HBO Buys Rights to `Kentucky Cycle'

HBO Pictures has optioned the motion-picture and television rights to Robert Schenkkan's 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "The Kentucky Cycle," it was announced Tuesday by Robert Cooper, the company's senior vice president. The six-hour play, which tells the interlocking stories of three families in the Cumberland Mountains over 200 years, is planned to open on Broadway this fall.

Mr. Schenkkan is adapting his play for HBO Pictures as a miniseries. Schenkkan and Emmy Award-winning producer Stan Margulies ("Separate But Equal," "Roots," "Roots: The Next Generation") are executive producers.

Beginning with ruthless frontier trader Michael Rowen, "The Kentucky Cycle" tells the tale of the blood feud among three families. Their personal stories unfold against a historical backdrop of frontier life, the Civil War, the depredations of the coal-mining years, and modern-day poverty, while celebrating the land that inspired the families' struggle.

The play was originally produced at Seattle's Intiman Theater, and then staged in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum. It is scheduled for a fall opening at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as on Broadway.

"The Kentucky Cycle" was the first play ever to win a Pulitzer Prize before its New York production. It has also won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and the Pen Center West Drama Award, and was at the top of Time magazine's list of "Ten Best Plays of 1992."

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