Jessica Vosk, Julia Murney & More Will Star in New Works at Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Summer Conference
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center announces casting and creative teams for the summer season of new musicals and plays selected for development at the National Music Theater Conference and National Playwrights Conference.
Among the actors premiering new work are: Janet Dacal, Charl Brown, Jessica Vosk, Cathy Ang, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Julia Murney, Nick Westrate, Tiffany Villarin, Emily Dorsch, Alex Mickiewicz, Marianne Rendón, and Victor Williams. Creative teams feature: Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Jaki Bradley, Erin Ortman, Ethan Heard, Wendy C. Goldberg, Robert O'Hara, and Daniella Topol. Public, staged readings of each work-in-development will be presented at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, recipient of two Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts. Tickets are on sale now. More information: www.theoneill.org/summer.
The National Music Theater Conference, in its second year under Artistic Director Alexander Gemignani, will present three new works by a slate of up-and-coming music theater writers.
Book by Aryanna Garber
Music & Lyrics by Benjamin Velez
Director: Jaki Bradley
Music Director: David Gardos
Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter
Synopsis: After being expelled from college, Anna is stuck with her soon-to-be-remarried father and a revolving door of therapists - thanks to court-mandated probation. This, coupled with a new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, forces Anna to grapple with demons she has always lived with but never had a name for, until now. Through a unique fusion of pop melodies, jazz harmonies, funk beats and hypnotic waltzes, the score captures the chaotic beauty of a psyche. As this darkly comedic musical asks, how do you reach out for help when you're afraid to admit you're sick? Benjamin Velez's work has been produced at Ars Nova, Joe's Pub/The Public Theater, York Theater, and others; his musical, Kiss My Aztec, written with John Leguizamo will receive its world premiere at Berkeley Rep this spring. Aryanna Garber has worked for HBO, Lincoln Center, PYPO and more. Aryanna and Benjamin won the 2018 Weston New Musical Award for Borderline and are 2018-19 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows.
Readings: June 22 at 7pm; June 23 at 3pm; June 26 at 8pm; June 28 at 7pm
Book by Lauren M. Gunderson
Music & Lyrics by Ari Ayesha Afsar
Director: Erin Ortman
Music Director: Adam Kaufman
Dramaturg: Allison Horsley
Cast: Rajeer Alford, Janet Dacal, Dan Domenech, Layan Elwazani, Rodd Farhadi, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Em Grosland, Julia Murney, Geena Quintos, Nicholas Ryan, Nikhil Saboo, Rachel Schmeling, Princess Sasha Victome, & Jessica Vosk
Synopsis: An epic pop musical based on the true story of America's first congresswoman, JEANNETTE electrifies history of suffrage activist, social worker, and Montanan Jeannette Rankin. Elected to U.S. Congress in 1916 - three years before women are granted the right to vote - Jeannette finds herself the only female voice within the halls of power to vote on women's suffrage. Written by America's most produced playwright Lauren M. Gunderson and pop sensation Ari Ayesha Afsar, JEANNETTE heralds one person's radical voice in America's ongoing journey toward equal rights for all.
Readings: June 29 at 7pm; June 30 at 3pm; July 3 at 8pm; July 5 at 7pm
Book & Lyrics by Hansol Jung
Lyrics & Music by Brian Quijada
Director: Ethan Heard
Music Director: Charity Wicks
Dramaturg: Lexy Leuszler
Synopsis: The year is 1923, and people are flocking to America - including Jin, a recently orphaned Korean girl fleeing her ravaged homeland. Illegal alien Jin lands in Seattle and soon finds herself inducted into the underground robin-hooding world of the Undesirables: the nonwhite, female-representing, unimportant nobodies with bad papers and super powers. Using a blended score of live-looped Electro Pop, Bomba Reggaeton, American Folk, Hip Hop, Gregorian Chants, and Spoken Word, Undesirables explores what happens when the Have-Nots find themselves with more power than anyone could have anticipated? And what would happen if they decided to use it against the Haves? Hansol Jung's plays have been seen at The Public Theater, the Humana Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, and more. Brian Quijada's work has been seen at Victory Gardens, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Boise Contemporary Theatre, and more.
Readings: July 6 at 7pm; July 7 at 3pm; July 10 at 8pm; July 12 at 7pm
Casting by Tara Rubin Casting.
