Cover photo by Joan Marcus

Sweet and Sad

Richard Nelson
Book Item Icon $15.95


SWEET AND SAD is the second play in The Apple Family tetralogy:

All four titles may be purchased as a bundle at 20% off the regular price: THE APPLE FAMILY: SCENES FROM LIFE IN THE COUNTRY


An Apple family brunch stirs up discussions of loss, remembrance and a decade of change.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (3 female, 3 male)
Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“If you see (and you need to) [Richard Nelson’s] soul-stirring new play, SWEET AND SAD, the odds are that you you’ll experience the kind of shivery moments that come when someone articulates ideas that have been lurking in your head, unexpressed and perhaps even unrecognized … Without ever steeping onto a soapbox, SWEET AND SAD ultimately dares to ask questions about our responses to September 11, that we might be afraid to tackle ourselves, even among friends, such as the relative definitions of victim and hero. At the same time Mr Nelson is asking us to consider what role art — and particularly theater — plays in how we assimilate the fears of loss that are always, on some level with us.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“As someone who mostly avoided the memorializing and marmoreal-izing of 9/11, I can think of no better tribute to the dead than this show, with its itchy frustrations with humanity, its deep sympathy for the same, and its absolute refusal to let itself, or us, off easy.” —Scott Brown, New York Magazine

“Brilliant.” —The New Yorker

About the Author


  • Richard Nelson

    Richard Nelson's plays include the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014; Public Theater, 2010 – 2013), NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater, 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre, 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK'S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons, 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 Off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play, RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub). His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar's THE GUARDSMAN (Kennedy Center), Carriere's THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo's ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg's THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais' THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molière's DON JUAN, Ibsen's WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Pirandello's ENRICO IV, Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann's THE SUICIDE. With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol's THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov's DON QUIXOTE. Films: Hyde Park on Hudson, staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), Ethan Frome, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); Sensibility and Sense, staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: The End of a Sentence with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones). Radio Plays include: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, LANGUAGES SPOKEN HERE (Giles Cooper Award), EATING WORDS (Giles Cooper Award), ADVICE TO EASTERN EUROPE, AN AMERICAN WIFE (all BBC).

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/4/2011
Pages 96
ISBN 9780881455182

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

SWEET AND SAD was commissioned by the Public Theater,
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director and Joey Parnes, Interim Executive Director
and received its World Premiere there on September 11, 2011

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Sweet and Sad is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


10/27/2023 – 11/12/2023
Performing Arts Of Woodstock, Inc.
Woodstock, NY

4/16/2021 – 4/25/2021
Florida Gulf Coast University Theatre Program
Ft. Myers, FL

3/3/2016 – 3/13/2016
The Actors' Mission
Rock Springs, WY