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Richard Thomas and Pamela Reed on Family in 'The Humans'

Family drama has long been fodder for great storytelling. 

It has everything you need: love, loss, compassion and conflict. 

The 2016 Tony Award-winning play "The Humans" stakes its own ground in this territory by telling the contemporary tale of the Blake family. 

Erik and Deirdre Blake arrive for the Thanksgiving holiday at their daughter's New York City apartment, and from there the play unfolds in real time.  

Actors Richard Thomas, of "Waltons" fame, and Pamela Reed, of "Parks and Recreation," star in the production onstage now at Playhouse Square.

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Richard Thomas and Pamela Reed

Emmy-winner Thomas has great respect for the playwright Stephen Karam.

"The fact that it comes from the pen of a person who was in his mid-30's when he wrote it is just extraordinary to me," he said.

The drama comes from the Blake family's struggles in contemporary America living on the edge of the middle class.

"The play is a real unifier.  The play finds the commonality in American experience.  I think it's really important for that reason," Thomas said.

Reed believes the cast has become a family both onstage and off, which is evident in their pre-show routine just before the curtain goes up.

"We all usually wish each other, [whispering] 'good show, good show, good show, break a leg' and then boom! you start," she said.

For Reed the pre-show is the best part.

"I like to hear the chit chat of the people coming in, getting off their coats, settling in, talking.  There's an enthusiasm about the evening," she said.

The Humans is at the Palace Theater in Playhouse Square through Sunday, April 29.

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