Executive Director, Board Chairman, Founder
Preston Whiteway was appointed Executive Director in January 2007, after serving the O’Neill as General Manager since 2004, and now leads the venerable and vital institution and its many national programs into the future. Under his leadership, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center was awarded the 2010 Regional Theater Tony Award. Since 2005, the O’Neill’s budget has grown by 110%, with especially strong earned revenue growth in his time. Significant projects developed at the O’Neill in Mr. Whiteway’s tenure include: In The Heights (2005); [title of show] (2005); The Receptionist (2006); Tales of the City (2009); The Happiest Song Plays Last (2011); The Nether (2013); Ugly Lies The Bone (2014) and others.
While at the O’Neill, Mr. Whiteway has secured a new 60-year lease of the grounds for the organization, gained significant facility investments and repairs to every building, and completed the largest expansion in the organization’s history. Housing 65 new students and faculty across nine new buildings, the new construction includes rehearsal and bed spaces for the O’Neill’s new National Music Theater Institute. A division of the undergraduate National Theater Institute (NTI), the program will trains students for one semester in an intensive curriculum across every discipline in musical theater.
For the organization’s 50th Anniversary in 2014, Mr. Whiteway negotiated a major book release from Yale University Press, resulting in The O’Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater by Jeffrey Sweet, and also acted as photography editor for the edition. He additionally secured a four month exhibition at the New York Library for the Performing Arts entitled, Launchpad of the American Theater: The O’Neill Since 1964. Both projects chart the enormous role the O’Neill has played in shaping the American theater landscape – it’s artists, the canon of work, and innovating new forms.
Mr. Whiteway joined the O’Neill upon graduating from Duke University, where he received his BA in Economics. While at Duke, Mr. Whiteway served as the Chair of Broadway at Duke, leading and managing the major arts presenting organization, bringing national touring Broadway shows to the Durham, NC campus. Since coming to the O’Neill, he has served on panels at Duke University, Babson University, Theater Communications Group, and has been profiled in the New York Times and Hartford Courant, and on CBS Sunday Morning, and serves as a Chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, and Trustee of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.
In 2014 Mr. Whiteway was named to a three-year term to the nominating committee of the Tony Awards. A native of Virginia, Preston lives in New London, Connecticut.
Tom Viertel has produced a wide range of plays and musicals on and off-Broadway, in London and on tour for over 30 years. Shows include: A Little Night Music, Young Frankenstein, Burn the Floor, Flashdance, Hairspray, The Norman Conquests, Gypsy, The Producers, Sweeney Todd, Company, Little Shop of Horrors, The Weir, The Sound of Music, Smokey Joe’s Café, Angels in America, Oleanna, Love Letters, Driving Miss Daisy, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Penn and Teller and many others. Mr. Viertel is a member of the Board of Governors, Government Relations, and Tony Management Committees of The Broadway League and a Trustee of the Equity-League Pension Funds. With his partners, Richard Frankel, Steve Baruch, and Marc Routh, he owns Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club. He is the Executive Director of the Commercial Theater Institute, which provides a comprehensive curriculum in producing for Broadway. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a former member of the Board of Trustees of The Choate Rosemary Hall School.
George C. White
George White’s career includes not only his 37 years as Founder and Chairman of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, but also numerous activities and accomplishments in theater throughout the world. The son of Nelson and Aida White, George was raised in Waterford, Connecticut, and was graduated from Yale with a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
In addition to his responsibilities at the O’Neill, George served as Co-Chairman of the Theater Management Program at the Yale School of Drama, and regularly directed plays in such venues as the Actors Theater, the Guthrie Theater, the Hartman Theater, the Annenberg Center, and the Hedgerow Theater. He was the Founding Chairman of the Sundance Institute, served as a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee, and served on the following Boards: National Arts Council, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Arts and Business Council, New Dramatists, Center for Inter-American Relations, International Theater Institute, Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and American Soviet Theater Initiative, Camargo Foundation, and Save Venice. George currently serves as Executive Director of the Johnny Mercer Foundation.
George’s contributions to theater extend beyond the borders of the United States. Beginning in 1972, he has spearheaded cultural exchange efforts in such countries as Australia, Peoples Republic of China, Russia, and Brazil. In 1984 he directed a production of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie in Beijing, and in 1987 he directed Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man in that same city. He continues to lecture throughout the world on behalf of the U.S. Information Agency. His international accomplishments have been recognized in being awarded the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star from King Carl Gustaf, and the French Republic’s Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres. Of particular note are the numerous theatrical exchanges that George initiated in Russia, beginning in the cold war days of the early 1980’s.