This wonderfully intimate drama, set on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, unfolds in the Apple home in Rhinebeck, New York as the family shares a monumental evening together, one that is both unique and familiar to us all.— “A rare and radiant mirror of the way we live – and fail to live – now“ Ben Brantley, New York Times.
* Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under Special Appearance Contract.
Photos courtesy of Bob Tucker/Focalpoint Studio.
Exemplary acting drives Cape Rep’s ‘Regular Singing’
“To a person, the acting is nothing short of exemplary. The ensemble works seamlessly, as if they have been acting together forever.” –, Cape Cod Times
Cape Rep Theatre opens season with drama ‘Regular Singing’
“…this kind of a play requires the finest ensemble cast, and the Rep has found the right mix.” –, The Barnstable Patriot
Theater review: Cape Rep’s ‘Regular Singing’
“…director Julie Allen Hamilton and her cast mine the best lines so they resonate long after the show is over.” –, The Cape Codder
Behind the Scenes
About the playwright
Richard Nelson (October 17, 1950 – ) is one of America’s most respected and prolific playwrights. He was born in Chicago, brought up in Gary, Indiana, Philadelphia and the suburbs of Detroit. He graduated from Hamilton College, married in 1972 and has two daughters.
He developed an artistic home at the Royal Shakespeare Co., which produced ten of his plays between 1989 and 2003 and also with Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center and the Public Theatre in New York City. Nelson was chair of the Playwriting Department at Yale School of Drams from 2005-2008. He now lives in Rhinebeck, NY, the setting of both the Apple Family Plays and The Gabriel Family Plays.
Bestowed with many prestigious awards in his career, Nelson received the Olivier Award for Best Play for Goodnight Children Everywhere (1999), and the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for James Joyce’s The Dead which he also directed (2000). In 2008, Nelson was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Grand Master of American Theater.
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of the Public Theater in New York City, approached Nelson in 2009 to write what he termed, “a large scale public issue play.” Nelson returned with a proposal to write three plays based on the lives of a family in Rhinebeck, NY, each play opening on the date of national significance. The dates chosen were November 2, 2010, the date of the midterm elections, and titled That Hopey Changy Thing; September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and titled Sweet and Sad; and November 6, 2012, presidential election day, and titled Sorry. The fourth play, conceived later, was set on November 22, 2013, the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK, and is Regular Singing. All 4 plays were collectively entitled The Apple Family, Scenes From Life in the Country.
Success prompted a second 3-play commission from the Public Theater, The Gabriels, The Election Year in the Life of One Family: Hungry, What Did You Expect?, and Women of a Certain Age. All three plays take place in the election cycle of 2016, the final play opening on election day, November 6, 2016.
Both play cycles were a huge success with both audience and critics and resulted in a remounting, at the Public Theatre and subsequently at other regional theaters of the plays in repertory or in marathon fashion to experience the complete cycle.
Nelson stated in his notes to the Apple Family Plays, “My ambition remains much simpler: to put the most complex, complicated people I can on stage and to let them talk about their country today.” Nelson also directed both family cycles and utilized an ensemble of actors that remained relatively unchanged for all. This allowed changes and rewriting and ensemble work contributions to the story right up to opening night. For the audience, the experience is intimate, in the moment and as about as shared an experience as one can achieve.
Oskar Eustis has written, “The Apple Family plays model not only a different kind of drama, but a different idea of humanity; one based not on conflict but on collegiality, not on achievement but on being; not on selfishness, but on listening, and love.”
Quotes from Oskar Eustis and Richard Nelson are form: Nelson, Richard. The Apple Family: Scenes from Life in the Country Theatre Communications Group, 2014.