Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Conferences, Festivals & Special Events

Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Conferences, Festivals & Special Events

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center will commemorate its 50th Anniversary this year through a variety of programming and special events. The year will include its 14th Annual Monte Cristo Award, which will celebrate and honor the work of legendary theater, film, and television actress Meryl Streep this Spring. The O'Neill will unveil a special exhibition at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; and on the same date, they will celebrate the launch of its book The O'Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater through Yale University Press.

The Monte Cristo Award will take place at the Edison Ballroom in New York City on April 21, 2014. The Monte Cristo Award is presented to a prominent theater artist each year in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O'Neill's "pioneering spirit, unceasing artistic commitment, and excellence." Past recipients of the Award include Christopher Plummer, Michael Douglas, James Earl Jones, Harold Prince, Kevin Spacey, Neil Simon, Jason Robards, Jr., Edward Albee, August Wilson, Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, Karl Malden, Arthur & Barbara Gelb, and Wendy Wasserstein.

This year's Monte Cristo Award will be presented to Meryl Streep by Joe Grifasi, a long-time friend, fellow O'Neill artist, and Yale classmate, at the gala dinner.

From May 17, 2014 through September 13, 2014, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center will host a special exhibition - which is free and open to the public - dedicated to the rich history of the O'Neill. The exhibition, titled Launchpad of the American Theater: the O'Neill since 1964, will chart the journey from past to present to future with drawings, interviews, video, photographs, original scripts, and sound.

During a private event at the exhibition on May 16, 2014, guests will celebrate the book launch of The O'Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater by author, playwright, critic and O'Neill alumnus Jeffrey Sweet and published by Yale University Press with forewords by Michael Douglas and Meryl Streep. As the old ways of the commercial theater were dying and American playwriting was in crisis, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center arose as a midwife to new plays and musicals, introducing some of the most exciting talents of our time (including August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and Christopher Durang) and developing works that went on to win Pulitzer Prizes and Tony Awards. Along the way, it collaborated with then-unknown performers (like Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Courtney Vance, and Angela Bassett) and inspired Robert Redford in his creation of the Sundance Institute. This is the story of a theatrical laboratory, a place that transformed American theater, film, and television. The book will officially release on May 27, 2014.

The O'Neill will celebrate the landmark year at home and on the road with its thousands of alumni, across all programs. Alumni will reunite for Homecoming Weekend on July 4, 5, and 6, offering play and musical readings, tours of the new construction, cocktail receptions and pub nights with live entertainment. Free alumni events will be held in Louisville, KY, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in the spring and fall of 2014.

The O'Neill's annual Summer Gala is one of the region's most anticipated events. On July 11, 2014, guests will enjoy dinner, drinks, a silent auction and live entertainment. Past entertainers have included the cast of "In the Heights," Charles "Roc" Dutton and Kermit the Frog.

Other important dates and activities include:

2014 Summer Conferences
National Puppetry Conference: June 11-22, 2014
National Music Theater Conference: June 28-July 10, 2014
National Critics Institute: June 28-July 13, 2014
National Playwrights Conference: July 2-19, 2014
Cabaret & Performance Conference: July 23-August 2, 2014

*dates subject to change

National Theater Institute (NTI) Company Debut
May 2 and 3, 2014

NTI Spring 2014 students utilize the techniques and craft acquired during their 14 weeks at the NTI to present an original work. The capstone of their training, this performance is self-devised and will celebrate the life of Eugene O'Neill and the historic township of New London, CT. The company debut is free and open to the public.

Young Playwrights Festival
May 11, 2014

The Young Playwrights Festival offers middle school and high school students the change to submit plays for development over the course of one weekend. Students whose work is selected are paired with a director, dramaturg, designer and a team of actors to bring their script to life. The staged readings of these works are free and open to the public.

15th Annual Eugene O'Neill Celebration
October 24 and 25, 2014

Every October at New London's Monte Cristo Cottage - the childhood home of Eugene O'Neill - the pioneering legacy of America's great dramatist is celebrated with film screenings, staged readings of his work, panel discussions and guided tours of the Cottage. This year's events - occurring October 17 and 18, 2014 - will focus specifically on O'Neill's famous stage directions and feature the New York Neo-Futurists, a National Theater Institute alumni company.

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