national playwrights conference

Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director

The O’Neill’s founding program presents eight new works this summer season by a broad mix of brand new, mid-career, and established artists. The plays were chosen from 1,429 plays received through the O’Neill’s open submissions process. Each new play undergoes the O’Neill’s signature development process and is presented in staged readings featuring award-winning casts and creative teams. 

july 5 at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick ( When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award— When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com.




cast & creative team


Director: Kent Gash Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Lawrence Moten Lighting Design: Raquel Davis Cast: John Earl Jelks, Andy Lucien





july 6 & 7 at 7:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick ( When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award— When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com.




cast & creative team


Director: Kent Gash Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Lawrence Moten Lighting Design: Raquel Davis Cast: John Earl Jelks, Andy Lucien





july 11 & 12  at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick ( When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award— When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com.




cast & creative team


Director: Kent Gash Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Lawrence Moten Lighting Design: Raquel Davis Cast: John Earl Jelks, Andy Lucien





july 13 & 14  at 7:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Crimes of the Heart (The Golden Theatre) and The Wake of Jamey Foster (Eugene O'Neill Theatre) were performed on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley’s, The Jacksonian premiered at the Geffen Theatre in January 2012 to great acclaim. Robert Falls directed and the cast included Ed Harris, Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan, and Glenne Headly. It was performed Off-Broadway at the New Group. Studio Theatre produced the world premiere of her play, Laugh in 2015. Beth Henley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting, Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crimes of the Heart, and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010: Honoree William Inge Festival, 2017. Ms. Henley has the honor of serving as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Dramatist Guild, and the Academy of Arts and Science.




cast & creative team


Director: Wendy C. Goldberg Dramaturg: Kristin Leahey Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Raquel Davis Cast: Marin Ireland, Maggie Lacey





july 18 & 19  at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Celine Song is a member of the Public Theater’s 2016-2017 Emerging Writers Group, a member of Ars Nova’s 2014-2015 Play Group, a member of the Orchard Project's inaugural NYC Greenhouse 2018, and a Playwrights Realm 2017-2018 Writing Fellow. Her play Endlings was a part of the 2017 Kilroys list and a semifinalist for P73 playwriting fellowship. Tom & Eliza was a semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation's 2016 Relentless Award. Celine has been awarded residencies, fellowships, and commissions from: MTC/Sloan, Sundance, the Millay Colony for the arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Celine was an IATI Theater 2015 Cimientos Playwright and a 2014 & 2016 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright. Her plays include The Feast (MAP Theater in Seattle, New Court Theatre in LA, Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, Red Theater Chicago), Family (Signature Theater, Potomac Theater), Tom & Eliza (Ars Nova, JACK, Theatre503), and Endlings (The Public, Echo Theater, OSF Black Swan Lab). She holds an MFA from Columbia.




cast & creative team


Director: Sammi Cannold Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Design: Brian Lilienthal Cast: Lori Tan Chinn, Jiehae Park, Matt da Silva, Andy Talen, Virginia Wing, Jo Yang, Ryan Rosenheim, John DeSilvestri, Robert Duffley





july 20 at 7:15pm & july 21 at 3:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Crimes of the Heart (The Golden Theatre) and The Wake of Jamey Foster (Eugene O'Neill Theatre) were performed on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley’s, The Jacksonian premiered at the Geffen Theatre in January 2012 to great acclaim. Robert Falls directed and the cast included Ed Harris, Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan, and Glenne Headly. It was performed Off-Broadway at the New Group. Studio Theatre produced the world premiere of her play, Laugh in 2015. Beth Henley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting, Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crimes of the Heart, and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010: Honoree William Inge Festival, 2017. Ms. Henley has the honor of serving as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Dramatist Guild, and the Academy of Arts and Science.




cast & creative team


Director: Wendy C. Goldberg Dramaturg: Kristin Leahey Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Raquel Davis Cast: Marin Ireland, Maggie Lacey





july 25 & 26  at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Celine Song is a member of the Public Theater’s 2016-2017 Emerging Writers Group, a member of Ars Nova’s 2014-2015 Play Group, a member of the Orchard Project's inaugural NYC Greenhouse 2018, and a Playwrights Realm 2017-2018 Writing Fellow. Her play Endlings was a part of the 2017 Kilroys list and a semifinalist for P73 playwriting fellowship. Tom & Eliza was a semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation's 2016 Relentless Award. Celine has been awarded residencies, fellowships, and commissions from: MTC/Sloan, Sundance, the Millay Colony for the arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Celine was an IATI Theater 2015 Cimientos Playwright and a 2014 & 2016 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright. Her plays include The Feast (MAP Theater in Seattle, New Court Theatre in LA, Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, Red Theater Chicago), Family (Signature Theater, Potomac Theater), Tom & Eliza (Ars Nova, JACK, Theatre503), and Endlings (The Public, Echo Theater, OSF Black Swan Lab). She holds an MFA from Columbia.




cast & creative team


Director: Sammi Cannold Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Design: Brian Lilienthal Cast: Lori Tan Chinn, Jiehae Park, Matt da Silva, Andy Talen, Virginia Wing, Jo Yang, Ryan Rosenheim, John DeSilvestri, Robert Duffley





july 27 & 28  at 7:15pm   •

about the new play


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.




about the writer


Sarah Tuft’s plays have been developed, read and/or produced at theaters in 19 states and abroad including Geffen Playhouse, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Toledo Repertoire Theatre, EST’s Lexington Center, IAMA Theatre Company directed by Thomas Sadoski, Monster Box Theatre, Naked Angels’ Tuesdays@9, Sundog Theatre, and 24Hour Plays at BAM with actors Billy Crudup, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Neil Patrick Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa Leo, Tony Shalhoub, and Kathleen Turner. Plays include Marvel-ous Monica; In Which Monica Lewinsky Is a Superhero Hell-Bent On Revenge (2018 Last Frontier Theatre Conference PlayLab, 2017 Austin Film Festival Playwriting Competition, 365 Women a Year); 110 Stories; Awesome Big Somebody; Patti Smith, P.I.; and Shoot Me. 110 Stories is published by Playscripts. Awards include 2018 HUMANITAS Play LA Workshop finalist and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. Sarah has blogged for HuffPost, Indiewire Women and Hollywood, and The New York Times. A member of the Dramatists Guild and Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Sarah teaches dramatic writing at SF Creative Writing Institute.




cast & creative team


Director: Giovanni Sardelli Dramaturg: Tanya Palmer Scenic Designer: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: Betsy Aidem, David Wilson Barnes, Catherine Curtin, Angel Desai, Scott Drummond, Jenny Mudge, Remy Zaken





about the new play


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.




about the writer


Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Crimes of the Heart (The Golden Theatre) and The Wake of Jamey Foster (Eugene O'Neill Theatre) were performed on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley’s, The Jacksonian premiered at the Geffen Theatre in January 2012 to great acclaim. Robert Falls directed and the cast included Ed Harris, Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan, and Glenne Headly. It was performed Off-Broadway at the New Group. Studio Theatre produced the world premiere of her play, Laugh in 2015. Beth Henley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting, Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crimes of the Heart, and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010: Honoree William Inge Festival, 2017. Ms. Henley has the honor of serving as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Dramatist Guild, and the Academy of Arts and Science.




cast & creative team


Director: Wendy C. Goldberg Dramaturg: Kristin Leahey Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Raquel Davis Cast: Marin Ireland, Maggie Lacey





 

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