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O'Neill Foundation to honor playwright with 'Season of Firsts'

Marks 100 years since first Eugene O'Neill play on stage

The Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Tao House in Danville is presenting a "Season of Firsts" event to honor the 100-year anniversary of Eugene O'Neill's first play production in 1916.

"We thought it was important to recognize the centennial of O'Neill plays, with several special productions during 2016," Eric Fraisher Hayes, director of artistic programs for the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, said in a statement. "Eugene O'Neill brought many innovations to the American theater and we wanted to honor that during this special year with several important firsts."

The first production of O'Neill's debut play, "Bound East for Cardiff," occurred in July 1916 in Provincetown, Mass.

"This was the first work produced of the 51 plays written by the playwright who was later awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama and became the only American dramatist to be honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature," Hayes said.

The local foundation will present its rendition of the debut play in the Old Barn at the Eugene O'Neill National Historic site on July 30 and 31.

The foundation will also present "O'Neill: The Rhythms of His Soul" on April 30, May 1 and May 14-15. The show will be a lively musical revue that will include "early American popular music, well-known songs of the day, songs of the sea and familiar music hall tunes," according to Hayes.

This month, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation will have student educational programs of "Student Days" at the Tao House in Danville.

For more information on the "Season of Firsts," visit the foundation website.

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