The O'Neill to Celebrate the Town of Waterford at Annual Summer Gala, 7/23

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The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is excited to announce its fourth annual Summer Gala. On Saturday, July 23rd at 6 p.m., A Celebration of the Town of Waterford will be held in the Sunken Garden on the O'Neill grounds, overlooking Long Island Sound. The evenings festivities will include cocktails, silent auction, dinner and performance.

In 1963, the Town of Waterford purchased the "Walnut Grove"estate from the Hammond family, for use as a park and public beach. At age 27, Waterford resident George C. White approached the Town about the use of the property buildings as a theater center, and in 1964, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center was founded. In the ensuing 47 years, the O'Neill's success would not have been possible without the partnership of the Town of Waterford and its residents. The bucolic campus continues to provide inspiration to hundreds of authors and artists as they create new classics for the stage. In 2011, the O'Neill and the Town signed a new 40-year Lease with extension options to guarantee the success of the Theater and the renown of the Town for decades to come. The O'Neill celebrates this legacy and expresses its gratitude to the residents of the Town of Waterford for our home.

The Honorary Committee members for the Summer Gala includes Tom Viertel & Pat Daily, Michael Douglas, & Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Gigliotti, Stephen & Ruth Hendel, Rita & Myron Hendel, Hugh Mackenzie, Sr., John & Dyanne Rafal, Thomas A. &, Peggy Sheridan, Dan & Kathy Steward, and George C. & Betsy White

O'Neill Executive Director, Preston Whiteway remarked, "Few landlord-tenant relationships are more productive and successful than the one between the Town of Waterford and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. The O'Neill's great body of work would not have been possible without the inspiration and artistic seclusion that comes from the beautiful grounds of the former Hammond Estate, now the wonderful O'Neill grounds, owned by the Town of Waterford. July 23rdwill be a night of celebration to honor the Town, its leaders, and all of its residents for the decades of support. This March, Dan Steward, Waterford First Selectman, and I signed a new Lease, which gives the O'Neill right to these grounds for another 60 years. For these reasons and more, we celebrate and thank the Town."

Guest seats are $175, with an optional special rate of $150 for Waterford residents. $250 and $500 seats are also available for individuals and include a Commemorative Program listing at the Patron level or quarter-page ad at the Benefactor level. 10-seat Benefactor and Sponsor tables are $5,000 and $10,000 and include a half or whole page ad in the Commemorative Program respectively. We're also in the process of collecting merchandise and gift certificates for the Silent Auction. Donations to this event are tax-deductible contributions that help the O'Neill continue to develop new works for the American stage while exposing donor companies and products to our exclusive attendees. Donors will also be listed in the event program, 2012 summer season Playbill, and their merchandise will be on display through the event. For reservations, donations, or more information contact Suzanne Hendrix, 860.443.5378 x217, or email shendrix@theoneill.org.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is the recipient of two Tony Awards, in 2010 for Regional Theatre, and in 1979 for Theatrical Excellence.

The O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. The O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and 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.

O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, and the National Theater Institute, which conducts semester-long intensive theater training programs as well as Theatermakers, a six-week summer program.

The O'Neill also owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage, boyhood summer home of Eugene O'Neill and setting for his plays Ah Wilderness! and Long Day's Journey Into Night. The museum is a registered National Historic Landmark and is open to the public during the summer season.

In addition to its Tony recognition, the O'Neill has received the National Opera Award, the Jujamcyn Award for Theatre Excellence, and the Arts and Business Council Encore Award. For more information, visit www.theoneill.org or email theaterlives@theoneill.org.

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