Tom Viertel Stepping Down as Chairman of the O'Neill Theater Center | Playbill

Industry News Tom Viertel Stepping Down as Chairman of the O'Neill Theater Center

Viertel has been a member of the institution's board for almost three decades and its chairman since 2000.

Tom Viertel

Tom Viertel will step down as chairman of the board at theatrical incubator The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in August, ending a nearly three-decade career on the organization's board and 24 years as its chairman. Viertel will also be awarded the group's Monte Cristo Award, recognizing his contributions to the O'Neill and the industry at large. The honor will be bestowed at a gala event November 18 at the Edison Ballroom in NYC.

Viertel found the Center in 1993 when his brother, Jack Viertel, was developing his musical Time and Again with the National Music Theater Conference. Viertel would go on to become only the second person to serve as board chairman, succeeding founder George C. White in 2000. Under Viertel's leadership, the Center has added and expanded various programs, including the Theatermakers Summer Intensive, the Cabaret and Performance Conference, and new housing and amenities for the institution's students and artists. Works developed at the O'Neill during Viertel's time have included Avenue QGem of the OceanRuinedIn the HeightsViolet, and Slave Play, along with works by such writers as Dominique Morisseau, Samuel D. Hunter, Hansol Jung, Mike Lew, Celine Song, and Quiara Alegría Hudes.

“When George White asked me to succeed him as Chair of the O’Neill 24 years ago, he changed my life," says Viertel in a statement. "Taking over from a founder is always difficult, and we’ve certainly had our share of challenges. But over time the O’Neill has prospered; we’ve been able to expand its programs, create new ones and expand our gorgeous campus. The artists we’ve attracted to our campus are among the most important in American theatre. We’ve survived the pandemic and continue to move forward under a new and vital administration. Chairing the O’Neill for all these years has been an honor and a truly unforgettable joy."

Viertel will remain a member of the board as chairman emeritus following his departure. A successor has not yet been named.

“I cannot fully express my gratitude for Tom’s invaluable counsel, constant guidance, and dedication to the O’Neill," adds O'Neill Executive Director Tiffani Gavin. “Having joined the O’Neill when I did [in 2020], at a time of great upheaval for the American theatre as a whole, Tom has been the steady hand at the tiller as we navigated these rocky waters together. We would not be here today without his leadership.”

For ticket and table availability for the Center's November 18 gala, contact Rob Mooney at [email protected].

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