The O'Neill Announces Casts and Creatives For 2018 Summer Season Of New Musicals and Plays

By: Jun. 21, 2018

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: David Wilson Barnes, Catherine Curtin, Lori Tan Chinn, Rheaume Crenshaw. Annie Golden, Marin Ireland, John Earl Jelks, Elizabeth Ward Land, Jo Lampert, Jiehae Park, Bobby Steggert. Creative teams feature: Mark Brokaw, Sammi Cannold, John Clancy, Kent Gash, Wendy C. Goldberg, Robert O'Hara, Awoye Timpo, Lee Savage, Jamshied Sharifi, and Evan Yionoulis. Public, staged readings of each play will be presented at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, recipient of two Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts.

The National Music Theater Conference, in its inaugural year under Artistic Director Alexander Gemignani, will present three new works by a slate of up-and-coming music theater writers.

Book, Lyrics, & Music by Masi Asare
Director: Awoye Timpo
Music Director: David Gardos
Dramaturg: Kent Nicholson
Dream Orchestrator: Jamshied Sharifi

Cast: Oberon K.A. Adjepong, Brittany Bradford, Carey Rebecca Brown, Rheaume Crenshaw. Elizabeth Ward Land, Robert Lenzi, Laiona Michelle

Synopsis: Akosua and her family are expecting an ordinary Christmas back home in central Pennsylvania, but heavy winds, a corporate crisis, and a visitation from an ancestor mean things do not go as planned. This semiautobiographical musical centers on three generations of one cross-cultural family-a white mother, black father, two mixed race daughters, and the spirit of an African grandmother. Even when your heritage is all over the map, you have to go back to your roots to find your way forward. The score includes American folk and popular song, west African highlife, and Akan classical music.

Readings: June 23 at 7pm; June 24 at 3pm; June 27 at 8pm; June 29 at 7pm

Book & Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
Book & Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Director: Portia Krieger
Music Director: Julie McBride
Dramaturg: Allison Horsley
Dream Orchestrator: John Clancy

Cast: Jason Gotay, Diana Huey, Sara Kapner, Ashley LaLonde, Jared Loftin, Samantha Rhea Parrish, Emily Schultheis, Bobby Steggert, Emily Walton, Sumi Yu

Synopsis: Adapted from the 2007 Sundance Award-winning indie horror film by Mitchell Lichtenstein, Teeth tells the story of Dawn O'Keefe, an evangelical Christian teen with a powerful secret: she has teeth in her vagina. When the men in Dawn's life try to exploit her, she is forced to choose between survival or destruction.

Readings: June 30 at 7pm; July 1 at 3pm; July 4 at 8pm; July 6 at 7pm

Book, Music, & Lyrics by Kate Kilbane & Dan Moses
Director: Evan Yionoulis
Music Director: Wiley Deweese
Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter
Dream Designer: Lee Savage

Cast: Annie Golden, Jo Lampert, Orville Mendoza, Reggie D. White

Synopsis: Eddie's life is going nowhere: a twentysomething, jobless high school dropout who lives with his mom, he suffers from crippling social and neural deficiencies. To cope, he retreats into his imagination and envisions himself as the charismatic frontman of a glam-rock band, just like his idol, David Bowie. But when Eddie's mom informs him that her boyfriend is moving in, she threatens the one place in the world where he feels safe. The two plots-Eddie's actual life as a hermit and his imagined life as a rock star-first unfold in parallel and then merge as Eddie deals with the fact that his life must change.

Readings: July 7 at 7pm; July 8 at 3pm; July 11 at 8pm; July 13 at 7pm

Casting by Lindsay Levine for Tara Rubin Casting.

Writers who have previously developed work at the National Music Theater Conference include: 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, and John Lloyd Young.

The O'Neill's founding program, the National Playwrights Conference will present eight new works this summer season by a broad mix of brand new and mid-career artists led by Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg:

By Beth Henley
Director: Wendy C. Goldberg
Dramaturg: Kristin Leahey

Cast: Marin Ireland, Maggie Lacey

Synopsis: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley comes to the O'Neill for the first time with her play, Lightning. In a cabin high on a peak surrounded by the Blue Mountains and sky, a young woman is visited by a traveling salesman as a storm gains strength. The play is a theatrical and captivating story of resilience and determination in a most unforgiving world.

