O'Neill Center Receives NEA Funding for 2014 National Playwrights and Music Theater Conferences

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is one of 895 nonprofit organizations nationwide granted federal funding through an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, announced last week by NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. The O'Neill will receive $55,000 to support the continued development of new work during its 2014 National Playwrights and National Music Theater Conferences. The O'Neill received a $50,000 NEA grant last year.

The National Playwrights Conference and National Music Theater Conference support the creation and development of new plays and music theater works by emerging and mid-career artists. Approximately 1,500 manuscripts are received each year through an open-submission process. Two to four musicals and six to eight plays are selected. August Wilson's Fences, currently in production at Long Wharf Theater; John Guare's House of Blue Leaves; Jeff Whitty and Robert Lopez's Avenue Q; and Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston's Nine are among the hundreds of theatrical works born on the Waterford, CT campus.

Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts."

"The O'Neill is grateful for the NEA's increase in support, particularly as we approach our 50th Anniversary season," said O'Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway. "Such an endorsement is a clear vote of confidence in the O'Neill's mission: to discover, nurture, and develop new works and artists for the American stage. This grant will ensure the O'Neill's capability to propel the next generation of American writers."

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $ 23.4 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at www.arts.gov.

About the O'Neill: Founded in 1964, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for American theater. In the bold tradition of its namesake Eugene O'Neill - four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and America's only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature - the O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and to more than 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, and major regional theaters.

Recipient of a 2010 Tony Award for Regional Theatre and 1979 Tony Award for Theatrical Excellence, O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and the National Theater Institute (NTI). NTI offers intensive theater training programs for academic credit, including the Moscow Art Theater Semester (MATS), a semester of study abroad, as well as the six-week summer program Theatermakers.

The O'Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The childhood summer home of Eugene O'Neill, the Cottage is a National Historic Landmark.

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