For Immediate Release

June 18, 2015
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contact: Rebecca Marsie, Communications Coordinator
860.443.2545 x112 / [email protected]


New London Launchpad of the American Theater: the O’Neill Since 1964 will be on view at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum from June 26, 2015 through January 3, 2016. Originally created with New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the exhibition will chart the journey of American Theater through the eyes of the O’Neill, from past to present and into the future, with drawings, interviews, videos, photographs, original scripts, and sound.

Since its founding in 1964, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center has shaped the course of the American and world theater, creating standard practices and discovering new artists and new work in every discipline. Through its programs in plays, musicals, puppetry, cabaret, criticism, and an undergraduate school, the O’Neill has given rise to the careers of some of the most talented artists and most recognizable plays and musicals in the American theater.

“The O’Neill is like no other in the American theater,” said Preston Whiteway, Executive Director, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. “We are thrilled to bring this exhibit home, and look forward to sharing and celebrating the work that has come through and forever changed the theatrical landscape – in plays, musicals, puppetry, cabaret, criticism and undergraduate education. The O’Neill’s reach extends far beyond Waterford and New London, with dozens of programs modeled on the process, most notably the Sundance Institute, and continues to be a major change agent in American theater. I am grateful to Lyman Allyn Museum for this partnership, and look forward to welcoming everyone to this important exhibition.”

Artifacts featured in the exhibition explore the creative development of playwrights, composers, students, puppeteers, and performers spanning half a decade, including:

- Original manuscripts from seminal works in American Theater such as FENCES (August Wilson), HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES (John Guare), and others.

- Original renderings that inspired productions of FENCES (August Wilson), A WALK IN THE WOODS (Lee Blessing), and others.

- Video and audio from major scores and plays developed at the O’Neill, including IN THE HEIGHTS, NINE, and more.

- Unique images, video, and audio from Michael Douglas, Meryl Streep, John Kransinski, and hundreds of iconic O’Neill figures.

- Original puppets from the AVENUE Q and works by Heather Henson, daughter of Jim & Jane Henson.

- A scaled model of O’Neill’s idyllic seaside campus, an environment integral to the development of thousands of voices that fuel the American theater.

- Original Hirshfeld painting of American theater and film critic Edith Oliver, commissioned by the O’Neill in 1994.

- O’Neill’s two Tony Awards: 2010 Regional Theatre Tony Award and a special Tony Award in 1979 for Theatrical Excellence.

- Monte Cristo Award, given annually to theater artist with extraordinary contributions to American Theater.

Funding for Launchpad of the American Theater is generously provided by: Sally Speer, Chelsea Groton Foundation, Betsy White, Linda Mariani, The Waterford Group Foundation, Americana Furniture, La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery, The Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Bank of America, Trustee; The Department of Economic and Community Development.

The Exhibition Opening Reception will be on Thursday, June 25 from 5 – 7pm.
Lyman Allyn members & O’Neill members are free, non-members are $10.

Check the museum website at and Facebook page for updates and additional programming.

Tours of the exhibition are available for groups. To schedule tours, call Director of Education Mollie Clarke at 860-443-2545, ext. 110 or e-mail [email protected].

For more information or images, please contact Rebecca Marsie at 860.443.2545 x112 or at [email protected].

About the O’Neill
For over 50 years, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center has served as the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for American theater. It is home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and to more than 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, and major regional theaters. Founded in 1964, the O’Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards, in 2010 for Regional Theatre, and in 1979 for Theatrical Excellence.

O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute which conducts semester-long intensive theater training, including includes Theatermakers, a six-week summer program. Academic credits are awarded for all NTI programs. The O’Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. Childhood summer home of Eugene O’Neill, the Cottage is a National Historic Landmark.

For more information, visit or email [email protected].

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, Southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 11 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 15,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 129 or visit us on Facebook or the web at:

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