Ruehl, Klein, Durang Help Posthumously Honor Wasserstein at O'Neill Center Benefit April 30

News   Ruehl, Klein, Durang Help Posthumously Honor Wasserstein at O'Neill Center Benefit April 30
Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Klein and Christopher Durang will be among the performers when the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center presents its annual Monte Cristo Award to the late Wendy Wasserstein at a gala dinner at the Puck Building in Manhattan April 30 at 6 PM.

Michael Barakiva directs the evening's program, which includes readings from Wasserstein's plays and essays. Other performers include Jayne Houdyshell, Laila Robins, Lizbeth Mackay, Caroline Aaron, Amy Aquino, Eddie Boroevich, Alma Cuervo, John Cunningham, Peter Friedman, Kathryn Grody and Makela Spielman.

The O'Neill is also establishing an endowment in Wasserstein's name to support the O'Neill's open submissions policy in perpetuity. In 2003, the Center's National Playwrights Conference controversially ended its policy of accepting unsolicited submissions, but later reinstated it.

Wasserstein was a supporter of the O'Neill Center. Her involvement with the Center began in 1977 when she worked on her play Uncommon Women and Others. She was an assistant to the O'Neill's then artistic director, Lloyd Richards, and wrote notes to rejected writers, pretending to be Lloyd, encouraging them to "keep writing."

The Honorary Committee for the event includes Edward Albee, Constance Congdon, Pat Daily and Tom Viertel, Brian Dennehy, Christopher Durang, Heidi Ettinger, William Finn, Lynn Fusco Hughes, Barbara & Arthur Gelb, Joe Grifasi, A.R. Gurney, Dina Merrill Hartley, Ruth & Steve Hendel, Swoosie Kurtz, James Lapine, Terrence McNally, Roz & Jerry Meyer, Peter Parnell, Dyanne & John Rafal, Steve Robman, Daniel Sullivan, Ted Tally, Pamela Wasserstein and Betsy & George White.

Wasserstein was a revered playwright who passed away on Jan. 30, 2006. Her works include The Sisters Rosensweig, An American Daughter, The Heidi Chronicles, Third, Uncommon Women and Others, Isn't It Romantic and Pamela's First Musical. Past recipients of the Monte Cristo Award include Jason Robards, Jr.; Edward Albee; August Wilson; Zoe Caldwell; Brian Dennehy; and Karl Malden.

The Puck Building is located at 295 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. For table and ticket reservations or more information, contact Suzanne Hendrix at the O'Neill at (860)443-5378 ext. 217 or

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