weapons in their fight.


1963: Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon

Corie and Paul Bratter have just gotten married and are moving in together for the first time. The comedy traces the first days in their new apartment as they renegotiate the balance of their relationship in suddenly close quarters.


1978: Betrayal by Harold Pinter

In reverse-chronological order, the play follows the marriage of Emma and Robert and the long affair between Emma and Robert’s friend, Jerry. Though Robert and Emma have spoken of the infidelity, Emma lets Jerry believe the affair is a secret. Their relationship continues for years, with Emma deceiving her lover even as he believes he is deceiving her husband.

Opening night of Roundabout's production of 'Betrayal' (2001). Photograph featuring Liev Schreiber, Juliette Binoche, John Slattery and Director David Leveaux.


1982: The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard

Life imitates art: Henry has just written a play about the breakup of a marriage that features his wife, Charlotte, as the leading actress. Meanwhile, in real life, Henry is having an affair with their mutual friend Annie, who is also married. When word gets out, Charlotte and Henry divorce, and Annie and Henry get married. Two years later, pettiness and infidelity have begun to plague Annie and Henry’s relationship, and they must decide if their history of failed marriage will repeat itself.

... Read More →

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