The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, which is located in Waterford, CT, announced that Paulette Haupt, founding artistic director of its National Music Theater Conference, will step down following the 2017 season, after 40 years leading the program.
The program began in 1978 after George C. White, founder of the O’Neill, invited Haupt to launch a new development program for music theatre. The O’Neill will launch a national search for the next artistic director in the coming weeks.
Under Haupt’s guidance, NMTC distinguished itself as a leader in the field, and was among the first new music-theatre development labs in the nation. Through NMTC, the O’Neill was the first professional theatre company to support Lin-Manuel Miranda, with his and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ In the Heights; Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty’s Avenue Q; and In Transit, co-written by Kirsten Anderson-Lopez, Sara Wordsworth, James-Allen Ford, and Russell Kaplan and now in previews on Broadway at the Circle in the Square.
"Paulette’s impact on the American musical is immense,” stated O’Neill executive director Preston Whiteway. “Through her leadership of the National Music Theater Conference, over 180 new music theater works have been launched and hundreds of new writers and composers have been nurtured and given the opportunity to develop their unique voice. Many of these writing teams continue to push the music theater form forward, and the O’Neill and the American theater community owe Paulette a great debt for ensuring these voices are heard.”
Haupt added, “My decision to leave the O’Neill was difficult to say the least. But I think that a change of leadership for the Conference will be exciting and timely. My years of experience at the O’Neill has given me great artistic joy, and I look forward to a move to different surroundings where I will be freshly challenged to continue making an imprint in the field of new music theater. And I look forward to expanding my New York company Premieres and our very successful ‘Inner Voices’ series beyond what it is now.
“The O’Neill is an extraordinary organization and it has been my honor to work with George C. White, Amy Sullivan, Howard Sherman, and Preston Whiteway during my time here. And most certainly a great honor to work with all of the emerging and established creative artists whose works we have developed and have made and continue to make a lasting impression worldwide.”
NMTC annually selects three musicals from hundreds of submissions, inviting each writing team for a two-week residency in the summer. During the developmental residency, authors are paired with professional directors, actors, and creative teams, and projects are revised and fine-tuned with four public performances. Submissions for the 2017 summer season recently wrapped, and selections for Haupt’s final season will be announced in the spring.
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