Waterford, Connecticut's Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announces its 25th anniversary summer season. The complex which houses the Playwrights Conference and Music Theater Conference among others will present, as usual, new works from noted and up-and-coming artists. Among those selected this year were scribes Lee Blessing, Romulus Linney and Mark Ravenhill.
Performances will take place in many of the O’Neill Theater Center venues: the Rufus & Margo Rose Theater Barn, the Dina Merrill Theater, the Amphitheater and the Edith Oliver Theater. The latter two are outdoor venues. Shows will be moved indoors in the event of rain. All subject to change.
The 2002 O’Neill Playwrights Conference summer schedule is as follows:
- Lee Blessing's Whores (July 5-6), Barn. A Central-American general muses of three nuns and a Catholic lay worker, who died under his watch.
- Brooke Berman's Until We Find Each Other (July 6-7), Dina Merrill Theater. A man is torn between a normal life with his girlfriend or an adventure with a girl who has returned home.
- Rob Handel's Millicent Scowlworthy (July 9-10), Amphitheater. A community hit by sudden violence struggles to deal with it.
- Mat Smart's The Bebop Heard in Okinawa (July 11-12), Edith. A Japanese daughter avoids politics and focuses on jazz until it creeps up on her.
- Romulus Linney's Klonsky and Schwartz (July 12-13), Barn. A poet helps his writer friend in a hot New York summer in 1966.
- Letitia Guillory's Mae (July 13-14), Dina. A one-woman show performed by Guillory about a woman who looks back on a tragic loss of innocence while in a dingy hotel room.
- Katherine Griffith's The Ballad of Billy K: “The Tall Tale Adventures of the Crazy K Kid” with music by Phill George, lyrics by Griffith and Phill George (July 16-17), Amphitheater. A Texas cowgirl's battle against Queen Rattlesnake, the Prairie Stingers, and other villains to save her home and find her mother.
- Sherry M. Shephard-Massat's Levee James (July 18-19), Edith. A love story between a black farmer and his widow's sister in the early twentieth century South.
- Madeleine George's The Zero Hour (July 19-20), Barn. Two actresses take on all the roles in this tale of a girl who struggles with telling her mother about her sexuality and more.
- Peter Morris' Pro Bono Publico (July 20-21), Dina. An uptown corporate lawyer and his downtown art gallery owner wife fight to find what it means to act for the public good.
- William di Canzio's Hindustan (July 23-24), Amphitheater. The span of three reigns and India's journey to freedom serve as a backdrop for a romance that defied all expectations.
- Victor Lodato's Motherhouse (July 25-26), Edith. A delusional man shows up at his mother and sister's house supposedly fleeing from the law.
- Carey Perloff's The Colossus of Rhodes (July 26-27), Barn. A group of young Englishmen, including Cecil Rhodes, quest for power and place in 1873's South Africa.
- "Theater for the Generations" (July 27-28), Dina. Two new one-act plays from contemporary scribes (an American and a Brit) for both teen and adult audiences. Constance Congdon's Moontel Six and an untitled work by Mark Ravenhill will share the stage.
Following in August, the O’Neill Music Theater Conference will play three new musicals:
- Embarrassments book by Laurence Klavan, music by Polly Pen and lyrics by Klavan and Pen (Aug. 3-10), Barn. Writer Henry James' longing to be a playwright is explored in this new musical.
- Avenue Q book by Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx with music and lyrics by Lopez and Marx (Aug. 10-17), Dina. Puppets and humans discuss love, money, race and jury duty at the New York City locale.
- Lil Budda book and lyrics by Stephanie Jones, music by Janice Lowe Aug.17-18), Barn. A music-video dancer journey through stardom to find enlightenment.
For tickets to events at the O’Neill Theater Center, call the box office at (860) 443-1238 (after June 11). For more information, visit their website at www.oneilltheatercenter.org. — by Ernio Hernandez