O’Neill Theater Center to get regional Tony

Award handed out during ceremony in June

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., will receive the 2010 regional theater kudo from the Tony Awards.

Founded in 1965 to focus on the needs of American playwrights, the center is best known for its summer developmental programs, particularly the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference.

Annual playwrights conference helped launch the career of August Wilson (“Fences”), and early in its history gained a rep for giving opportunities to minority and women scribes. Alum writers include David Henry Hwang, Wendy Wasserstein, John Patrick Shanley and Paula Vogel, among others.

Along with all of Wilson’s plays, shows that have been developed at the O’Neill include “The House of Blue Leaves,” “Avenue Q” and “In the Heights.” Playwrights conference is currently led by a.d. Wendy C. Goldberg, while Paulette Haupt tops the music theater arm. The two programs are among the few in the country to accept open submissions, from writers who do not yet have professional representation.

Center also hosts a number of other initiatives including a puppetry conference, a cabaret conference, the National Critics Institute and a summer workshop co-hosted with the Commercial Theater Institute.

The regional Tony will be presented as part of the 2010 kudocast set for June 13.

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