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New Plays by Stephen Belber, Michael Tucker, Martyna Majok Set for 2017 O’Neill Playwrights Conference

Variety logo Variety 4/20/2017 Gordon Cox
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The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference has set its 2017 lineup of eight plays to be developed during the center’s summer season, including new works by Stephen Belber (“Tape”), actor-turned-writer Michael Tucker (“L.A. Law”) and Martyna Majok, whose play “The Cost of Living” will soon bow Off Broadway.

The longrunning playwrights conference, one of a number of developmental programs offered by the O’Neill Theater Center every year, has played a significant role in the early careers of notable playwrights including August Wilson, John Guare and Wendy Wasserstein. More recently, last year’s writer-in-residence was Stephen Karam, who had just won a Tony Award for his play “The Humans.”

The O’Neill also hosts an annual musical theater conference, which has provided a major stepping stone to success for Broadway titles including “Avenue Q” and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout project, “In the Heights.”

The eight new plays on the 2017 NPC roster are:

  • Belber’s “We Are Among Us,” about two young people contending with the prior generation’s deeds;
  • “The Quiet Ones,” Mary Elizabeth Hamilton’s story of an old-fashioned kindergarten teacher grappling with the rules of an ever-evolving world;
  • “Queens,” a new play by Majok about the Eastern European female immigrants whose memories haunt a building in Queens;
  • Steve DiUbaldo’s “Exposure,” about the high-pressure world of boys’ basketball and NCAA recruiting;
  • “Title IX,” a play by Elaine Romero centered around a family of Latina educators from 1972 to the present;
  • “The One ATM in Antarctica,” Adam Esquenazi Douglas’ look at the difficulties of sobriety;
  • Inda Craig-Galvan’s “Black Super Hero Magic Mama,” about a woman who retreats into a superhero fantasy when her son is killed by a white cop;
  • Tucker’s “Assisted Living,” which follows three tight-knit, senior citizen couples whose friendship is threatened when a secret comes to light.

Devlin Elliott, a producer and writer who co-wrote the “Naughty Mabel” books with his husband Nathan Lane, will be the conference’s writer in residence this year.

The 2017 National Playwrights Conference runs July 5-29 at the O’Neill’s campus in Waterford, Conn.

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