Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2009)|
|Eugene O'Neill Theater Center|
|Address||305 Great Neck Road|
|Area||40 acres (16 ha)|
|Architectural style||Federal, Gothic Revival, et al.|
|NRHP Reference #||05001044|
|Added to NRHP||September 21, 2005|
The Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit theater company founded in 1964 by George C. White. The O'Neill is the recipient of the 2010 Regional Theater Tony Award. The O'Neill is a multi-disciplinary institution that has had a transformative effect on American theater. The O'Neill pioneered play development and stage readings as a tool for new plays and musicals, and is also home to the National Theater Institute (est. 1970), an intensive study-away semester for undergraduates. Its major theater "conferences" include: the National Playwrights Conference (est. 1965); the National Critics Conference (est. 1968), the National Musical Theater Conference (est. 1978), the Puppetry Conference (est. 1990), and the Cabaret & Performance Conference (est. 2005). The Monte Cristo Cottage, Eugene O'Neill's childhood home in New London, Connecticut, was purchased and restored by the O'Neill in the 1970s and is maintained as a museum. The company also received a Special Tony Award in 1979. The theater's campus, overlooking Long Island Sound in Waterford Beach Park, has four major performance spaces: two indoor and two outdoor. The O'Neill is led by Executive Director Preston Whiteway.
Also known as Walnut Grove and Hammond Estate, the seven buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 2005.
National Playwrights Conference
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The National Playwrights Conference (NPC) is one of the premiere play developmental programs in America. Since its founding in 1965, NPC has developed over 600 new plays for the stage, launching the careers of many notable writers including: August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Adam Rapp, John Patrick Shanley, Lee Blessing, John Guare, Gina Gionfriddo, and hundreds more. Each year, the Conference accepts scripts under an open-submissions policy, receiving nearly 1000 for consideration for the 2011 and 2012 Conferences. A team of over 125 readers made up of theater professionals, dramaturgs, college department chairs and past participants help to read the scripts and select the most promising. Of the 8 plays developed in each of the past 5 years, at least 7 are from the open-submissions process, with one writer typically being invited to participate.
NPC offers writers a four week residency at the O'Neill's campus, with strong dramaturgical and professional support. Professional actors, directors, designers, and technicians assist the writer in creating and shaping the play, culminating in two, script-in-hand readings for an audience. Sets, costumes, lights, sounds, and other design elements are only suggested with simple props and cues, to allow the writer the time and space necessary, should they wish to adapt or rewrite the script. First and foremost, NPC is focused on the writer and adapts to serve his or her needs in the development of the play.
The National Playwrights Conference (and the O'Neill itself) has served as a model for several other developmental programs, including the Sundance Institute, Actors Theater of Lousiville's Humana Festival; Ojai Festival; the Shelykova Institute in Russia, and more.
Lloyd Richards was the first Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference, appointed in 1969 by the O'Neill's founder, George C. White. Mr. Richards was one of the very first African Americans to lead a major theater program in the United States, and ten years later was named the Dean of the Yale School of Drama. He continued to hold both positions before retiring from Yale in 1991 and the O'Neill in 1999. Jim Houghton then led the NPC from 2000-2003, the program was then led by J Ranelli from 2003-2004, then Richard Kuranda from 2004-2005 and currently the program is now led by Wendy C. Goldberg.
National Theater Institute
The National Theater Institute (NTI) is the O'Neill Center's credit-bearing 14-week intensive theater program for college-age students. Accredited by Connecticut College, NTI offers a comprehensive training curriculum, with classes in acting, directing, design, movement, playwriting, voice, singing, mask work, stage combat, yoga, tai chi, etc. Classes are seven days a week from 9 am to 10 pm, with a 7:30 am warm-up six days a week. International components include two-week seminars at London/Stratford-upon-Avon to train with Complicite or St. Petersburg, Russia to train at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy; a semester at the Moscow Art Theater is also a possibility.
The motto of NTI is "Risk, fail, risk again." 
National Critics Institute
The National Critics Institute (NCI) was designed for theater writers looking to strengthen their skills. This program offers participants objective feedback from professionals, advice on marketing works, and a chance to get to know and appreciate other writers. This program lasts for two weeks, and includes trips to Connecticut theaters, such as the Goodspeed Opera House and the Ivoryton Playhouse. While most classes are on the grounds of the O’Neill, some classes are held at the Monte Cristo Cottage, Eugene O’Neill’s boyhood home, which is located in New London. The cost for the session is $2,000, and includes a private room, meals, tuition, and tickets to both the Playwrights Conference and Music Theater shows.
