Monday, July 4, 2011


Chris Cragin, Son of a Gun

Don Chaffer, Son of a Gun

Rose Barn Theater, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Waterford

If you knew for certain that there was gold buried in the hills of Waterford, would you grab a pickaxe and head off to stake your claim?  No prospector tools are necessary to mine this gem as it is the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and its treasures are there for the taking.

Every summer this wonderful enclave sponsors a series of exciting events starting with an International Puppetry Conference in June.  This year’s offerings were “Wake Up Your Weird” by Leslie Carrara Rudolph and Michelle Spears and “Desert Flight(s):  Prehistoric Puppetry” with Roman Paska.  This is where the ever popular “Avenue Q” got its launch.

Every winter and spring, hundreds of new plays are submitted for consideration at the “National Playwrights Conference” in July.  From this hefty number, eight are selected for a full workshop and staged reading.  This year’s winners are “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley about suspected abuses against children as a young cyberdetective questions a prominent businessman to uncover the truth.  Performances are tonight at 8:15 p.m.

In “The Happiest Song Plays Last” by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the lives of two cousins are explored, one who lives in Jordan and one in Philadelphia, and how they are connected by humanity.  Performances are Friday, July 8 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 9 at 8:15 p.m.

Christina Anderson’s “Good Goods” deals with a comedy duo who have broken up and the fatal accident that brings them together and changes everything.  Performances are Wednesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 14 at 8:15 p.m.

In Anna Ziegler’s “The Incident,” a family visit to their son at a Maine sleep away camp takes a dramatic turn when the son, always a difficult child, suddenly disappears.  Performances are Friday, July 15 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 16 at 8:15 p.m.  From a play about Maine, the action turns due south to a weather station in Antarctica where a community of lonely souls grapples with a city where the sun disappears for months on end.  To see Keith Reddin’s “Acquainted with the Night,” go on Wednesday, July 20 or Thursday, July 21 at 8:15 p.m.

Take a leap into cyperspace with a trio of video gamers who are asked by the government to play war games for real in Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “Leveling Up.”  Performances are Friday, July 22 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 23 at 3:15 p.m. Enter the mind of a 12 year old teenage boy who is part superhero and part genius and is trying to control the world as he knows it or at least perceives it to be in “ The Troublemaker Project” by Dan LeFranc.  Performances are Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 at 8:15p.m.

Hip-hop your way with Idris Goodwin’s “How We Got On” as a DJ/Narrator invites us to rap with a trio of Midwestern teens to discover their rhythm and harmony.  Performances are Friday, July 29 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 30 at 8:15 p.m.

The National Music Theater Conference this year has four offerings to tempt your palate.  In “Unknown Soldier” by Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman, a love story spans two generations as a grandmother and granddaughter search the past for an unforgettable soul.  Performances were last week.

There is still time to catch the last performance of “Son of a Gun” by Chris Cragin and Don Chaffer on Friday, July 8 at 7 p.m. and enter the world of an eccentric bluegrass rock family band that has to cope with medical emergencies and personal crises.
In “Suprema” by Jordan Harrison and Daniel Zaitchik, a stranger than fiction story, a triangular love tale, about the creator of both Wonder Woman and the lie-detector test unfolds.  Performances are Saturday, July 9 at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. and Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m.

For a cabaret musical set in a Parisian cemetery, look no further than “The Shadow Sparrow” by Anton Dudley, Charlie Sohne and Keith Gordon.  Discover a woman who desires fame and a man who wants to find the mother he never knew.  Performances are tonight at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 10 at 2:30 p.m. and Thursday, July 14 at 8 p.m.

For tickets ($28) to any performance, call the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford (exit 75, off I-95) at 860-443-5378 or online at Also check out the “Sing For Your Supper” Cabaret Conference in August.

Unleash your prospecting acuity as you mine the abundance of theatrical riches at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center that are just waiting to be discovered.  Claim your golden nuggets now.

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