O'Neill Selects The War Dept. and The White City for 2014 Music Theater Conference

By Adam Hetrick
09 Apr 2014

The new musicals The War Dept. and The White City have been selected for development at the Eugene O'Neil Theater Center's 2014 National Music Theater Conference, which will begin June 28 in Waterford, CT.



Presented June 28-July 11, the conference is led by artistic director Paulette Haupt. The musicals are developed with professional actors, directors and music directors. It culminates in public performances of each work. 

The O'Neill received more than 200 submissions this year, a record in the history of the conference. The two musicals that will be nurtured on the O'Neill campus this summer are The War Dept. by Blue Flower collaborators Jim and Ruth Bauer, as well as The White City, by Julia Gytri and Avi Amon.

"The selection process for this summer was daunting, with 211 applicants marking a record year for us. It is always astonishing to know how much talent is out there needing and deserving to have their voices heard. We are proud to support the works of Jim and Ruth Bauer and Avi Amon and Julia Gytri this year with two inspired music theater works of exceptional quality," Haupt said in a statement.

The musical selections follow:

The War Dept.
Libretto, music, and lyrics by Jim Bauer
Libretto, art, and video direction by Ruth Bauer
"The American Civil War has ended, but the terrible task of cleaning up the mess – and trying to make sense of it all – has only just begun. That work falls in large part to the eccentric savant Private William T. Clarke working in an obscure and mysterious division of The War Department, sorting through unmanageable mountains of records housed now in Ford’s Theater, dark since Lincoln’s assassination there three years before. Clarke, who is fighting demons of his own, finds his strange and insular domain invaded by three desperate visitors in the same day, each looking for something precious lost in the war, unearthing tense and powerful emotions buried just below the surface. Unfortunately, Clarke may be the only person who can help them, and the war may not be over yet."

The White City
Words by Julia Gytri
Music by Avi Amon
"Chicago, 1893. The city hosts the World's Columbian Exposition. Change is palpable: all in attendance hope to propel society into a shining new era. We follow Lucy, a rambunctious sharpshooter from Buffalo Bill's Wild West, as she explores the Fair, thrilled by the fast-paced modernity of city life. But trouble simmers beneath the façade of the shimmering White City when young women begin to go missing, as Henry Howard Holmes, a local doctor, exploits the innovations presented at the fair for his own demented purposes. Loosely based on the true story of America’s first recognized serial killer, The White City explores all of the delightful (and deadly) possibilities that accompany the introduction of new technology."

Single tickets to the Music Theatre Conference performances go on sale to the general public June 11. Member tickets begin sale May 21. 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.