Avon Players presents ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’

A startling discovery is but the first step on a path of life-altering exploration

A best-selling novel turned much-lauded play will give audience members puzzles to ponder as Avon Players presents The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time running January 19-February 3 in Rochester, Mich.

Fifteen-year-old Christopher (Robert Carrigan) has an extraordinary brain: He is exceptional at mathematics but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. Christopher’s ordered existence is disrupted when he discovers his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork. Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery. His father, Ed (Luigi Murri), is a loving but overwhelmed single parent barely balancing the challenges of his job as a boiler engineer and caring for his neurodivergent son. Despite his father’s protests, Christopher carefully catalogs every detail of the baffling crime, but his detective work is just the beginning of a thrilling journey that will broaden his horizons and upturn his rigid world. Siobhan (Caitlin O’Brien), a para-professional at Christopher’s school is his ally and confidante on this transformative journey. 

From L to R: Robert Carrigan as “Christopher” and Luigi Murri as “Ed.” Photo Credit: Bryan Clifford

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is adapted by playwright Simon Stephens from the best-selling novel of the same name by Mark Hadden. The book received wide praise both for its potent mystery and its unique point of view, told in the first person by a young character on the autism spectrum. The play, inventively directed by Marianne Elliott (who also directed the innovative stage play War Horse), debuted in 2012 at the Royal National Theatre before transferring to the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End. Its West End run earned seven Olivier Awards—a record number of awards at the time—including Best New Play. The play began its Broadway run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on October 5, 2014. It earned many awards including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Project, and Tony Award for Best Play.

Director Lia DiFonzo first experienced The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time reading the novel for a book club. Soon after she read the adapted script at the recommendation of a friend and was struck by how unlike other plays it was: “It was different and raw with humor that comes from a darkly realistic place that fits my own sensibilities,” she said. DiFonzo, a high school teacher, was also drawn in by the fact that the play centers on a young protagonist with special needs. She was further enticed by the challenges of staging the play, as events are filtered through Christopher’s unconventional worldview. “It’s the actors’ movement rather than scenery that define the boundaries of time and space, combined with technical elements such as lights, sound, and projections to allow us to dwell in Christopher’s mind,” DiFonzo said. According to DiFonzo, all of these unusual elements are in service of a story that will connect with viewers: “I think audiences will love it because it’s unique in its presentation but with a touching story that’s sad and real that makes you appreciate the experience of being human.”

Tickets for all shows are $25. Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at www.AvonPlayers.org.  Discounts on matinee tickets are available for seniors and students; call the box office for details.  Additionally, group rates are available by calling the box office. “Like” Avon Players Theatre on Facebook for special offers on tickets. All major credit cards are accepted. All seats are reserved.  Show dates and times follow:

Friday, Jan 19 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan 20 – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Jan 21 – 2:00 p.m.

Friday, Jan 26 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan 27 – 8:00 p.m

Sunday, Jan 28 – 2:00 p.m.

Friday, Feb 2 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Feb 3 – 8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 77th season of bringing quality entertainment to its community. Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965. With ticket prices set at a fraction of those at professional theatre (plus free parking), a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue. This season a trip to Avon Players can feel even more festive as alcohol will be sold at certain performances. And for regular theatre-goers, an affordable outing can be an even better bargain by taking advantage of Avon Players’ season ticket packages, which yield discounts of up to 20% per ticket. Additionally, season ticket holders enjoy priority seating selection and voting privileges in Avon’s annual “Stoney Awards.” Additional information regarding tickets and productions is available by calling the Avon Players box office at 248.608.9077 or by visiting the website: www.AvonPlayers.org.

Cast and Production Staff by Community:


Caroline Dargay (Properties Design

Nicole Mullaly (“Voice 1”)


Robert Carrigan (“Christopher”)


Jonathan Farrell (Costume Design)

New Haven

Lia DiFonzo (Director)


Joy Oetjens (“Judy”)


Aaron Barnes (“Voice 3”)

Caitlin O’Brien (“Siobhan”)

Rochester Hills

Bryan Clifford (Projection Design)

John (JD) Deierlein (Lighting Design)

Liz Hutchinson (“Voice 6”)

John Rutherford (“Voice 4”)

Lisa Schein (Producer)

Royal Oak

Tara Makar (“Voice 5”)

Shelby Township

Luigi Murri (“Ed”)

Mark Palmer (Sound Design)


Jeff Stillman (“Voice 2”)

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