Writers who have previously developed work at the National Music Theater Conference include: Michael R. Jackson & Anna Jacob's Teeth; Tom Kitt and John Logan's Superhero; Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' In the Heights; Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx's Avenue Q; Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth's In Transit, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party; Kirsten Child's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin; Arthur Kopit, Mario Fratti, and Maury Yeston's Nine; and Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet.
Actors who performed with the National Music Theater Conference early in their careers include: Laura Benanti, Adam Chanler-Berat, Phoenix Best, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Laura Bell Bundy, Josh Breckenridge, Carolee Carmello, Kevin Chamberlin, Kristin Chenoweth, Jenn Colella, Colin Hanlon, Ann Harada, Christian Hoff, Christopher Jackson, Steve Kazee, Marc Kudish, Jose Llana, Adriane Lenox, Kyle McArthur, Howard McGillin, Mary Kate Morrissey, Javier Muñoz, Julia Murney, Christine Noll, Kerry O'Malley, Nancy Opel, Mary Beth Peil, MJ Rodriguez, Anika Noni Rose, John Tartaglia, Wesley Taylor, Mary Testa, Barbara Walsh, Akron Watson, Kate Wetherhead, Betsy Wolfe, Lauren Worsham, Jo Lampert, and John Lloyd Young.
The O'Neill's founding program, the National Playwrights Conference will present eight new works by a broad mix of brand new and mid-career artists led by Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg:
Death of the Republic
By Craig Lucas
Director: Wendy C. Goldberg
Dramaturg: Tanya Palmer
Cast to be announced
Synopsis: Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominated writer Craig Lucas comes to the O'Neill for the first time with his latest work, Death of the Republic. This provocative new play dramatizes the passionate intellectual relationship between a moral philosopher and his finest pupil - and what happens when someone seems to want what they should not. Best known for Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza, and An American in Paris, the O'Neill is thrilled to kick off NPC 2019 with Lucas's explosive new drama that explores the terrible consequences unleashed when our aspirations crash into our hidden shadows.
Reading: July 3 at 8:15pm
By Zayd Dohrn
Director: Patricia McGregor
Dramaturg: John Baker
Synopsis: Faculty and students at a modern university are confronted with the fallout from a political provocateur's invitation to speak on campus - and the violent reaction his appearance provokes. Zayd Dohrn's plays have been seen at Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, and more. The winner of the Horton Foote Playwriting Prize, he is currently the Director of the MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage at Northwestern University.
Readings: July 5 & 6 at 7:15pm
it's not a trip it's a journey
Director: Nicole A. Watson
Dramaturg: Liz Frankel
Synopsis: june needs a journey. like now. so she convinces three friends to join her on a road trip west. it's not a trip it's a journey is a play about tumbleweed, friendship, being black, and needing to soothe something you don't have the words for. Charly Evon Simpson's work has been seen or developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ars Nova, P73, The Lark, PlayMakers Repertory Company, and more; select plays include Behind the Sheet, Jump, and form of a girl unknown.
Readings: July 10 & 11 at 8:15pm
By George Brant
Director Henry Godinez:
Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter
Cast to be announced
Synopsis: Desperate for work, Martín applies for a position at the local Walmart-turned-Immigration Detention Center - and finds himself charged with the task of supervising child refugees who have been separated from their parents at the nearby southern border. When a terrifying epidemic begins to spread throughout the center, Martín has no choice but to break with protocol. George Brant's work has been produced nationally and internationally at The Public, The Atlantic Theater, London's Gate Theatre and more; select commendations include a Lucille Lortel Award, the Smith Prize, and the Keene Prize for Literature.
Readings: July 12 & 13 at 7:15pm
By Anna Ziegler
Director: Casey Stangl
Dramaturg: Kristin Leahey
Synopsis: Women's bodies and the body politic collide in this arresting new Antigone for the #metoo moment. As this funny, lyrical retelling of the classic play asks, how can we possibly change the world if we don't even own our own bodies? Anna Ziegler's plays include the widely produced Photograph 51 (directed on the West End by Michael Grandage and starring Nicole Kidman), The Last Match (Old Globe Theatre; Roundabout Theatre) and Actually (Geffen Playhouse; Williamstown Theatre Festival; Manhattan Theatre Club), which is currently being developed as a series at HBO.
