Tom Viertel is stepping down as chairman of the O’Neill Theater Center

Industry news

Tom Viertel is 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 has been chairman since 2000.

Tom Viertel

Tom Viertel will step down as chairman of the board of 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 chairman. Viertel will also receive the group’s Monte Cristo Award, in recognition of his contributions to the O’Neill and the industry at large. The honor will be presented at a gala event on November 18 at the Edison Ballroom in New York.

Viertel founded the Center in 1993 when his brother, Jack Viertel, was developing his musical Again and again with the National Music Theater Conference. Viertel would become only the second person to serve as chairman of the board, succeeding founder George C. White in 2000. Under Viertel’s leadership, the Center has added and expanded several programs, including the Theatermakers Summer Intensive, the Cabaret and Performance Conference, and new housing and facilities for the institution’s students and artists. Works were developed in the O’Neill during Viertel’s time, among others Lane Q, Gem of the Ocean, Ruined, In the Heights, purpleAnd Slave gamealong with works by writers such 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 chairman of the O’Neill 24 years ago, he changed my life,” Viertel said in a statement. “Taking over a founder is always difficult, and we’ve certainly had our share of challenges. But over time the O’Neill has prospered; we have been able to expand programs, create new ones, and expand our beautiful campus. The artists we have attracted to our campus are among the most important in American theater. We survived the pandemic and continue to make progress under a new and vital administration. Serving as chairman of the O’Neill for all these years has been an honor and a truly unforgettable joy.”

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

“I cannot fully express my gratitude for Tom’s valuable advice, constant guidance and dedication to the O’Neill,” added O’Neill Executive Director Tiffani Gavin. “When I joined the O’Neill when I did (in 2020), at a time of great upheaval for American theater as a whole, Tom was the steady hand at the helm as we navigated these rocky waters together. Without his leadership, we wouldn’t be here today.

For ticket and table availability for the Center’s November 18 gala, contact Rob Mooney at (email protected).