The award-winning Peccadillo Theater Company presents a staged reading of one of Eugene O'Neill's most autobiographical plays, The Straw tonight, June 4th at 7 pm at Theatre at St. Clement's (423 West 46th Street, between Ninth & Tenth Avenues). The presentation is directed by Peccadillo's OBIE and Lortel Award-winning artistic director, Dan Wackerman. The cast features Richard Poe, Ellen Adair, Lee Aaron Rosen, Jeffrey C. Hawkins, Susan Jeffries, Eric Hoffmann, and Jacqueline Baum.
"Of all of [Eugene] O'Neill's early plays, The Straw is the most seriously undervalued," writes O'Neill scholar Jeffrey H. Richards. Based on O'Neill's experience in a tuberculosis sanatorium, The Straw centers around naïve, young Eileen Carmody, stricken with tuberculosis and exiled to Hill Farm Sanatorium where she meets the cynical, raffish Stephen Murray, also a patient there. Eileen quickly falls in love with Stephen, inspiring him to develop his talents as a serious writer. As Stephen's condition improves along with his fortunes as an author, Eileen slowly deteriorates, aware that Stephen will never love her as she loves him. Goaded by a sympathetic nurse, Stephen pretends to fall in love with Eileen as a final act of charity only to discover that he is, in fact, in love with the dying girl.
Eugene O'Neill was born Oct. 16, 1888, in New York and died. Nov. 27, 1953 in Boston, Mass. He is America's foremost dramatist and a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936. His masterpiece, Long Day's Journey into Night (produced posthumously 1956), is at the apex of a long string of great plays, including Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928), Ah! Wilderness (1933), and The Iceman Cometh (1946).
Founded in 1994, The Peccadillo Theater Company is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the rediscovery of classic American theater, particularly those works which, despite their obvious literary and theatrical value, are not regularly revived. In recent years, Peccadillo has broadened its mission to include original plays and musicals that share some of the virtues of classic American theater such as period style, well-defined characters and strong plotting. Such was the case with The Talk of the Town, an original musical about the legendary wits of the Algonquin Roundtable, several of whose plays Peccadillo has produced. And Zero Hour, about the actor/comedian Zero Mostel, whose appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee was just as explosive as his stage performances. Peccadillo's most recent productions were its critically acclaimed revivals of Kaufman & Hart's The Man Who Came to Dinner and the George Abbott/Arthur Schwartz/Dorothy Fields musical A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Outer Critics Circle nominee Best Musical Revival).
For more information, visit www.ThePeccadillo.com.