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O’Neill Theater Center Announces 2010 National Playwrights Conference Selections

NEWS FROM THE O’NEILL

EUGENE O’NEILL THEATER CENTER ANNOUNCES

2010 NATIONAL PLAYWRIGHTS CONFERENCE SELECTIONS

Seven New Play Workshops to be Presented

Season Also Includes Pulitzer Prize Winner Alfred Uhry as Writer-in- Residence, Along with Chris D’Arienzo, Writer of Broadway’s Rock of Ages, and Yaroslava Pulinovich, winner of a prestigious debut playwrighting award in Moscow

Waterford, Connecticut – The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announced today that seven plays will be developed at the 2010 National Playwrights Conference under the leadership of artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg.  The selected playwrights will spend the month of July at the O’Neill’s Waterford, Connecticut campus developing and presenting staged readings of their work during the NPC’s 46th season.  Box office and online ticket sales open Wednesday, June 9; advance ticket sales will be available to O’Neill Members beginning Monday, May 17.  

 
The plays, which will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process, employing acclaimed professional creative and support staff, including directors, dramaturgs, actors, and designers, are:  CREATION by Kathryn Walat, THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY by David West Read, FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE’S by Dominique Morisseau, CLOSE UP SPACE by Molly Smith Metzler, THE BURDEN OF NOT HAVING A TAIL by Carrie Barrett, A DEVIL AT NOON by Anne Washburn, and COMES A FAERY by James McLindon.
 
The selected works were chosen from among nearly 600 plays received through the O’Neill’s Open Submissions process, which allows any playwright – with or without agent representation – to submit, and utilizes readers from across the country to choose works based on merit, without authorship attribution.
 
National Playwrights Conference artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg said, “I am excited to welcome these new artists to the O’Neill for the 46 season of the National Playwrights Conference.  All of the work came through our Open Submissions process – a process that this organization takes very seriously. It is always a joy to bring the next generation of theatrical storytellers to our campus to help these artists shape and hone their work for production.”

Goldberg is in her sixth season as artistic director of the National Playwrights Conference. During Goldberg’s tenure, forty projects have been developed at NPC for the stage, and many have gone on to great acclaim in New York and around the country, including Adam Bock’s The Receptionist, Lee Blessing’s Great Falls, Regina Taylor’s Magnolia, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s End Days, and Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, winner of this year’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
 
Executive Director Preston Whiteway remarked, “The seven new plays and playwrights, along with our exciting writers-in-residence, bring topics of relevance to American and international theater, and represent the best in the rich O’Neill tradition of nurturing exciting new voices which will reverberate for decades to come.  It will be an exciting summer.”

Writers-In-Residence, who will work on their current projects at the O’Neill during NPC 2010 include Alfred Uhry, the only American playwright to have won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award and Two Tony Awards. Uhry’s plays include Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Without Walls.
 
Writer-in-Residence, Chris D’Arienzo, writer of Broadway’s Rock of Ages, will work at NPC on new projects, collaborating with NPC Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg.  Goldberg served as the Creative Advisor on Rock of Ages.  
 
Yaroslava Pulinovich will join the group of writers, furthering the O’Neill’s deep cultural ties to Russia and Russian playwriting.  Ms. Pulinovich won the debut playwriting award from the Et Cetera Theater in Moscow, and at age 22, her works have been performed at theaters in Moscow and London.
 
THE 2010 NATIONAL PLAYWRIGHTS CONFERENCE SELECTIONS ARE:

CREATION by Kathryn Walat
Performances: Friday, July 9 at 8:15 pm; Saturday, July 10 at 8:15 pm
When a renowned evolutionary biologist suddenly develops an obsession for music, four lives become unexpectedly entwined, in this play about the mysteries of the human mind, the alchemy of the creative process, and the spark that changes everything.

THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY by David West Read
Performances: Wednesday, July 14 at 8:15 pm; Thursday, July 15 at 8:15 pm
In a high school classroom, a poster on the wall reads: “EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT.” The poster offers little comfort to English teacher Larry Morrow, who is trying to move on after the sudden death of a popular student, but finds himself haunted by a troubling dream.
 
FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE’S by Dominique Morisseau
Performances: Friday, July 16 at 8:15 pm; Saturday, July 17 at 8:15 pm
If you follow the footsteps to Nellie Jackson’s Whorehouse, you may discover a hopeless blues singer looking for a way out, a brave freedom fighter looking for a way in, and a house of wounded women, looking for a new day.  In 1955 Mississippi, during the reign of segregation, to get what they’re looking for may cost everything they have.
 
