Eight plays and two musicals were chosen from the submissions received by the Waterford, CT company. The selected creators will spend the month of July developing their respective works with actors, directors and dramaturgs, before they are presented in readings.
The directors that have been lined up for the Playwrights Conference are Jesse Berger, Peter DuBois, Wendy C. Goldberg, Carey Perloff, Lisa Peterson, Bruce Sevy and Kate Whoriskey. (One is yet to be announced.) For the Music Theater Conference, the names include Rob Berman, Fred Lassen, Benjamin Endsley Klein and Ted Sperling — a Tony winner for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza.
The O'Neill 2007 summer season follows:
"Sixteen year old Rachel Stein is having a bad year. Her father hasn't changed out of his pajamas since his narrow escape from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Her mother has begun a close, personal relationship with Jesus. Her new neighbor, a 16 year-old Elvis impersonator, has fallen for her hard. And the Apocalypse is coming Wednesday. Her only hope is that Stephen Hawking will save them all."
Directed by Lisa Peterson
"Mr. Smith is a high school English teacher who used to know this for sure: He loves his students, his wife, his poetry. When a single event unravels his world and sends him free-falling into a crisis of faith, a Boy Scout named Virgil mysteriously arrives to take him on a soul-searching trek through a haunted wilderness that begins in an empty church and ends on a front porch with a red door."
Directed by Jesse Berger
"A tale of two worlds: the small town of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and the grim reality of Guantanamo Bay. It's Jimmy's last day before joining the military: He's addicted to glue, his mom is seeing visions in the sweet potato casserole, and his wheelchair bound dad can kick his ass. He turns to God for answers, and finds… an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. A dark comedy that blurs the lines between black and white, right and wrong."
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
"During a barbecue in Chicago, Jasper is faced with the toughest choice of his life: whether or not to become a father. Will he follow his heart, or follow the crowd?"
Book, music and lyrics by David Rossmer and Dan Lipton
Directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein, Music Director: Fred Lassen
"A brother and sister are torn apart and then reunited under extraordinary circumstances. notes to MariAnne is a modern fairy tale that draws from popular music to sing its story, exploring the consequences of leaving those you love and finding hope in dark places."
Directed by Peter DuBois
"Prep school senior Brandon Hardy is every parents' dream: captain of the football team, straight-A student, accepted to Dartmouth, Early Decision. But when a disturbing video tape is found on campus, the 17-year-old's world starts to crumble and his mother is forced to question everything she believed about her son..."
Directed by Bruce Sevy
"The intricate rules and relationships of a book club are challenged when the tightly knit group invites a new member to join. A comedy about people who read books, people who say they read books, and people who prefer books to other people."
Book and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein and John Wulp; music by Jan Warner
Directed by Ted Sperling, Music Director: Rob Berman
Based on a play by Arnold Weinstein, this "zany musical comedy about America [is] set against a background of war, depression and economic boom times [and] follows the wacky adventures of Wilmer Flange, a young idealist; O.O. Martinas, owner of the world's largest meat department store; and Selma Chargesse, the woman they both love. In doing so, it takes a hard look at the effects of love and money upon our lives."
Directed by Carey Perloff
"'I'm making a list of everything we have. Because we have everything. We have more than everything.' Conor and Molly, a young couple in Belfast, have been married for less than two years. But already their marriage is falling apart, and neither knows why—or what to do to save it."
The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza (July 26 and 28)
Directed by Kate Whoriskey
"Chicago, 1955: Emmett Till is lynched, and the modern civil rights movement begins. Anchored by interviews with friends, family and witnesses, this provocative new drama explores the powerful truths at the heart of the story, creating a work of vibrant theatricality and music, a poetic elegy pierced with the poignancy of real life." 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.
Tickets go on sale June 13 through the O'Neill box office at (860) 443-1238. Outdoor performances are moved indoors in the event of rain. For more information, visit the website at www.theoneill.org.