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Family ties

For Jennifer Gurney, growing up with a famous playwright in the family seemed perfectly normal.

"It's really nothing exceptional, it's just what we do," said Gurney, a costume designer and onetime actor who has worked on a number of plays by her famous uncle Pete -- better known to theatergoers around the world as A.R. Gurney.

Gurney's latest play, "Crazy Mary," comes to the Kavinoky Theatre tonight. It's set in Buffalo, as many of Gurney's plays are, and deals with the trials of a wealthy Buffalo family that has a sort of comic run-in with a mentally ill cousin.

Since Gurney's plays are so often autobiographical, Jennifer Gurney said, it's an easier task to design costumes for characters with which she is already so intimately familiar. (The character Lydia in "Crazy Mary," for instance, is based on her grandmother.)

"When it's one of Peter's plays, often I can pull out of my own closet [costumes] for the actresses. . . . We all have a great laugh over that," Gurney said.

The play runs through Dec. 9 in the Kavinoky (320 Porter Ave.). Call 829-7668 or visit for more information.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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