Reading: July 5 at 8:15pm

By Benjamin Benne
Director: Elena Araoz
Dramaturg: Catherine Rodríguez

Cast: Cynthia Bastidas, Andrea Morales

Synopsis: Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States, pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it's December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel's test, Trump's voice is blaring from the television when Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn't at home studying.

Readings: July 6 & 7 at 7:15pm

By Cori Thomas
Director: Kent Gash
Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado

Cast: John Earl Jelks, Andy Lucien

Synopsis: A writer and a prison inmate embark on an unexpected journey to the realities of long term incarceration and grief, as they work together to craft a statement for his upcoming parole hearing. Lockdown was commissioned by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater through the Toulmin Foundation, and inspired by Cori Thomas' experiences getting to know and working alongside a number of men currently serving life sentences at San Quentin State Prison.

Readings: July 11 & 12 at 8:15pm

By Enid Graham
Director: Mark Brokaw
Dramaturg: Catherine Sheehy

Cast: Lisa Emery, Ben Horner, Louisa Krause, Hallie Samuels, Matt Stadelmann

Synopsis: Ruth, a young woman from a mysterious and sheltered background, attempts to create a new life in New York. Navigating the strange, bewildering environment, she struggles to make her way in the city and to answer the question that drove her out into the world in the first place: is it possible to be alive and not be alone?

Readings: July 13 & 14 at 7:15pm

By Celine Song
Director: Sammi Cannold
Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado

Cast: Lori Tan Chinn, Jiehae Park, Matt da Silva, Andy Talen, Virginia Wing, Jo Yang, Ryan Rosenheim, John DeSilvestri, Robert Duffley

Synopsis: On the island of Man-Jae in Korea, three elderly women spend their dying days diving into the ocean to harvest seafood with nothing but rusty knives. They are "haenyeos"-"sea women"-and there are no heiresses to their millennium-old tradition. Endlings is a real estate lesson from the last three remaining "haenyeos" in the world: Don't Live On An Island. Unless it is the island of Manhattan.

Readings: July 18 & 19 at 8:15pm

By Lia Romeo
Director: Melia Bensussen
Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter

Cast: John Concado, Sam Lilja, Maryann Plunkett, Makela Spielman,

Synopsis: Juliet is losing her marriage. Her mother Pam is losing her memory. And there's a mysterious forest growing in and around their living room. A play about grief, weird love, and what to do when there aren't any right answers.

Readings: July 20 at 7:15pm & July 21 at 3:15pm

By Jeremy O. Harris
Director: Robert O'Hara
Dramaturg: Aaron Malkin

Cast: Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, James Cusati-Moyer, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, A.Z. Kelsey, Chalia La Tour, Irene Sofia Lucio, Annie McNamara, Jesse Pennington,

Synopsis: The old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation-in the breeze, in the cotton fields...and in the crack of the whip. It's an antebellum fever-dream, where fear and desire entwine in the looming shadow of the Master's House.

Readings: July 25 & 26 at 8:15pm

By Sarah Tuft
Director: Giovanni Sardelli
Dramaturg: Tanya Palmer

Cast: Betsy Aidem, David Wilson Barnes, Catherine Curtin, Angel Desai, Scott Drummond, Jenny Mudge, Remy Zaken

Synopsis: As Monica Lewinsky rehearses for her TED Talk, her PTSD keeps getting in the way, sending her spinning, literally, into an alternate universe. Will Marvel-ous Monica rescue The Pretty Young Coed from the Lecherous Professor? Will she learn the secret of Nasty-Woman, the mighty matriarchal superhero? And finally, will Monica be able to give her talk by making peace with her traumatic past? Combining humor, fantasy, and verbatim theater, Marvel-ous Monica offers an overdue #MeToo look at the slut-shamed young woman at the center of a notorious political scandal.

Readings: July 27 & 28 at 7:15pm

Casting by David Caparelliotis.

Joining the National Playwrights Conference as writers-in-residence this summer are Sarah DeLappe (The Wolves) and J. T. Rogers (Oslo).

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, 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, 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 ($24-$30) are on sale now. More information:

The O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. Founded in 1964, 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 Launchpad of the American theater, 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, National Directors Fellowship, and National Theater Institute - which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates the 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.