CLOSE UP SPACE by Molly Smith Metzler
Performances: Wednesday, July 21 at 8:15 pm; Thursday, July 22 at 8:15 pm
Paul Barrow is the most feared and powerful book editor in the biz. He reads the dictionary for pleasure and spends his days alone, scouring manuscripts for grammatical errors or anything “schmaltzy” to bludgeon with his red pen. But when his grieving daughter Harper shows up unannounced at his office—having been expelled from boarding school because she refuses to stop speaking Russian—Paul has no idea how to communicate with her. How does a father navigate with only his red pen as a guide?
 
THE BURDEN OF NOT HAVING A TAIL by Carrie Barrett
Performances: Friday, July 23 at 8:15 pm; Saturday, July 24 3:15 pm
You are invited to an intimate bunker-side chat on how to prep for when “It” happens.  Your discussion leader will be a paranoid woman with a tragic past. “Think of the worst case scenario and then think of something worse than that.  It’s going to be worse than something that’s worse than that.”
 
A DEVIL AT NOON by Anne Washburn
Performances: Wednesday, July 28 at 8:15 pm; Thursday, July 29 at 8:15 pm
A Devil At Noon is a play about a science fiction writer living in the bad part of Berkeley, California in a slightly imaginary 1981.  His novel is going well but his magnets no longer adhere to the refrigerator, he has an ant problem, and the young woman who popped up on his doorstep won’t tell him her last name.
 
COMES A FAERY by James McLindon
Performances: Friday, July 30 at 8:15 pm; Saturday, July 31 at 8:15 pm
A single mother deployed overseas. Her little girl left with a less-than-willing aunt. A cantankerous Irish fairy who may or may not have escaped from a favorite storybook.  Has he come to keep the lonely child company … or steal her soul?
 
Box Office (860-443-1238) and online ticket sales open Wednesday, June 9; advance ticket sales are available to O’Neill Members Monday, May 17.  For further information, call the O’Neill at 860-443-5378 x 213, email theaterlives@theoneill.org or visit www.theoneill.org.  Schedules are subject to change.
 
The O’Neill, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater.  The O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway and major regional theaters.

O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute, which conducts semester-long, fully accredited intensive theater training programs and Theatermakers, a six-week accredited summer program.

In addition, the O’Neill owns and operates Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. Childhood summer home of Eugene O’Neill, the Cottage is a National Historic Landmark.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center has received a special Tony Award, the National Opera Award, the Jujamcyn Award for Theatre Excellence and the Arts and Business Council Encore Award. For more information, visit www.theoneill.org or email theaterlives@theoneill.org.

NPC ARTISTIC DIRECTOR BIO
Wendy C. Goldberg
is in her sixth season as artistic director of the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. During Goldberg’s tenure, forty projects have been developed for the stage and many have gone on to great acclaim in New York and around the country. Included in that group is this year’s Susan Smith Blackburn Award Winner (Julia Cho’s The Language Archive), and two American Theatre Critics Association Citation Award winning plays (Lee Blessing’s Great Falls and Deborah Zoe Laufer’s End Days). In the 2007-2008 season, nine projects developed during Goldberg’s tenure saw their world premieres at theaters across the country. Other critically acclaimed work developed at the O’Neill during Goldberg’s tenure include Adam Bock’s The Receptionist, Rebecca Gilman’s The Crowd You’re in With, Jason Grote’s 1001, and Julia Cho’s Durango. Goldberg’s own directing credits include productions at The Goodman, The Guthrie, Arena Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Denver Center, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, among others. She is the first woman in its 46-year history to run the National Playwrights Conference.
 
PLAYWRIGHT BIOS – NPC 2010
Kathryn Walat
Kathryn Walat’s Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen premiered at the Women’s Project, and has been published in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2007, in Dramatics magazine, and by Samuel French. Her other plays include Smile; Bleeding Kansas (Hangar Theatre), awarded a 2010 Francesca Primus Citation; Know Dog (Salvage Vanguard Theater); and Johnny Hong Kong (Perishable Theatre). She has been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Actors Theatre of Louisville; and her work has been developed at The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, Ars Nova, Electric Pear, Sundance Theatre Lab, Voice & Visions, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is the author of two plays for young audiences, Miss Electricity and Androcles and the Lion, both published by Playscripts, and has co-written the libretto (with composer Gregory Spears) for the opera Paul’s Case, being developed by American Opera Projects and Manhattan School of Music, and listed in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2009 Best in Classical Music for its workshop production at Center City Opera Theater. Kate is an affiliated artist with New Georges, where she is creating new piece for The Germ Project, and a member of MCC’s Playwrights Coalition, where she has been working on her latest play, entitled Greedy. She received her BA from Brown University, and MFA from the Yale School of Drama.  

