FLASH FRIDAY: When Richard Nelson Introduced The Apples of THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING

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American political drama had rarely been so Chekhovian as when playwright/director Richard Nelson first introduced Public Theater playgoers to the Apple family of Rhinebeck, New York.

Breaking with current theatre practices, critics were not permitted to see THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, named for a sarcastic jab at President Barack Obama by Sarah Palin, until its Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 opening night. It was a night of a mid-term election and the date when the play took place.

At least one critic thought the voting results might be incorporated into the evening, but instead audiences were treated to an insightful dinnertime family discussion by three adult sisters, a brother and their ailing uncle. The superb cast included Jon DeVries, Stephen Kunken, Sally Murphy, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins and Jay O. Sanders.

Tonight, Richard Nelson introduces playgoers to a new Rhinebeck family, the Gabriels, as HUNGRY opens at The Public. It's the first of an election year trilogy and like the Apple plays, this one is set on the day of its opening, March 4th, 2016. Is there any special significance for today? We'll find out soon.Three more Apple plays followed, all opening on the day they were set: SWEET AND SAD on the 1oth Anniversary of 9/11, SORRY on Election Day 2012 and REGULAR SINGING on the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assassination.

In the meantime, enjoy a backwards glimpse at THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING.

In 2013, The Public proudly presented all four of the critically acclaimed The Apple Family Plays, a dramatic triumph The New York Times called, "a rare and radiant mirror of the way we live."

This season, Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to The Public with HUNGRY, the first in a new three-play cycle introducing us to the Gabriels of Rhinebeck, New York. These three plays unfold in real time and track the lives of the Gabriels throughout the coming presidential election year.

To the rhythm of peeling, chopping and mixing, HUNGRY places us in the center of the Gabriel's kitchen. The family discusses their lives and disappointments, and the world at large and nearby. As they struggle against the fear of being left behind, the family attempts to find resilience in the face of loss.

Tickets to Play Two and Play Three will go on sale at a later date.

This work was supported by a Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative grant from the DORIS DUKE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION. Additional support for HUNGRY provided by THE EDGERTON FOUNDATION and THE BLANCHE & IRVING LAURIE FOUNDATION.

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From This Author Michael Dale