O'Neill Center's National Playwrights Conference Launches July 9

News   O'Neill Center's National Playwrights Conference Launches July 9 The Tony Award-winning Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference, featuring readings of new works by James McLindon, Kathryn Walat, Anne Washburn and Dominique Morisseau, begins July 9 in Waterford, CT.

Wendy C. Goldberg serves as artistic director of the conference that will run through July 31. In addition to the seven plays in development, the O'Neill hosts Tony, Pulitzer and Academy Award-winning playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Parade), Rock of Ages book writer Chris D'Arienzo and Russian playwright Yaroslave Pulinovich as writers in residence. Goldberg, who was a creative advisor on Rock of Ages, is set to collaborate with D'Arienzo on new projects during the conference.

The conference plays follow:

Lisa Peterson directs Kathryn Walat's Creation, which features Mia Barron, Piter Marek, John Preston and Nick Westrate (July 9-10). "When a renowned evolutionary biologist suddenly develops an obsession for music, four lives become unexpectedly entwined, in this play about the mysteries of the human mind, the alchemy of the creative process, and the spark that changes everything."

Evan Cabnet directs The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read, featuring Reed Birney, Jessica Cummings, Ben Gunderson, Ben Morrow, Caitlin O'Connell, JD Taylor and Libby Woodbridge (July 14-15). "In a high school classroom, a poster on the wall reads: 'EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT.' The poster offers little comfort to English teacher Larry Morrow, who is trying to move on after the sudden death of a popular student, but finds himself haunted by a troubling dream."

Seret Scott directs Morisseau's Follow Me to Nellie's, with cast members Nyahale Allie, Peter Jay Fernandez, Lynda Gravatt, Kelly McCreary, Warner Miller, Amirah Vann, Nick Westrate and Michelle Wilson (July 16-17). "If you follow the footsteps to Nellie Jackson's Whorehouse, you may discover a hopeless blues singer looking for a way out, a brave freedom fighter looking for a way in, and a house of wounded women, looking for a new day. In 1955 Mississippi, during the reign of segregation, to get what they're looking for may cost everything they have." Tony Award nominee Sheryl Kaller stages Close Up Space by Molly Smith Metzler. The cast includes Reed Birney, Laila Robbins, Michael Chernus, Jessica Digiovanni and Libby Woodbridge (July 21-22). "Paul Barrow is the most feared and powerful book editor in the biz. He reads the dictionary for pleasure and spends his days alone, scouring manuscripts for grammatical errors or anything 'schmaltzy' to bludgeon with his red pen. But when his grieving daughter Harper shows up unannounced at his office — having been expelled from boarding school because she refuses to stop speaking Russian — Paul has no idea how to communicate with her. How does a father navigate with only his red pen as a guide?"

Carrie Barrett's The Burden of Not Having a Tail, directed by Suzanne Agins, features Alison Weller (July 23-24). "You are invited to an intimate bunker-side chat on how to prep for when 'It' happens. Your discussion leader will be a paranoid woman with a tragic past. 'Think of the worst-case scenario and then think of something worse than that. It's going to be worse than something that's worse than that.'"

Steve Cosson helms Washburn's The Devil At Noon, with Gordon Clapp, Scott Drummond, Rebecca Hart, Scott Lowell and David Ross (July 28-29). "A Devil At Noon is a play about a science fiction writer living in the bad part of Berkeley, California in a slightly imaginary 1981. His novel is going well but his magnets no longer adhere to the refrigerator, he has an ant problem, and the young woman who popped up on his doorstep won't tell him her last name."

Sean Daniels stages Comes a Faery by McLindon, featuring Barbara Walsh, Rob Campbell, Ryan King, Nicole Lowrence and Danielle Slavick (July 30-31). "A single mother deployed overseas. Her little girl left with a less-than-willing aunt. A cantankerous Irish fairy who may or may not have escaped from a favorite storybook. Has he come to keep the lonely child company … or steal her soul?"

The O'Neill Center, which is the recipient of the 2010 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is the first play development center and educational organization to receive the honor. Under Goldberg's auspice, the O'Neill Center has served as the cradle for the plays Spoon Lake Blues, The Receptionist, Durango, Antebellum, Magnolia and The Crowd You Are In With.

Phone (860) 443-1238 or visit www.theoneill.org.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center was founded in 1964 and is based in Waterford, CT. Programs at the Center include the Puppetry Conference, Playwrights Conference, Critics Institute, Music Theater Conference and the National Theater Institute. The Monte Cristo Cottage, O'Neill's childhood home, is also owned and operated by the group.

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