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The Kentucky Cycle

The Kentucky Cycle Playbill cover

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Aspires to nothing less then the history of the U.S…strives for mythic power – and attains it.

Time Magazine


In this series of nine short plays, Robert Schenkkan has created a mesmerizing epic of the Cumberland Plateau and an unblinking look at the truth behind our American mythology. Spanning two centuries, from 1775 to 1975, this is the story of three families — Black, White, and Native American —  whose lives are irrevocably intertwined. From the darker realities of our pioneer heritage to the bloody lessons of the Civil War, from the inspiring battles between Union coal miners and deal-making management to the harsh environmental legacy of strip mining, The Kentucky Cycle chronicles the lives of people who use any means possible to care out a better place for themselves and their families in an often brutal, unpredictable world. It is a compelling and unsentimental look at the men and women who founded this country and a powerful allegory for our times.

Cast Requirements

12 Men (10 White, 2 African-American) & 7 Women (2 African-American, 6 White)

Production History

The Kentucky Cycle was produced by David Richenthal, Gene Korf, Roger L. Stevens, Jennifer Manocherian, Annette Niemtzo, Mark Taper Forum/Intiman Theater Company and the John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in association with Benjamin Mordecai at the Royale Theatre in New York City, on November 14, 1993. It was directed by Warner Shook; the scene design was by Michael Olich; the costume design was by Frances Kenney; the lighting design was by Peter Maradudin; the composer and sound designer was James Raglund; the fight director was Randy Kovitz and the production stage manager was Joan Toggenburger. The ensemble cast included:

Stephen Lee Anderson: Scott MacDonald
John Aylward: Tuck Milligan
Lillian Garrett-Groag: Randy Oglesby
Gail Grate: Patrick Page
Michael Hartman: Jeanne Paulsen
Katherine Hiler: Susan Pellegrino
Ronald Hippe: James Ragland
Gregory Itzin: Jennifer Rohn
Stacy Keach: Novel Sholars
Ronald William Lawrence: Lee Simon, Jr.
Philip Lehl