Adam Gwon, Sarah Hammond and Deborah Zoe Laufer Join 92Y's Fall 2014 O'Neill Center Tribute
Join O'Neill Center artistic directors Wendy Goldberg, of the National Playwrights Conference, and Paulette Haupt, of the National Music Theater Conference, distinguished alumni Adam Gwon, Sarah Hammond and Deborah Zoe Laufer, and moderator Anne G. Morgan, for a look at the O'Neill's influential role as a theatrical laboratory over the last 50 years.
As planning for the summer 2015 season gets underway, what is the process for gathering and selecting the next great American plays and musicals? The winner of two Tony Awards, the O'Neill -- named after Eugene -- focuses on the script and guides writers, directors and other theater artists through their journeys from creation to production. Classic works originating at the O'Neill include John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others and August Wilson's Fences, as well as the musicals Violet, Avenue Q and In the Heights.
Wendy C. Goldberg is celebrating her 10th season as Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference. Under Goldberg's tenure, the O'Neill was awarded the 2010 Regional Tony Award, the first play development and education organization to receive this honor. In addition, Goldberg has overseen the development of more than 70 projects for the stage, many of which have gone on to great acclaim with productions in New York and around the country. Among them are 2010 Susan and 2012 Smith Blackburn Award Winning plays (Julia Cho's The Language Archive and Jennifer Haley's The Nether), two American Theatre Critics Association Citation Award Winning Plays (Lee Blessing's Great Falls and Deb Zoe Laufer's End Days) and 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama (Lynn Nottage's Ruined), written in part while Nottage was a Writer-in-Residence at the O'Neill in the summer of 2006. In 2005, Goldberg included playwright Samuel D. Hunter, now an Obie Award winning playwright, in her first season as Artistic Director when he was still a student at the MFA Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa. Other critically acclaimed work developed at the O'Neill during Ms. Goldberg's tenure includes Adam Bock's The Receptionist, Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're in With, Jason Grote's 1001, and Julia Cho's Durango.
Adam Gwon is a composer and lyricist whose musicals Ordinary Days, Cloudlands, and The Boy Detective Fails have been produced at Roundabout Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, Signature Theatre, and around the globe, including in London's West End. His songs have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara, and Brian d'Arcy James. Honors include the Kleban, Ebb, and Loewe Awards for excellence in musical theater writing, Second Stage Theatre's Donna Perret Rosen Award, Weston Playhouse's New Musical Award, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Roundabout, Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, Signature Theatre, and Broadway Across America.
Paulette Haupt was a co-founder and has served as Artistic Director for the National Music Theater Conference at the O'Neill since 1978. In that capacity, she has selected and guided the development of more than one hundred musicals, including Maury Yeston, Mario Fratti, and Arthur Kopit's Nine; Enid Futterman and Howard Marren's Portrait of Jennie; Joe Masteroff and Edward Thomas' Desire Under the Elms; Patrick Cook and Frederick Freyer's Captains Courageous; John Jiler and Ray Leslee's Avenue X; Polly Pen's Christina Alberta's Father; Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet; Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party; Stuart Ross and Debra Barsha's Radiant Baby; Kirsten Child's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin; Tan Dun's Marco Polo; Jeff Whitty, Jeff Marx, and Robert Lopez's Avenue Q; Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's The Nightingale; and Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights.
Sarah Hammond is an alumna of New Dramatists, whose honors include Actors Theatre of Louisville's Heidemann Award, commissions from South Coast Rep and Broadway Across America, and a residency at the Royal National Theatre in London. Her play Green Girl was produced at the Summer Play Festival at the Public. She recently completed an MFA at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where she wrote book and lyrics for the full-length Barefoot Persephone; a puppet musical called "Cloud & Goat;" and two ten-minute musicals that have been seen at Great Barrington Stage Company, "Jack + Jill" and "People Are Dancing."
Deborah Zoe Laufer's plays have been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, and eighty other theaters around the country, in Germany, Russia and Canada. End Days and Leveling Up were developed at The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Informed Consent was developed at the O'Neill's Baltic Playwrights Conference, and will be produced at the Duke Theatre in NYC in 2015 by Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre through an Alfred P Sloan Foundation commission. End Days was awarded The ATCA Steinberg citation and appeared at EST through a Sloan Grant. Other plays include Sirens, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Meta, The Three Sisters of Weehawken, Fortune, The Gulf of Westchester, Miniatures, and Random Acts. Deb is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the Lilly Award and grants and commissions from The Edgerton Foundation, the NEA and NNPN.
Anne G. Morgan is the Literary Manager at the O'Neill, where she provides dramaturgical support to the center's programs and manages the center's selection processes (about 1,500 applications). At the O'Neill she has served as dramaturg on new pieces by David Auburn, Hilary Bettis, Bekah Brunstetter, A. Rey Pamatmat, and Sam Willmott. Additionally, she has supported projects by Nilo Cruz, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Kathryn Walat, Jordan Harrison, and Daniel Zaitchik, among others. Anne has represented the O'Neill internationally at the Baltic Playwrights Conference and the Latvian Academy of Culture and has taught dramaturgy and script analysis at the University of Connecticut, the National Theater Institute, and the American College Theater Festival. Prior to the O'Neill, Anne worked in Boston at the Huntington Theatre Company and Company One. Dramaturgy credits include The Aliens, The Emancipation of Mandy and Miz Ellie, and The Overwhelming (Company One); Of Mice and Men (New Rep on Tour); and Little Women (Emerson Stage).
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