The National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Center in Waterford, Conn., which has a history of picking winners of the American theater, has announced its 2015 summer lineup.
Five of the eight works selected from over 1,300 entrants are by playwrights connected to the Playwrights' Center of Minneapolis. Each play will get developmental work, including readings by top-notch actors, input from dramaturgs and rudimentary productions that will be attended by New York producers.
August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was famously launched at the O’Neill.
The 2015 roster includes “Leftovers,” by Minneapolis-based Josh Wilder. A Jerome Fellow, he will further work on his magical urban coming-of-age play that involves two Philadelphia brothers, a huge dandelion and Cliff Huxtable. Coincidentally, Wilder (right) is heading to Yale in the fall, where he will be working on his MFA in playwriting.
Playwrights’ Center core writer Jenny Connell Davis (below left) will refine “End of Shift,” her play about a quintet of teenagers with hot desires that is set on the coast of Maine.
Ken Weitzman, another core writer at the center, will spend time on “Halftime with Don,” about a retired NFL player’s struggles with memory loss and the after-effects of a career that involves bashing and violence.
And former Playwrights’ Center core apprenctice writer Hansol Jung will work on “Cardboard Piano,” a play about the marriage of two young women set against the backdrop of homophobia and war in Northern Uganda.
The other three plays are by writers based in New York, Ohio and California.
“No One’s Sonata” is by Steven Sater, who won Tonys for both the book and score of “Spring Awakening.” The drama is set at a family’s reunion to mark the death of their Viennese immigrant father.
“Slow Food” is by Wendy MacLeod of Gambier, Ohio, where she heads the Kenyon Playwrights’ Conference. MacLeod’s “The House of Yes” was made into a 1997 film starring Parker Posey. “Slow Food” is a comedy about a vacationing couple who are celebrating their anniversary at a Greek restaurant.
And “Nomad Motel” is by Carla Ching of Los Angeles. Ching is a member of New Dramatists in New York. “Motel” involves characters such as dreaming parents, curious adolescents and a lieutenant of an Asian triad gang.
The O’Neill’s new play festival runs July 1 – 25.