Allen, Kurtz, Durang to Help Posthumously Honor Wasserstein at O'Neill Center Benefit

News   Allen, Kurtz, Durang to Help Posthumously Honor Wasserstein at O'Neill Center Benefit Joan Allen, Swoosie Kurtz and Christopher Durang will be among the performers when the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center presents its annual Monte Cristo Award to the late Wendy Wasserstein at a gala dinner at the Puck Building in Manhattan April 30 at 6 PM.
Late playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
Late playwright Wendy Wasserstein.

Michael Barakiva will direct the evening's program, which will include readings from Wasserstein's plays and essays. Other performers will include Amy Aquino, Caroline Aaron, Alma Cuervo, Christine Eastabrook, Peter Friedman, Mimi Lieber and Lizbeth Mackay. The O'Neill is also establishing an endowment in Wasserstein's name to support the O'Neill's open submissions policy in perpetuity. In 2003, the Center's National Playwrights Conference controversially ended its policy of accepting unsolicited submissions, but later reinstated it.

Wasserstein was a supporter of the O'Neill Center. Her involvement with the Center began in 1977 when she worked on her play Uncommon Women and Others. She was an assistant to the O'Neill's then artistic director, Lloyd Richards, and wrote notes to rejected writers, pretending to be Lloyd, encouraging them to "keep writing."

Wasserstein was a revered playwright who passed away on Jan. 30, 2006. Her works include The Sisters Rosensweig, An American Daughter, The Heidi Chronicles, Third, Uncommon Women and Others, Isn't It Romantic and Pamela's First Musical.

Past recipients of the Monte Cristo Award include Jason Robards, Jr.; Edward Albee; August Wilson; Zoe Caldwell; Brian Dennehy; and Karl Malden.

The Puck Building is located at 295 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. For table and ticket reservations or more information, contact Suzanne Hendrix at the O'Neill at (860)443-5378 ext 217 or shendrix@theoneill.org.

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