The cast of Mike Lew's "Tiger Style!" rehearse at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. (Photo by A. Vincent Scarano)

Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Sets 2016 Summer Season

Works by Mike Lew, Aurin Squire, and Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri will be in development at the center’s conferences this summer.

WATERFORD, CONN.: The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center has selected the works it will develop during its 2016 summer season as part of the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, and Cabaret & Performance Conference. There will be public workshop readings of eight plays, three musicals, and six cabaret acts.

“The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center boldly continues our mission as launchpad of the American theatre with our 2016 professional season,” said executive director Preston Whiteway in a statement. “The artists selected across our programs, from over 2,000 applicants, are adding exciting and necessary ideas and pieces that will play our nation’s stages for years to come.”

The National Playwrights Conference, led by artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg, will run July 7–30. The lineup will include the following works:

  • Aurin Squire’s Running on Fire, about a college student accused of a crime
  • Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick, a modern take on Richard III set in high school
  • Matt Schatz’s The Burdens, a dark comedy about two adult siblings who conspire to help their mother get rid of their grandfather
  • Kathryn Walat’s Small Town Values, a love story
  • Sylvia Khoury’s Against the Hillside, about a Pakistani couple and a soldier in New Mexico who pilots the drones over their region
  • Kate Tarker’s Laura and the Sea, a comedy about what happens to a travel agent’s colleagues after she kills herself
  • Tegan McLeod’s Girls in Cars Underwater, about a woman whose new work friendships could be compromised by events in her past
  • Keith Huff’s Up The Hill, about two Congressional interns whose ideologies are crushed by the realities of politics

In addition, Pulitzer finalist Stephen Karam will be the summer’s writer-in-residence. The Playwrights Conference is the O’Neill’s founding program. Since 1964, the conference has developed more than 600 plays. The plays are selected via an open submission process. This year’s pool was selected from more than 1,400 submitted plays.

The National Music Theater Conference, led by artistic director Paulette Haupt, will run June 25–July 15. The lineup will include the following works:

  • David H. Bell (book and lyrics) and Daniel Green (music and lyrics), The Museum of Broken Relationships, about a relationship that experiences trouble after a visit to an art gallery
  • Zakiyyah Alexander (book and lyrics) and Imani Uzuri (music and lyrics), GIRL Shakes Loose, a coming-of-age story
  • Daniel Zaitchik (book, music, and lyrics), Darling Grenadine, about the life of a songwriter

The National Music Theater Conference as founded in 1978 and has developed more than 130 musicals. This year’s pool were selected from 285 submissions.

The Cabaret & Performance Conference, under artistic director John McDaniel, will run Aug. 3–13. It will showcase up-and-coming performers to the cabaret scene. The 2016 performers will be:

  • Brad Simmons’ Paul Simon Show: August 4
  • Norm Lewis: August 5
  • Molly Pope: August 6
  • Barb Jungr and Lennie Watts: August 7
  • Melissa Manchester: August 9
  • Cabaret Junior Fellows: August 10
  • Cabaret Fellows: August 11
  • Karen Mason: August 12

Applications for the cabaret fellows will be accepted through April 29. Auditions for junior cabaret fellows are April 9 in Waterford and April 10 in New York City.

In addition to the aforementioned conferences, the National Puppetry Conference will run June 8–19, with performances June 17–18. The performers and resident artists will be announced at a later date.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center was founded in 1964 as a development hub for new work. It is home to the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, National Theater Institute, and National Critics Institute.

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