Hudson Theatre Works presents Pulitzer Prize Winner Sam Shepard’s “Curse of the Starving Class”

“I’m going into crime. It’s the only thing that pays these days.”

The Tate family is in serious trouble. Parents Ella and Weston are cornered and feuding, each struggling at cross-purposes to unload the family’s homestead and get out from under crushing debt. Meanwhile, their raucous and unpredictable teenage kids Emma and Wesley fight to scratch out an existence of their own. Violent creditors are at the door, swindlers are all around, and everyone is hungry, both physically and spiritually.

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At turns harrowing, hilarious, ritualistic, and surreal, CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS digs deeply into the psyche of a desperate family fighting to stay alive. Its portrayal of the ambitions and heartache of the working poor is as affecting now as it was more than forty years ago.

Winner of the 1977 Obie Award for Best New American play, it is the earliest of Shepard’s renowned cycle of family tragicomedies, which also include fellow modern classics BURIED CHILD and TRUE WEST. CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS is directed by Artistic Director Frank Licato with sets by Gregory Erbach, Lighting by Tyler Hieb, original music and sound by Donald Stark, Costumes by Ann Lowe and Stage Management by Dawn D’Arrigo.

CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS features a powerhouse cast of Hudson Theatre Works’
favorites: Kevin Cristaldi as Weston, Quinn Cassavale as Ella, Tony Knotts as Wesley, Augusta McMahon as Emma, Beatriz Esteban-Messina as Malcolm, Marc Tanis as Taylor/Emerson and Michael Giorgio as Ellis/Slater.

Kevin Cristaldi as Weston – Photo by Chase Newhart
Quinn Cassavale as Ella – Photo by Chase Newhart


Sam Shepard ranks as one of America’s most celebrated dramatists. He wrote nearly 50 plays and his work has been produced across the nation, in venues ranging from Greenwich Village coffee shops to regional, professional and community theatres, from college campuses to commercial Broadway houses. His plays are regularly anthologized, and theatre professors teach Sam Shepard as a canonical American author.

Outside of his stage work, he achieved fame as an actor, writer, and director in the film industry. With a career that spanned nearly 40 years, Sam Shepard gained the critical regard, media attention, and iconic status enjoyed by only a rare few in American theatre. Throughout his career Shepard amassed numerous grants, prizes, fellowships, and awards, including the Cannes Palme d’Or and the Pulitzer Prize.

Hudson Theatre Works is committed to low ticket prices, including “pay what you can,” Thursday’s, so everyone can enjoy live theatre. It celebrates ensemble collaboration as well as artistic risk through its permanent company, guest artists, partner institutions and the surrounding community. It is dedicated to a rugged aesthetic which seeks to tell stories, both new and old, classic and contemporary, that reflect our lives, relationships and the world today. Hudson Theatre Works’ primary focus is on bringing a living theatre community to Hudson County, and the wider metropolitan area through performance, affordable pricing, outreach and theatre arts instruction. Hudson Theatre works is a professional Equity company and a proud member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

The theatre requires that all audience members wear masks and show proof of vaccination. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Tickets available at:

The show runs for about 2 hours.

The details

May 6 – May 22, Thursday thru Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m at Theatre at the Wilson School, 80 Hauxhurst Avenue, Weehawken. Tickets are $25/$15 Seniors/Students. Thursday’s are pay what you can! Tickets are available at

The season is supported by New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Actor’s Equity, UBS Financial, Univest Foundation, Walmart, Princeton Area Community Foundation, New Jersey Arts and Culture Relief Fund, New Jersey Economic Development Agency, US Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, and Mayor Richard Turner and the Township of Weehawken.