O'Neill Center Hosts 2013 Summer Gala Tonight

The Tony award-winning Eugene O'Neill Theater Center will hold its Annual Summer Gala tonight, July 20, in the Sunken Garden on the theater's grounds. The evening will begin at6:00 pm with cocktails and silent auction, followed by dinner and special program honoring key and longtime supporters of the O'Neill; Rita, Myron, Ruth and Stephen Hendel.

For nearly a century, the Hendels have had a profound impact upon Southeastern Connecticut, leaving a lasting footprint on the region's business and charitable community. Their business interests have ranged from furniture to fuel-oil delivery, retail gasoline and propane. Today they also operate the growing Henny Penny chain of gasoline stations and convenience stores and also continue to operate a wholesale gasoline business, primarily distributing Shell gasoline.

The Hendels have been an omnipresent part of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964. Rita and Myron Hendel served as Trustees of the organization beginning in the 1970s, and became honorary trustees in 2002. Their son Stephen Hendel is the current Treasurer of the Board and his wife Ruth serves as Vice-Chair. Ruth and Steve have produced many of Broadway's most successful shows, including Fela!, In the Heights, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The House of Blue Leaves;several of which were born at the O'Neill.

This year's Honorary Committee includes close friends, family, and colleagues of the Hendel's and the O'Neill, including Rabbi Carl Astor, Richard Digby Day, Donald & Shelly Daren, Steven & Debra Daren, Elizabeth & Anthony Enders, Teresa Eyring, Gail & Jack Feinberg, Jerome E. Fischer, Edie & Richard Freeman, Robyn Goodman, Jon & Hilary Hendel, Stephen & Marianne Mills, Dan & Kathy Steward, Pat Daily,Garry & Janet Weiss, O'Neill Founders George & Betsy White, Chairman Thomas Viertel, and Executive Director Preston Whiteway.

Whiteway remarked, "All of us are indebted to Rita, Myron, Ruth and Steve Hendel for their incredible and steadfast support for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and the lives they've touched throughout the this region. We are thrilled to be able to honor their contributions to our organization over these past decades. On a personal note, I am grateful for their continuing support and mentorship. I look forward to a very special celebration on July 20."

The annual gala benefits the O'Neill's year-round activities, dedicated to discovering and developing new work and voices for the American stage. For table and ticket reservations and additional information about the O'Neill's Summer Gala, please contact Ainslie Seeber, Special Events Manager, at (860) 443-5378 x285, events@theoneill.org, or visit www.theoneill.org.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is located at 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford, Conn.

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 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, and 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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