The plays were filmed in December 2013 following a repertory engagement at the Public Theater. The four plays in the series include Regular Singing, That Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad and Sorry, each of which premiered at the Public in recent seasons. All four plays, which are tethered to moments in American politics, premiered on the night on which the action is set.
Each play will air at 10 PM. The schedule follows: That Hopey Changey Thing Oct. 16; Sweet and Sad Oct. 23; Sorry Oct. 30; and Regular Singing Nov. 6. Repeat broadcasts will take place Sunday evenings following "Masterpiece."
Playwright Nelson also directed the plays, which star several original cast members from the Public Theater premieres, who returned for the repertory engagement. They include Tony Award winner Maryann Plunkett (Me and My Girl, A Man for All Seasons), as well as Jon DeVries (August: Osage County), Laila Robins (Heartbreak House) and Jay O. Sanders (A Midsummer Night's Dream). Newly added to the cast were Stephen Kunken (Enron, High) and Sally Murphy (Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof).
According to the Public, "The compelling plays are about family, politics, change, and the way we live today. They resonate with remarkable immediacy and relevance. Each of these plays originally premiered on the night on which it is set. In The Hopey Changey Thing, the Apples reflect on the state of their family and discuss memory, manners and politics as polls close on mid-term election night 2010 and a groundswell of conservative sentiment flips Congress on its head. In Sweet and Sad, a family brunch stirs up discussions of loss, remembrance and a decade of change. And Sorry, which premiered last fall, finds the Apples sorting through family anxieties and confusion on the day of electing the President."
The Apple Family Plays have scenic and costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Jennifer Tipton and sound design by Scott Lehrer and Will Pickens. Nelson is the Tony Award-winning playwright/adaptor of James Joyce's The Dead. His works also include Two Shakespearean Actors, Farewell to the Theatre, Conversations in Tusculum, as well as Nikolai and the Others. He wrote the book and lyrics and directed the musical My Life with Albertine and also penned the book for the musical Chess.
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