National Puppetry Conference
The National Puppetry Conference (NPC) was established in 1990 by Jane Henson, George Latshaw, Richard Termine, Bobbie Nidzgorski, Bart P. Roccoberton Jr., Jim Rose and Margo Rose. The NPC is sponsored by the Rose Endowment for Puppetry. The conference lasts for eight days, during which time participants work with renowned puppet artists as well as each other. Participants can explore different performance styles and techniques during workshops, rehearsals, and master classes. Newcomers and experienced puppeteers alike attend this conference. Participants attend a three-day course before the conference, which focuses on the main aspects that comprise puppetry: creating a narrative, building the puppet, and training the performer.
Young Playwrights Festival
The Young Playwrights Festival is an event dedicated especially to middle school and high school aged students. Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 18 in order to submit a play. In order to be considered for the festival, participants must submit an original play that is ten to fifteen pages in length, and they must be available for the entire duration of the Festival. 
National Music Theater Conference
The mission of the National Music Theater Conference (NMTC) is to provide a challenging and supportive environment in which new and established artists alike can take risks to improve their work. This conference takes place every summer, and it includes several playwrights, lyricists and composers trying to create fresh, unique work. Open submission begins in the fall. Several professionals review the submissions before making the final selections. During the conference, the O’Neill provides a staff of directors and musicians to assist the artists in refining their work.
- Rachel Jett (Artistic Director and Droznin Russian movement instructor)
- Donna DiNovelli (Playwriting)
- G. W. Mercier (Design)
- Jonathan Bernstein (Directing)
- Michael Cadman (Classical acting)
- Brian McManamon (Contemporary acting)
- David Jaffe (Chekhov acting)
- Marya Ursin (Yoga and Masks)
- David Chandler (Tai Chi and Stage Combat)
- Anne Tofflemire (Singing)
- Michelle Bach-Coulibaly (Movement and African dance)
- Preston Whiteway (Producing)
- Elizabeth Hess
- Adam Bock (Playwright's Week)
- Colman Domingo
- Kim Weild
- Wendy C. Goldberg
- Stephen Fried
- Jeremy Cohen
- Rebecca Taichman
- Gisela Cardenas
- Greg Allen (Neo-Futurists)
- Per Brahe (Mask)
- Derron M. Wood
- Elaine Bromka (Acting for the Camera)
- Peg Denithorne
The following is a list of plays, musicals, and performance pieces first developed at the O'Neill that have gone on to further success.
- National Playwrights Conference
- The Receptionist – Adam Bock (2006)
- Fuddy Meers - David Lindsay-Abaire (1998)
- Trueblinka – Adam Rapp (1997)
- Seven Guitars – August Wilson (1994)
- The Piano Lesson – August Wilson (1986)
- Joe Turner's Come and Gone – August Wilson (1984)
- Fences – August Wilson (1983)
- Fences - August Wilson (1982)
- Danny and the Deep Blue Sea - John Patrick Shanley (1982)
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – August Wilson (1982)
- Agnes of God – John Pielmeier (1979)
- FOB – David Henry Hwang (1979)
- Bent – Martin Sherman (1978)
- Uncommon Women and Others – Wendy Wasserstein (1977)
- A History of the American Film – Christopher Durang (1976)
- Madmen and Specialists - Wole Soyinka (1970)
- House of Blue Leaves - John Guare (1966)
- National Musical Theater Conference
- Cabaret & Performance Conference
- National Critics Conference
Notable O'Neill alumni
- National Theater Institute
- Emily Bergl
- Adam Bock (The Receptionist)
- Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue)
- Jack Coleman (Heroes)
- Rachel Dratch (SNL)
- Chris Elliott (SNL)
- Michael Emerson
- Jennifer Garner
- Paul Hodes (US Congressman, NH)
- Kristina Klebe
- John Krasinski (The Office)
- Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
- Michael "Soy Bomb" Portnoy
- Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)
- Kate Robin (Six Feet Under)
- Sam Robards
- Mark Teschner
- Rebecca B. Taichman
- Adam Shulman
- Cynthia Wade
- Conference Playwrights
- Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
- Edward Albee
- Lee Blessing
- Julia Cho
- Kia Corthron
- Joe DiPietro
- Christopher Durang
- Rebecca Gilman
- Gina Gionfriddo
- John Guare
- Willy Holtzman
- Israel Horovitz
- Samuel D. Hunter
- David Henry Hwang
- David Lindsay-Abaire
- Adam Rapp
- John Patrick Shanley
- Sam Shepard
- Regina Taylor
- Wendy Wasserstein
- August Wilson
- Lanford Wilson
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Napoleon, Davi (June 3, 2010). "At the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Critics Institute 5Q4 Dan Sullivan". The Faster Times. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "the o'neill".
- "Broadwayworld Connecticut". Retrieved 8 June 2013.