Monday, July 6, 2015
STRIKE GOLD AT THE O’NEILL
THEATER UNDER AN ANCIENT COPPER BEECH TREE, ONE OF FOUR THEATERS AT THE O'NEILL
If you were a prospector looking for gold, you would be advised to take your pickaxe and pan to Waterford. There you are guaranteed to strike the Mother Lode provided you are seeking gem stones and precious minerals in the entertainment category. For Waterford is the long time site of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the place where traditionally new productions are incubated and launched.
Now in its 51st season, this yet-to-be discovered by many “theatrical jewel" has a summer packed with rich veins of gold. The month of June saw the National Puppetry Conference exploring and experimenting with furry and feathered creatures of all shapes and sizes, under the auspices of Artistic Director Pam Arciero. Her incredible background at “Sesame Street” and beyond makes her an excellent “puppeteer” to lead this colorful parade of creativity.
The month of July is shared by the National Music Theatre Conference, under the leadership of Paulette Haupt for over three decades. A trio of new musicals have been selected from more than 100 submitted: “Slaughterhouse-Five,” music by Jed Feuer and book and lyrics by Adele Ahronheim; “We Live in Cairo,” music by Daniel Lazour, lyrics of Patrick Lazour and book by both men; and, “ZM,” music by Mark Hollmann, book by Greg Kotis and lyrics by both men. Staged readings are taking place until July 10. Come experience Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel as it explodes into musical life, join a revolution by youth in Egypt and watch how an innocent sandwich transforms people into zombies.
Also in July take a trip on the wild side at the National Playwrights Conference led by Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg who has been spearheading this project for over a decade. An unbelievable 1300 play submissions were received and whittled down to a promising eight: “Leftovers” by Josh Wilder; “Good Ol’ Boys” by Joe Waechter; “End of Shift” by Jenny Connell Davis; “No One’s Sonata” by Steven Sater; “Cardboard Piano” by Hansol Jung; “Halftime with Don” by Ken Weitzman; “Nomad Motel” by Carla Ching; and “Slow Food” by Wendy MacLeod.
Be intrigued by staged readings until July 25, of plays that deal with such diverse topics as wishes, a mysterious giant deer, a hero’s tribute, a musical anniversary party, a secret marriage in a war torn land, a football star’s sacrifice, two kids who find each other and how an anniversary meal has a dessert of question mark pie.
From July 29 to August 8, the O’Neill welcomes cabaret performers for intimate evenings of musical delight. Go to www.theoneill.org or call 860-443-1238 for specific dates and performers. General admission to the plays and musicals is $28 and for the cabaret $35 and $50, with premium seating available. Spoiler alert: Shirley Jones’ show on August 7 is already sold out. The Blue Gene’s Pub is available before and after show times for some smooth libations. Be sure to check out the row of New England style housing that has been newly erected for all the O’Neill guests and visitors on site.
Strike it rich in the gold mine that is the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and stake your claim for exciting and innovative entertainment.