Set in 1921, the Pitman family of Manard, North Carolina is led by the seventy-five-year-old Benjamin Pitman, a successful owner of the town's general store. He has recently brought about the marriage of one son, Avery, to a young woman, Leena, and has himself married a younger woman, Barbara. He means to get his other son, Shelby, married too, as insurance for the future. Shelby chooses Judy Musgrove, the daughter of a poor farming family, who also sing and dance for hire. Judy and Shelby have a baby, ensuring the continuance of the family line, but Shelby's learned apathy and greed commence a series of misdeeds which bring shame to the Pitman family. As time goes on, the whole family is slowly drawn under the influence of the increasingly dominating Leena Pitman, whose financial schemes clash with the values of some of the others, until a final catastrophe occurs. The play is filled with Appalachian music, sung a cappella by Judy and her mother and father.
This Appalachian tale weaves music through the sad yet uplifting battle between morality and greed and life and compassion. "As…UNCHANGING LOVE gives testimony, [Linney] is one of the finest writers working in the American Theatre today." —Drama-Logue. "…Mr. Linney continues to be a poet of America's heartland." —NY Times. "…Linney's characters, like Chekhov's,…have the ethical complexity of real people…" —The Nation. "UNCHANGING LOVE reasserts Linney's standing as a playwright of uncommon humanity and humor…The dialogue is always at the service of his characters…" —NY Newsday.