Monday, May 3, 2010

O'Neill Center Wins 2010 Regional Tony Award

The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT will receive the 2010 Regional Theatre Tony Award, presented on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics’ Association.

The award will be formally bestowed at the 64th Annual Tony Awards ceremony on June 13. The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®, which are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing will air live on CBS on June 13 from 8 to 11 pm (ET) from Radio City Music Hall in New York

The O'Neill is home to six distinct programs: the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Music Theater Conference, Puppetry Conference, National Theater Institute, Critics Institute and the Monte Cristo Cottage, O'Neill's childhood home located in neighboring New London.

The O’Neill was founded in 1964 by George C. White and named in honor of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. The organization previously received a special tony award in 1979.

The work of The O'Neill focuses on the script as it begins its journey to the stage. The actors work with minimal props and no sets or costumes, holding scripts in their hands, revealing for the first time the magic of a new play or musical, puppetry piece or cabaret act. Work first performed at The O'Neill has gone on to regional theaters, Broadway, movies and television. Students and professionals who have honed their skills at The O'Neill can be seen in these venues every day across the country. Others work behind the scenes as playwrights, directors, in stage management, publicity and a hundred other roles that the public never sees but are nonetheless essential to every production.

Among the 700 plays and musicals developed and premiered at The O'Neill are such notable works as John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet, Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others, Lee Blessing's A Walk in the Woods, and the Tony Award-winning Best Musicals Nine, Avenue Q and In the Heights.

Many works of August Wilson were developed at The O’Neill, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, and Fences, which won the 1987 Tony Award as Best Play and is currently in revival on Broadway starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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