Amy Sullivan, executive director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, said, "The Monte Cristo Cottage [as the home is known] is a precious legacy to America’s most renowned playwright and attracts visitors from all over the world wishing to view the New London homestead that so influenced O'Neill's greatest work. We are grateful to the State of Connecticut and our generous friends and volunteers for making this renovation and reopening possible."
Before the official reopening, a series of special events and lectures will run at the O'Neill Center's Waterford campus. The first of these programs, "The O'Neill Readings and Discussion Series," will run on Thursday evenings between April 21 and June 9, 2005. The cost for the entire series of eight lectures is $50 for O'Neill members, $65 for non-members. Lectures will begin at 6:30 PM at the O'Neill Theater Center: 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford.
The lecture schedule is as follows:
April 21: David Hayes, founder of National Theater of the Deaf and set designer for the original Broadway production of O'Neill's Long Days Journey into Night.
April 28: George White, founder of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
May 5: Rob Richter, historian and author of "O’Neill and dat ol’ Devil Sea."
May 12: Sally Pavetti, curator, and Lois McDonald, co-curator, of the Monte Cristo Cottage.
May 19: Brian Rogers, special collections librarian emeritus.
May 26: Sheila Wertheimer, landscape artist and historian.
June 2: Linda Herr, chair of theatre department, Connecticut College.
June 9 Wendy C. Goldberg, artistic director of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference.
Eugene O'Neill's father, the matinee idol James O'Neill, bought the seaside cottage with money he earned from playing his most famous role, The Count of Monte Cristo. It was the only permanent dwelling his wife and sons ever knew, though it was far from a happy home. As depicted by Eugene in Long Day's Journey, James' wife found it small and stifling, and New London social life limited and dull. Eugene's older brother, Jamie, who had lived the life of a bon vivant in New York, was also bored with the small maritime city. Ironically, the cottage is also the setting of O'Neill's only comedy, Ah, Wilderness! Recently, filmmaker Ric Burns visited the cottage, which will be included in his upcoming PBS documentary entitled "Eugene O’Neill: A Documentary Film," as part of the "American Experience" series.