David West Read
David will be coming to the National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center this summer to workshop his play The Dream of the Burning Boy, which is being produced at the Roundabout Theater Underground in the 2010-2011 season.  Other plays include: Happy Face (2010 Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory), The Little Mischief (NYU Festival of New Works), Double Penetration (Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival), Worst Show Ever (Toronto Fringe) and A Way Without Leave (SummerWorks). David is currently completing his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts on a full Departmental Fellowship.  As a playwriting concentrate, he has had the opportunity to study with experienced playwrights and theatre professionals including Oskar Eustis, Daniel Goldfarb, Rinne Groff, Marsha Norman, Suzan-Lori Parks and Diana Son.  David received his HBA in English Literature from the University of Toronto, where he was the recipient of the Robertson Davies Playwriting Award, the Alta Lind Cook Literary Prize, and the John Black Aird Scholarship for the most outstanding student graduating from an undergraduate program. David has a background in improv and sketch comedy and has written, directed and performed in The Bob Revue—Canada’s longest-running sketch comedy show.  He has also worked as an actor in Canadian theatre, film and TV.  Favorite roles include the Pervy Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (Victoria College Drama Society), and Guy-Who-Dies-At-The-Beginning-Of-The-Movie in Of Murder and Memory (CTV-Lifetime). David is a native of Toronto, Ontario, and currently lives in New York City.

Dominique Morisseau
Dominique Morisseau is a Writer and Actress in New York City, and a current member of the 2010 Public Theatre Emerging Writer’s Group.  Her plays include: Black at Michigan (One Act; Cherry Lane Studio/DUTF), Socks (10 Minute; Center Stage NY), Roses Are Played Out (One Act; Center Stage NY, American Theatre of Harlem), and Love and Nappiness (10 Minute; Center Stage NY, American Theatre of Harlem).  Her full-length play, Retrospect For Life, has been workshopped with the Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop, the National Black Theatre Festival, Lark Play Development Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, and the Classical Theatre of Harlem.  Her full length play, Follow Me To Nellie’s, has received readings with the Black Mondays Reading Series, The Standard Theatre Collective, and the Classical Theatre of Harlem. She has authored several short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, and has performed as an Actress with such companies as New York Stage and Film, McCarter Theatre, Lark Theatre Co, MCC Theatre, and Women’s Project.  Her literary work has been published in the New York Times bestselling series- Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, the Harlem-based literary journal, Signifyin’ Harlem, and featured on Robert Townsend’s MBC Networks poetry series, Spoken and in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Poetry: Expression in the Right Direction. As a playwright, Dominique has a passion for writing stories with strong Women of Color as protagonists, and beautifully human stories- no matter who the protagonist.  

Molly Smith Metzler
Molly Smith Metzler’s plays include Training Wisteria (Cherry Lane Mentor Project 2007; Summer Play Festival (SPF) 2006), Carve (London’s Tristan Bates Theatre 2008; hotINK 2008), Close Up Space (MTC’s 7@7 Series 2009; nominee, 2010 L. Arnold Weissberger Award) and Elemeno Pea (Juilliard 2010). Her plays have been developed by Playwrights’ Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Lark, The Kennedy Center, Juilliard, City Theatre (Miami), and Boston Playwrights Theatre, among others. Molly was recently invited to be a member of EST and the Ars Nova 2010 Play Group. Her other honors include two Lecomte du Nouy Prizes (Lincoln Center), three KCACTF Awards (The Kennedy Center National Student Playwrighting Award, The Mark Twain Comedy Award, The David Mark Cohen Award—ATHE) and guest residencies at Sundance Theater Lab, Montana Rep Colony, Dayton Futurefest, and New River Dramatists. She holds a MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch and a MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. Currently, she is a Playwright-in-Residence at The Juilliard School.
 
Carrie Barrett
CARRIE BARRETT is a writer, comedian and filmmaker who grew up in Virginia.  She is a 2009 graduate of Northwestern’s MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage program.  While in graduate school, her play The Fabulist was the 2009 recipient of the university’s Agnes Nixon New Play Award and was selected for a showcase reading directed by Jason Southerland of Evanston’s Next Theatre.  She also produced the short film, Girl Parts—a gender-bending satire by Erik Gernand—which was awarded a generous grant from actor/director Zach Braff and is broadcast nationally on the Logo Channel (MTV Networks).  Prior to graduate school, Carrie spent eight years writing, teaching, directing and performing comedy at Chicago’s storied i.O. Theater (formerly known as Improv Olympic). Among her favorite productions are Case Study, her solo show directed by Abby Sher, produced by i.O. and the critically acclaimed southern variety show The Fowler Family Radio Hour which she co-wrote and performed and which was selected for Second City’s Unhinged series and the 2007-2009 Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festivals in Charleston, SC.  She received her BFA in fine arts photography and video art from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Carrie currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and is a weekly contributor to the alternative comedy-variety show If This Doesn’t Work I’m Moving Home, which was featured in the January 2010 issue of Los Angeles Magazine.  