Readings: July 17 & 18 at 8:15pm
By Tearrance Chisholm
Director: Roy Alexander Weise
Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter
Synopsis: A theatrical reimagination of the 1970s Blaxploitation film genre, Black Dick follows James Flood, a jaded black detective in the Houston Special Victims Unit, as he obsesses over his latest assignment: the abduction of a 14-year-old white girl. This anti-buddy cop play pits book smarts against street smarts, with some squabbles over pricey coffee and fish store escapades thrown in for good measure. Tearrance Chisholm's work has been seen or developed at Studio Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Sundance Theater Lab, Theatre 503, and others.
Readings:July 19 at 7:15pm & July 20 at 3:15pm
Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play
By Kimber Lee
Director: Robert O'Hara
Dramaturg: Lexy Leuszler
Synopsis: A woman trapped in a cycle that bleeds through time and space looks for a way out. Kimber Lee's plays have been produced or developed at the Lincoln Center/LCT3, the Humana Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Rep/The Ground Floor, and more.
Readings: July 24 & 25 at 8:15pm
By Laura Neill
Director: Daniella Topol
Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado
Synopsis: The Hamptons: winter. When the waterfront mansion of a "summer person" burns to the ground, simmering economic and racial tensions begin to rise - and the witch-hunt for a culprit begins. In this sharply funny love-hate letter to a complicated community, Laura Neill traces this incident's impact on the lives of five local women and their families. Laura's work has been developed or commissioned by SpeakEasy Stage, OperaHub, Wilbury Theatre Group, and Fresh Ink Theatre.
Readings: July 26 & 27 at 7:15pm
Casting by David Caparelliotis.
The National Playwrights Conference includes lighting design by Raquel Davis, Christian DeAngelis & Brian Lililenthal; sound design by M. Florian Staab & Matt Hubbs; and scenic design by Lawrence Moten.
Joining the National Playwrights Conference as writer-in-residence is Isaac Gomez.
Writers who have previously developed work at the National Playwrights Conference include: Edward Albee, David Auburn, Jeff Augustin, Tanya Barfield. Lee Blessing, Adam Bock, Kia Corthron, Christopher Durang, Inda Craig-Galván, John Guare, Lauren Gunderson, Joshua Harmon, Jeremy O. Harris, Beth Henley, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Keith Huff, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Stephen Karam, Greg Kotis, Tracy Letts, David Lindsay-Abaire, Martyna Majok. Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Robert O'Hara, Theresa Rebeck, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Sater, Robert Schenkkan, John Patrick Shanley, Michael Tucker, Alfred Uhry, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, and Lanford Wilson
Actors who performed with the National Playwrights Conference include: Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Michael Berresse, Reed Birney, Kate Burton, Johanna Day, Danny DeVito, Rosemarie Dewitt, Colman Domingo, Michael Douglas, Matt Doyle, Charles S. Dutton, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, America Ferrera, John Gallagher Jr., David Marshall Grant, Jayne Houdyshell, Marin Ireland, Bill Irwin, Nikki M. James, Jane Kaczmarek, Kevin Kline, T.R. Knight, Swoozie Kurtz, Judith Light, Mary McDonnell, Elizabeth Moss, Julia Murney, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary Beth Peil, Tonya Pinkins, Oliver Platt, Carrie Preston, Noah Robbins, Alan Ruck, Robert Schenkkan, Stephen Schnetzer, Margo Seiber, Amy Spanger, David Strathairn, Meryl Streep, Frances Sternhagen, John Turturro, Courtney B. Vance, Alice Ripley, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Michelle Wilson.
Tickets are on sale now. More information: www.theoneill.org/summer.
Funding for the 2019 National Music Theater Conference provided in part by: The National Endowment for the Arts, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Geraldine Stutz Trust, John Logan, Marty and Perry Granoff, Ellen Quinn
Funding for the 2019 National Playwrights Conference provided in part by: The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, John Logan, The National Endowment for the Arts, Burry Fredrik Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Geraldine Stutz Trust, Dramatists Play Service, Actor's Equity Foundation
About the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center: Founded in 1964, the O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater, and named in honor of 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 thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at theaters around the world. O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute - which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O'Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and National Medal of Arts. www.theoneill.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos