Join Us for a Sneak Peek of Half Baked

Playwrights Joe Simonelli and Lori Jean Sigrist to Share Their Experiences Writing This New Comedic Play on February 27

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. (February 26, 2024) – Central Park Players will offer a free sneak peek of the new comedy, “Half Baked,” at Central Park Place in Grand Haven on Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 PM. After attendees see a sneak peek of scenes from the comedy, playwrights Joe Simonelli and Lori Sigrist will engage in a live discussion and field questions about their experiences and the playwriting process.

“Half Baked” will be performed in its entirety on March 8, 9, 15, & 16 at 7:30 PM with a matinee performance on March 17 at 2:30 PM. Central Park Players was the first theatre group to license this new play and will premiere it locally.

The farce is directed by Laurie Strait, and she is supported by assistant director Jerri Slater and producer Jennifer Reeths.

In “Half Baked,” retired brothers Jay and Sonny Allen (played by Ray Ziemelis and Steve Dzwonkowski) move to central Florida with their wives Martha & Veronica (played by Diane Reeths and Melissa Moerland) to open a cafe. 

“When the business starts failing and their nest egg dries up, they take drastic action to try to generate some cash, including baking cannabis into the appetizers to ‘stimulate’ business,” said playwright Joe Simonelli.

“I chose this comedy not only because it’s hilarious, but also because it offered starring roles to my senior peers,” said Strait. “I’m happy to be making my directorial debut with Central Park Players with a cast and crew that includes both new faces and people that I have known for many years and worked with in many roles and organizations.”

There is no charge to attend the sneak peek, and donations are optional. Tickets for the play are $15, with a discounted price of $10 for children, students K-12 and seniors 65 & older. To purchase tickets, visit or call (616) 229-0530.

About Playwright Joe Simonelli

Joe is a prolific playwright whose works get staged regularly throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada. In addition to his latest comedy,  Half Baked, (written with longtime girlfriend and muse Lori Sigrist) Joe has written over 22 full length plays as well as one act’s and one musical comedy titled ROMANCE DOT COM, about internet dating circa 2000. (Joe the book as well as the score and lyrics) His other well known comedies are MEN ARE DOGS and OLD RINGERS! Joe has also written popular dramedies, such as A CHRISTMAS TAIL and A RAINBOW HOLIDAY (also written with Lori Sigrist) as well as three ghost story stage thrillers! Joe was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Fort Myers, Florida.

About Playwright Lori Sigrist

Lori has been involved in every aspect of theatre since the 1980’s.  She has been onstage, backstage and in the tech booth more times than she can count.  Lori has cowritten two plays with the fantastic playwright Joe Simonelli, A RAINBOW HOLIDAY and HALF BAKED.  She also wrote a one act called Ferry Angel, set on the Staten Island Ferry.  Lori is currently the Executive Director Lemon Bay Playhouse located in Sarasota County, Florida.  She lives with Joe Simonelli in Fort Myers, Florida where their lives are centered around theater all the time.

The cast of Central Park Players’ production of Half Baked. From left to right: Karly Carr, Diane Reeths, Nicholas LaMountain, Raimonds Ziemelis, Steve Dzwonkowski, Melissa Moerland, William MacDonald

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