onStage presents Eugene O’Neill’s ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’

A scene from Walnut Street Theater's 'Moon for the Misbegotten.' Photo by Mark Garvin.
A scene from Walnut Street Theater's 'Moon for the Misbegotten.' Photo by Mark Garvin.

onStage at Connecticut College will pay tribute to local son Eugene O’Neill with a performance of “A Moon for the Misbegotten” on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium.

The play is the last written by O’Neill, and it’s his only true love story. Set in Waterford and New London, where the playwright spent his childhood summers, “Moon” tells the story of Josie Hogan, the daughter of Phil, a tenant farmer and bullying father who works land owned by the Tyrone family. When the Tyrone matriarch and owner of the land dies, her son Jim — an alcoholic tortured by his past — returns to the farm to settle the estate. It is there that he reconnects with Josie, another misbegotten soul.

“Josie is one of the great roles for women in American theater, along with Mary Tyrone in ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night,’” said the College’s Director of Arts Programming Robert Richter ’82, who is also a respected O’Neill scholar. “Actresses aspire to play Josie as much as they do Portia in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ — it’s a pivotal, emotional role in a classic play.”

The performance is the first stop on a national tour by Walnut Street Theatre of Philadelphia, Penn. Walnut Street, led by Producing Artistic Director Bernard Havard, is America’s oldest continuously operating theater.

“We are very excited to have an O’Neill play as our first performance of 2016,” said Richter. “The first play of O’Neill’s to be produced was exactly 100 years ago, in 1916, and many scholars say it was the beginning of a new American theater, a style of theater that we are familiar with today. Walnut Street mounts wonderful productions, and I know they’ll do a do a fantastic job with ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten.’ The performers are really looking forward to performing this in a place that had such impact on O’Neill and the American theater, and I know the evening will be intense and intimate.”

Tickets are $24 for general admission, $21 for seniors and $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at http://onstage.conncoll.edu, by phone at 860-439-ARTS (2787) or via email to onstage@conncoll.edu.

On Friday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m., onStage at Connecticut College and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center will host a discussion of the play at O’Neill’s childhood summer home, Monte Cristo Cottage, located at 325 Pequot Avenue, New London. To register for the pre-performance discussion, go to http://bit.ly/eon-moon.

January 14, 2016