PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Backstage at Richard Nelson's Apple Family Plays With Stephen Kunken

By Matthew Blank
19 Nov 2013

Stephen Kunken appears in Richard Nelson's politically anchored four-play series about a liberal American family, playing in repertory at The Public Theater.





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The beautiful new Public Theater lobby! The quiet before the meet and greet storm.
Photo by Stephen Kunken



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Presented as part of Nelson's Apple Family Plays, Regular Singing will open on Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Each play in the series has opened on the date on which it is set.

The Apple Family Plays: Scenes from Life in the Country will continue through Dec. 15. The repertory engagement began previews Oct. 22.

The three preceding plays, That Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad and Sorry, premiered at the Public in recent seasons. Each play is tethered to a moment in American politics.

Several original cast members from the Public Theater premieres return 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 are 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.

For tickets and further information phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater.

The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.