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O'Neill Center Announces
3rd Annual Eugene O'Neill Celebration

Pulitzer Prize-Winners Marsha Norman and August Wilson
To Participate

The O'Neill Theater Center has announced plans for its 3rd Annual Eugene O'Neill Celebration, honoring the life and works of its namesake, to be held Friday through Sunday, October 18 through 20.

Free and open to the public (except where noted), the series of performances, workshops and discussions will take place at the O'Neill in Waterford, CT, as well as the Monte Cristo Cottage, Connecticut College and Garde Arts Center in neighboring New London.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Marsha Norman ( “'night, Mother,” “The Secret Garden” and “Getting Out”) and August Wilson (“Jitney,” “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,” “Fences,’ “Joe Turner's Come and Gone,’ “The Piano Lesson,” “Two Trains Running,” “Seven Guitars” and “King Hedley II”) will join in Saturday's activities. Ms. Norman will give the keynote address and Mr. Wilson is the recipient of this year's Monte Cristo Award, which recognizes "distinguished artistic achievement in the spirit of Eugene O'Neill's pursuit of excellence." Friday and Sunday's events are an expansion from the prior year, when the event ran the course of one day at the O'Neill's two indoor theaters.

"I am pleased that we are extending the Eugene O'Neill Celebration's activities into New London this year," commented Howard Sherman, executive director of the O'Neill Center and co-director of the event. "More people will be able to learn about the life and works of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright, and explore our region while doing so, over the course of the weekend. It is a keystone in the Center's commitment to providing community service and establishing a resource for theater research and education."

Event co-director J. Ranelli added, "The O'Neill Celebration entertains and enlightens a wide range of people, including members of our community, those visiting the area for its tourist attractions and those passionately interested in Eugene O'Neill. It is important for us to maintain the legacy of O'Neill - in the pioneering spirit of new work presented at the Center, in the continued preservation of O'Neill's childhood home, Monte Cristo Cottage, and in recognition of his life's work."

Those interested in learning more about O'Neill can attend the whole weekend of performances, individual speakers and panel discussions or choose the events they prefer from the following schedule:

Friday, October 18
All events take place in New London

Noon to 5 p.m.
O'Neill Exhibit Shain Library Special Collections, Connecticut College
Exhibit of O'Neill papers and photographs from the collections of O'Neill biographer Louis Sheaffer and archivist Dr. Harley Hammerman

4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Discussion with Harley Hammerman, Shain Library Special Collections, Connecticut
College, O'Neill authority and webmaster of, an electronic Eugene O'Neill archive

7:30 p.m.
"Ah, Wilderness!"
Garde Arts Center, 312 State Street, New London
Screening of the 1935 film adaptation, starring Mickey Rooney and Lionel Barrymore. O'Neill's only comedy, set in New London in 1912, chronicles the lives of the Miller family, modeled upon New London's McGinley family.

Saturday, October 19
All events take place at the O'Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford

10:30 a.m.
Welcome and Keynote Address
Marsha Norman will deliver this year's keynote address.

11:45 a.m.
O'Neill's Provincetown Roots
O'Neill's early playwriting years in Provincetown and the artistic community that fostered his growth will be explored by a panel of scholars and artists, including, Jonathan Bank, artistic director of New York's Mint Theater, J. Ellen Gainor, author of Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theater, Culture and Politics 1915-48 and theater historian Max Wilk.

1:15 p.m.
Lunch break
$7 box lunches available for purchase by advance order only at (860) 443-5378 ext. 0; call weekdays between 9 a.m. & 5 p.m.

2:15 p.m.
The O'Neill Influence
A roundtable of contemporary American playwrights discuss the influence of Eugene O'Neill on their own work and the American dramatic canon. Panelists include Lee Blessing (“A Walk in the Woods”); panel still in formation.

4:00 p.m.
“Where the Cross is Made”

Reading and discussion of O'Neill's early one-act play, written in New London in 1918. O'Neill's early themes of family, obsession and greed collide in this story of an aging sea captain's fixation on his long-buried treasure and his children's struggles to cope with the man's incipient madness.

5:00 p.m.
Monte Cristo Award

The third annual Monte Cristo Award will be presented to playwright August Wilson, author of an ongoing cycle of plays chronicling the heritage and experience of Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the twentieth century.

Sunday, October 20
All events take place in New London

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monte Cristo Cottage Tours, 325 Pequot Avenue
O'Neill's childhood home in New London, the setting for both “Ah, Wilderness!” and “Long Day's Journey Into Night,” is open for tours.

Tour of O'Neill's New London, main entrance of Union Station, Water Street
New London Municipal Historian Sally Ryan will lead a walking tour of sites in New London that were frequented by Eugene O'Neill. $5 per person

As always, the schedule and special guests are subject to change. Those interested in receiving more information or reserving space can call the O'Neill Center at 860-443-5378 ext. 0 or visit The Eugene O'Neill Celebration is made possible by the support of the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 and based in Waterford CT, is dedicated to the development of new work for the theater and creates and operates programs which advance and complement that goal. These include the Playwrights Conference, Music Theater Conference, Critics Institute, Puppetry Conference and Cabaret Symposium, as well as the National Theater Institute and the Monte Cristo Cottage.

See realted O'Neill story.

-- OnStageBoston



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