The O’Neill Celebrates 50 Years

My time at the O’Neill Center as a National Critics Fellow culminated in a fabulous, fun anniversary gala. The O’Neill is turning 50, read about it here or over at Backstage! Also, this morning CBS is airing a segment about the O’Neill called “Launchpad of the American Theater.” #oneill50

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

The full moon shone over the ocean at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center during its 50th Anniversary Gala July 11. It was a fitting coincidence, as actors Reed Birney and Sally Wingert performed a stirring reading of a play set right there in O’Neill’s New London, Conn., neighborhood: “A Moon for the Misbegotten.”

“We knew that we had two really special actors who really wanted to do that scene, and we had a full moon outside,” said Gregg Wiggans, artistic associate for the National Playwright Conference and director of the gala’s entertainment. “It’s special to George C. White, that particular play. So it’s as much a gift for him as it was for everyone else.”

It was 50 years ago that White discovered what some of the country’s best theater artists now refer to simply as “the O’Neill.” Passing by on a boat, White learned the property’s facilities were going to be burned for a fire exercise. He approached the O’Neill family about turning the grounds into a play development conference instead. “The O’Neill was founded on somebody’s willingness to move forward and take a risk,” said Wiggans. “It’s very much a supporter of the new and the now and what’s next.”

Visit Backstage to read the rest of this article!

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