Broadway's Rose, Blum, Day, Robins and Film's Lillard Star in 2005 O'Neill Playwrights Conference, July 8-31

News   Broadway's Rose, Blum, Day, Robins and Film's Lillard Star in 2005 O'Neill Playwrights Conference, July 8-31
Broadway stars Johanna Day, Mark Blum, Laila Robins, Phyllis Somerville, Jere Burns, Anika Noni Rose, Matthew Mabe, Daisy Eagan and film star Matthew Lillard will appear in the new works presented at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2005 Playwrights Conference.

OPC artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg heads up this year's festivities which will run from July 8-31. "To have this sort of talent with us for my inaugural season is incredible," she stated. "All of the actors at the conference will help the writers realize the full potential of their stories, and help contribute to the writers understanding of their own work.  I am excited to have them with us this summer."

The new projects — chosen from nearly 500 submissions — will undergo development with the selected playwrights during July with professional actors, directors and dramaturges then presented.

The 2005 schedule is as follows:

  • Great Falls by Lee Blessing (July 8 & 9)
    Lucie Tiberghien directs the play where "A man makes a mistake. A woman compounds it," begging the question "Are families really disposable?" Stars Matthew Lillard, Joe Urla and Jess Weixler.


  • Cradle of Man by Melanie Marnich (July 9 & 10)
    Michael John Garcés stages the drama about "two American couples [who] meet near Olduvai Gorge, the birthplace of mankind, and their comedic, romantic and existential crises are exposed." Stars Mark Blum, Janet Zarish, Phyllis Somerville, Jere Burns, and Laila Robins.
  • rearviewmirror by Eric Winick (July 15 & 16)
    Carl Forsman directs "this modern-day BACCHAE set in an outdoor rock festival [where] three disaffected twentysomethings embark on a desperate search for artistic and spiritual fulfillment." Stars Matt Rausch, Makela Spielman, and Emily Donohoe.
  • Norman Rockwell Killed My Father by Samuel D. Hunter (July 16 & 17)
    A young artist — obsessed with Norman Rockwell — "journeys home to the family trailer in rural Idaho desperate to reconcile with his estranged family." Stars Nathan Baesel, Patrick Husted, Ross Bickell, Matthew Mabe and Phyllis Somerville.
  • Antebellum by Robert O'Hara (July 22 & 23)
    Carey Perloff directs the work set "on the evening of the world premiere of 'Gone with the Wind,' [when] a woman shows up on a farm outside Atlanta while a world away, a man shows up in a detention center outside Berlin and a romance unfolds." Stars Makela Spielman, Anika Noni Rose, Matthew Mabe and Ariel Shafir.
  • The Importance of Being Orson by Jessica Cooke (July 23)
    Part of an international exchange with Dublin, Ireland's Abbey Theatre, Joe Grifasi stages the 1931-set work in which "a teenage Orson Welles persuades Hilton Edwards and his lover Micheál MacLíammóir to let him play Hamlet in their Dublin theatre, The Gate. Orson blows apart the fragile relationship between Hilton, Micheál and their favorite actress Meriel, but cannot master Hamlet without facing his own dead father." Stars Michael Gladis, PJ Sosko, Brad Heberlee and Amanda Cobb.
  • Durango by Julia Cho (July 29 & 30)
    Chay Yew directs this drama about "a single father [who] takes his two sons on a road trip through the Southwest desert. As the trip goes on longer than planned, secrets are spilled, revelations are made and all three realize nothing will ever be the same." Stars James Saito, James Laio, Jon Norman Schneider, Will Fowler and Ross Bickell.
  • Snake Tank by Rebecca Gilman (July 30 & 31)
    New OTC Playwrights Conference artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg stages this smalltown Iowa-set play which follows "the story of a social worker who becomes embroiled in one family’s problems at the expense of her own objectivity." Stars Deirdre O'Connell, Johanna Day, Daisy Eagan and Jeremy Davidson. Among the company's other summer offerings is the Music Theater Conference — including the works Blood Drive: A Musical Triptych, In the Heights and Willy & Rupert — slated to begin July 10 and run through Aug. 14.

    Tickets are on sale through the O'Neill Box Office at (860) 443-1238. Outdoor performances are moved indoors in the event of rain. Some material may not be appropriate for children.

    The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center was founded in 1964 and 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.

    For more information, visit the website at

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