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THE GABRIELS: Election Year in the Life of One Family Play Two: WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

September 10 - October 9

Click here for Play Three:
Women of a Certain Age

LuEsther Theater

Member tickets:
September 10 - September 15: $25
September 17-October 2: $35

Non-Member tickets: starts at $65 + fees

Running time: Approximately 1 hr & 40 minutes with no intermission

See the complete 2016-17 Season!

A TRIUMPH! Every performance GLOWS. A MAP OF HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES. – The New York Times

DELIGHTFUL & COMPELLING! RICHARD NELSON is challenging the idea of what political theater can be.
 – New York Magazine

 Tony winning writer and director Richard Nelson (The Apple Family Plays, James Joyce’s The Dead) returns to The Public this fall with the second play in his new three-play cycle, The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family.

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? brings us back to the kitchen of the Gabriel family, with the country now in the midst of the general election for President. In the course of one evening in the house they grew up in, history (both theirs and our country's), money, politics, family, art and culture are chopped up and mixed together, while a meal is made around the kitchen table.

headshot bar
From left: Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Amy Warren 

Spend a day with The Gabriels! Marathon performances of all three shows in this acclaimed trilogy will run in repertory on Saturday, December 10; Sunday, December 11; Wednesday, December 14; Saturday, December 17; and Sunday, December 18. Tickets for the marathon performances will be available at a later date.


If you are new, or perhaps returning to Richard Nelson’s Gabriel Family this season for WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? or WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, you may find yourself at some point asking a question we have received from our patrons.

Why don’t the actors speak up?

We asked Richard to respond directly to this question so that you have a firsthand understanding of his artistic intent:

“Why don’t the actors speak up?” 
 It has long been assumed that it was the actors’ job to ‘project’ their voices out to the very back row of a theater. To achieve this, actors found ‘sweet spots’ on stage; and of course found it helpful to face directly out to the audience.  The effect of this, of course, was that the play was being "shown" or "presented” to an audience, who could then sit happily back and watch it.

With The Gabriels, as with my previous series The Apple Family plays, I am trying to create something else: an intimate world of very human conversations that you will want to lean forward to witness and overhear, as if you were watching and listening through a half opened window or keyhole.  My hope is that with these plays, you will want to actively participate, by leaning in and actively listen.  I hope you enjoy the plays and I look forward to seeing you at The Public.” 

As with all Public Theater productions, even if you have slight hearing impairments, there are Audio Listening Devices available for your use.  These devices are available on a first come, first served basis and can be picked up in the lobby of the Public beginning thirty minutes before the show, while supplies last.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

The Gabriel plays are supported by a Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

All orders subject to $5 per ticket service fee and $2 per ticket facility fee. Service fees are waived when you buy in person at the Box Office. All fees are waived for Public Theater Members and Partners. Plays, titles, actors, directors, and performance dates and times are subject to change.

World Premiere Three-Play Cycle
THE GABRIELS: Election Year in the Life of One Family

Written and Directed by Richard Nelson
Featuring Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Amy Warren

Scenic Designers Susan Hilferty and Jason Ardizzone-West
Costume Designer Susan Hilferty
Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton
Sound Designers Scott Lehrer and Will Pickens
Production Stage Manager Theresa Flanagan