Dorsen, Cummings, Reichel and Berger to Direct 2008 O'Neill Conference Selections | Playbill

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News Dorsen, Cummings, Reichel and Berger to Direct 2008 O'Neill Conference Selections Passing Strange director Annie Dorsen and the Transport Group's Jack Cummings III are among the directors for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2008 National Music Theater Conference and Playwrights Conference.

The 11 directors for the 2008 conference also include O'Neill artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg, Red Bull Theater artistic director Jesse Berger, Prospect Theater Company producing artistic director Cara Reichel, Lortel Award winner Joe Calarco, Obie winning Drama Dept. member Lisa Peterson, former Soho Rep artistic director Daniel Aukin, adobe theater company artistic director Jeremy Dobrish, Asolo Rep associate director Greg Leaming and Jackson Gay.

Daniel Aukin has replaced Manhattan Theatre Club artistic director Lynne Meadow as the director of Smudge, while Regina Taylor's Magnolia has yet to name its director. In addition, Prospect Theater Company's Cara Reichel will direct Iron Curtain, featuring lyrics by her husband and frequent collaborator Peter Mills.

The 2008 National Music Theater Conference is the first to get underway, running June 29-July 18.

The selected productions follow:

Book, music and lyrics by John Mercurio
Directed by Jeremy Dobrish
"A contemporary riff on three Greek myths set in present day New York. When a disenchanted rock star, a frustrated mother and a slacker teenager take off separately to get their heart's desire, they discover just how intertwined their lives are. Only by working together can they find what they're after." In Transit
Book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russell M. Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth
Directed by Joe Calarco
"An a cappella musical that captures the thrills, frustrations, and lunacy of life 'between stations.' Intimate musical snapshots into the lives of random New Yorkers are brought to life through the eyes of a subway beat-boxer with an eclectic all-vocal score that draws upon pop, jazz, hip-hop, country, and even reggae."

Max Understood
Book by Nancy Carlin, lyrics by Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury and music by Michael Rasbury
Directed by Jack Cummings III
"The transformative journey of a 7-year old autistic boy and those who love him, and how the need to communicate overcomes an unintelligible chasm. This sound-scaped musical may leave you feeling autistic yourself…and that's OK."

Iron Curtain
Book by Susan DiLallo, lyrics by Peter Mills, music by Stephen Weiner
Directed by Cara Reichel
"New York, 1956: two down-on-their luck songwriters are kidnapped by the KGB and brought to Moscow, where they are forced to write Communist Propaganda musicals. A madcap farce about fame vs. freedom, filled with divas and dominatrixes, stooges and spies, mishaps and misdirects as our heroes try desperately to get back home."

Selections for the Playwrights Conference, running July 3-27, include:

The Near East
By Alex Lewin
Directed by Lisa Peterson
"An American archaeologist teams up with an Arab activist to unearth 'Mother of Books,' the oldest scripture, from its resting place in the desert between Mecca and Medina. But their controversial mission affects a number of other characters, including a secretly gay Arab radical, a British spy, and the ghost of a precocious 13-year-old boy."

Box Americana: a dream of WalMart
By Jason Grote
Directed by Jackson Gay
"Box Americana follows Kelly, a perky and passionate cheerleader for Wal-Mart, and Danae, a devoted mother escaping a violent past, as they seek the Promised Land of retail abundance. Sam Walton, wandering the earth as a spirit of late capitalism, haunts them as they try to make their lives in the epicenter of Sprawlville, USA."

By Rachel Axler
Directed by Daniel Aukin
"When a young couple's first child doesn't turn out as expected, they're forced to revise their notions about what constitutes a life, and figure out — in their own, specific ways — how to be parents. A very, very, very dark comedy."

By Regina Taylor
"Magnolia is set in winter, 1963, as the schools, stores and real estate markets of Atlanta, Georgia are beginning to desegregate—much to the resentment of the white community. Lily, a white landowner, returns from Paris to find the Forest Estate, her family’s land, on the brink of ruin. Thomas, a successful businessman and the descendent of former slaves to the estate, has a plan to save the land: turn it into subdivisions and sell it to the white families fleeing the city. Tensions build as members of the estranged family reunite to try and save their beloved land—magnolia trees and all."

Thunder Above, Deeps Below
By A. Rey Pamatmat
Directed by Jesse Berger
"Three homeless young friends — a Filipina-American with a hidden past, a Filipina transsexual, and a Puerto-Rican hustler — struggle on the streets of Chicago to scrounge up enough cash to bus it to San Francisco before the winter cold hits. All is going according to plan until Theresa dreams of a bearded man searching for her on Lake Michigan, a mystery man in sunglasses stalks Gil after he becomes the star performer at a drag club, a wealthy john appears to be falling in love with Hector, and Marisol — the assistant manager of a doughnut shop — begins practicing magic on them with her cups of far-too-strong coffee. With their hopes and friendships put to the test, will the trio be able to spare some change?"

Mistakes Were Made
By Craig Wright
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
"Felix Artifex is a small-time Broadway producer struggling to launch The Machine, his pet project about the French Revolution. Trouble is, he's trying to bring into alignment the diverse agendas of a cranky writer, a not-too-bright movie star, dozens of agents, the American military in Iraq, members of the insurgency, tile salesmen, airplane pilots — wait! I thought this guy was a producer! He's that and much more in this metaphysical journey into the mind that makes — and unmakes — the world."

The Legend of Minnie Willet
By Ann Marie Healy
Directed by Annie Dorsen
"Ladies everywhere doing all sorts of strange things: Taking and being taken, passing on and being passed up, falling in love and falling apart. What begins as a rollicking winter season of sexual abandonment ends with a chilling blood wedding for the legendary Minnie Willet: town maverick, town eccentric and, ultimately, town martyr."

Without You
By Ursula Rani Sarma
Directed by Greg Leaming
"All Simon ever really wanted was to have someone to love…but you should be careful what you wish for. Without You looks at the wonder and chaos of love and asks how much we are willing to sacrifice for it."

Tickets for the 2008 O'Neill Conference productions go on sale June 11.

For scheduling and ticket information phone (860) 443-1238 or visit

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.

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