Anne Washburn
Anne Washburn’s work — which includes Apparition, The Communist Dracula Pageant, I Have Loved Strangers, The Ladies, The Internationalist, The Small, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and a transadaptation of Euripides’ Orestes — has  been produced by 13P, American Repertory Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, The Folger Theatre, London’s Gate Theatre, NYC’s Soho Rep, DC’s Studio Theater, Two River Theater, and NYC’s The Vineyard Theater.  She is an associated artist with 13P, The Civilians, New Georges, and New Dramatists.  Support includes MacDowell and Yaddo fellowships, a Bug ‘n Bub, a Time Warner Storytelling fellowship, and a Guggenheim.  
 
James McLindon
After graduating from Harvard Law School, James McLindon practiced law before returning to his first passion, writing plays. He is currently in residence at CAP21 in New York developing his play, Salvation, which will be produced there next season.  In the last two years, he has had 15 plays produced in theaters across America and the United Kingdom.  His plays have been developed and/or produced at theaters such as the Irish Repertory, Abingdon, hotINK Festival, Samuel French Ten-Minute Play Festival, Lark Theatre, Estrogenius Festival, Penguin Repertory Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, Love Creek Productions, and Astoria Performing Arts Center in New York; Crossing the Divide Festival in the West End of London; Victory Gardens, Prop Thtr, and Stage Left in Chicago; Lyric Stage and Boston Playwrights Theatre in Boston; Colony Theatre, Theatricum Botanicum, and Circus Theatricals in Los Angeles; the PlayPenn Conference in Philadelphia; the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in Idaho; the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, the Arkansas Rep in Little Rock, and the Ashland New Plays Festival in Oregon. His plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing and Level 4 Press. Mr. McLindon has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best New Play and been a finalist for the Kaufman and Hart Prize for New American Comedy and the Heideman Award for ten-minute plays offered by the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville.  He has won the John Gassner Playwriting Award, the Jane Bingham Prize, the Siena College International Playwrights Competition, the Grove Theatre Center New Play competition, the HRC Showcase Theatre’s W. Keith Hedrick Playwriting Competition, the Firehouse Center for the Arts New Works Festival, the Nancy Weil New Play competition, the John Gassner New Play Festival, the Eileen Heckart Full-length Drama competition, and the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Playwriting Competition.

WRITERS-IN-RESIDENCE BIOS – NPC 2010
Alfred Uhry
Alfred Uhry is the only American playwright to have won a Pulitzer Prize, An Academy Award, and two Tony Awards.  A graduate of Brown University, Uhry began his professional career as a lyric writer under contract to the late Frank Loesser.  In that capacity he made his Broadway debut in 1968 with Here’s Where I Belong.  Mr. Uhry his first major success came when he collaborated with Robert Waldman on a musical adaptation of Eudora Welty’s The Robber Bridegroom, which opened at the Mark Taper Forum in 1976 and went on to Broadway, winning him his first Tony nomination.  He followed that with five re-created musicals at the Goodspeed Opera House. His first play, Driving Miss Daisy opened at Playwrights Horizons Theatre in New York in 1987.  It moved subsequently to the John Houseman Theatre where it ran for three years and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.  The film version, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1990.  The film also won The Best Picture Award. His next play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  It opened on Broadway the next year where it ran for over 500 performances and won Uhry the Outer Critics Circle Award, The Drama League Award and the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play. His book for the musical, Parade, directed by Harold Prince, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, won the Tony Award in 1999.  A revised production at the Donmar Theatre in London won Mr. Uhry an Olivier Award Nomination and went on to Los Angeles, where it opened to rave reviews in October, 2009. His play, Without Walls, starring Laurence Fishburne, opened at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in June, 2006. His next play, Edgardo Mine, played the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2006, his book for Lovemusik, a musical about Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, ran on Broadway in 2007.  It was directed by Harold Prince.  Lovemusic won Mr. Uhry another Drama Desk nomination. He is currently finishing a play commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Chris D’Arienzo
Chris D’Arienzo wrote the book for Rock of Ages currently playing on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.  Chris recently completed his directorial debut, Barry Munday  a film starring Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Jean Smart, Malcolm McDowell, Cybill Shepherd and Billy Dee Williams.  Currently, Chris is developing a one-hour drama for HBO with Tobey Maguire as well as the feature film adaptation of Rock of Ages for New Line Cinema.

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