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News about the Provincetown Playhouse

These items are listed with the most recent articles first (last updated 9/23/2022):

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022: University of Alabama press has announced that my new book, Staging America: The Artistic Legacy of the Provincetown Players, will be released on January 24, 2023. This book is a culmination of my many years of research and study about the Players and gives a complete history of all of the plays and playwrights, as well as the other significant members of the companies who acted, administrated, and/or designed.

Here is a link for more information, initial reviews, and to order the book from the publisher: University of Alabama Press site.

JUNE 7, 2014: New articles have been added to this site, including plays in the 1918-19 inaugural season in the Playhouse's new (and permanent) location, 133 Macdougal Street. A biography of Mary Eleanor Fitzgerald has also been added.

The Ninth International Conference of the Eugene O'Neill Society will take place in O'Neill's hometown of New London, CT June 18-21, 2014. This area is also home to the O'Neill Center, America's foremost ongoing workshop for new plays and talent, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Visit's will be made by conferees to both Monte Cristo Cottage and the O'Neill Center, along with hearing many papers and panels of new research on O'Neill, an interview with Barbara Gelb about her new book By Women Possessed (to be released in the near future) about O'Neill's life from the perspective of the women in his life), and the Society's Medallion Awards Banquet, with the prestigious award being given to scholar, professor and author Brenda Murphy; curators of Monte Cristo Cottage, Sally Pavetti and Lois McDonald; and O'Neill Center founder George C. White. More information about the conference can be found on the Society's website:

MAY 20, 2014: I'm sorry to report the passing of Arthur Gelb, my dear friend and colleague, who, with this wife Barbara, has been one of the leading scholars and authors on the life and work of Eugene O'Neill. Arthur worked for the New York Times for 45 years, retiring to become the president of the New York Times Foundation after becoming its Managing Editor. You many find his beautifully written obituary in the New York Times at I encourage you to read online the many comments that have been submitted after reading his obituary, which include those from Frank Rich and others who worked with him at the Times, to Glaspell biographer Linda Ben-Zvi, to those who didn’t know who he was until they read this article. The Times published a portion some comments I wrote about Arthur as a Letter to the Editor, which I include here:

“As the current President of the Eugene O'Neill Society, this loss is great for us because Arthur was a beacon in the cause of continuing and furthering the work of O'Neill, a figure whose story he and Barbara spent so much of their lives laboring tirelessly to tell.  In fact, they have even more to tell us yet, with a new and final volume about this great American playwright to be released in the very near future.  With his deep knowledge and pure joy of the topic, Arthur helped steer the O'Neill Society at critical times and offered sage wisdom and counsel whenever asked. He and Barbara were recipients of our most coveted award, the O'Neill Medallion, and were given similar awards by the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, whose work includes managing Tao House in Danville, CA, our country's only national park dedicated to theatre, where O'Neill wrote his last and most famous plays.  Beyond this, I was privileged to know Arthur as a friend and someone whom he encouraged and mentored not only in my work, but in my life.  I shall miss him terribly, but I carry with me so many unique experiences and conversations that will continue to guide me, many that make me laugh in their memory, and will always remind me to be a man who cares about others while still being a man of principle.”


MARCH 24, 2013: In the ongoing work to develop this research web site, new articles continue to be written and revised and uploaded to help those researching the Provincetown Playhouse. Recently new articles were added for Rita Wellman's The Rib-Person, particularly important because the play could never be read until Judith Barlow's recent volume Women Writers of the Provincetown Players. The same is true of Alice Woods' The Devil's Glow, and though the script has never been found, I recently discovered her short story was published in The Smart Set in October 1916, which now allows us to know at minimum what the plot of the play was and the tone of the dialogue. Both of these playwrights lived fascinating lives as well and I encourage you to read the footnotes about them (Wellman is described in the footnotes on her play Barbarians).

*Many of you are aware that the missing script of the play Exorcism by Eugene O'Neill that was premiered at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1920, was found in 2011 and has since been published by Yale University Press. I've written an article in the recently released Eugene O'Neill Review (2013, Vol. 34, No. 1) about the discovery of this play (as have others in this edition). Penn State Press is now the publisher of the Eugene O'Neill Review and you can access the articles using the databases JSTOR and Project Muse (which many schools and universities have licenses to access). If you are interested in subscribing to the Eugene O'Neill Review, contact the subscription agent, John Hopkins University Press, who you can reach at or can call at 1-800-548-1784 (outside US and Canada: 410-516-6987). Better yet, become a member of the Eugene O'Neill Society and you will receive the Review as part of your membership: There is a link on the Society's website for JSTOR access.

*I've had emails from a few asking about my recent published work, so I here is a list of book chapers and journal articles relating to the Provincetown Playhouse:


Kennedy, J. (2012)The Playwright's Theatre: O'Neill's use of the Provincetown Players as Laboratory.” In Michael Bennett and Benjamin Carson (eds.), Eugene O'Neill's One-Act Plays: New Critical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan.

Kennedy, J. (2012)Playwright of the Modern World: Eugene O’Neill in Context.” In Steven Bloom (ed), Eugene O'Neill. EBSCO/Salem Press, Critical Insight series.

Kennedy, J. (2011) “Probing Legends in Bohemia: The Symbiotic Dance between Eugene O’Neill and the Provincetown Players.” In R. M. Dowling & E. Hermann (eds.), Eugene O’Neill and His Early Contemporaries, Bohemians, Radicals, Progressives and the Avant Garde,  McFarland Press.

Kennedy, J. (2009). “The Provincetown Playhouse.”  In R. M. Dowling (ed.), Critical Companion to Eugene O’Neill,   New York: Facts on File.


Kennedy, J. “Exorcism: The Context, the Critics, the Creation and the Discovery.” Eugene O’Neill Review, 34,

Kennedy, J.  “Experiment on Macdougal Street: The Provincetown Players’ 1918-1919 Season.” Eugene O’Neill Review, 32, (2011).

Kennedy, J. “Desire Under the Elms in the 21st Century.” Eugene O’Neill Review, 31. (2009)


The Provincetown Playhouse, A Legacy Continues, 1998, NY: New York University Press.

*If you are interested in current productions and other artistic events taking place in the Provincetown Playhouse, here are two links to New York University sources to find out about these. Most of the events/productions produced in the Playhouse currently is by the Educational Theatre program of NYU, and they are part of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, all part of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

NYU also has an interesting video about the re-reopening of the Playhouse in 2011 at


FEBRUARY 2011: The Eugene O'Neill Society's next International Conference (held every three years) will take place June 22-26, 2011 in Greenwich Village, NY. Many of the activities will take place on the campus of New York University and include a few in the Provincetown Playhouse. Events include an opening night presentation with playwright Tony Kushner as well as a scene from his new opera on an event in O'Neill's life, A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck; presentations inside the Provincetown Playhouse; the Society's Medallion Award Dinner, featuring director Robert Fall and director Brian Dennehy; an event on O'Neill and the Sea at New York's Battery Park; a tour of O'Neill "haunts" throughout New York City; scholarly papers, panels and presentations on O'Neill; Saturday afternoon panel and presentation by the Susan Glaspell Society; and much more! This is the most recent brochure on the Conference and registration information: conference.pdf

For more information and updates about this conference, visit

Here's a recent article in ASU's New College Newsletter about my research and work with the Provincetown Playhouse:

NYU's Program in Educational Theatre is presenting a production of three of the early Provincetown Playhouse plays in the Playhouse February 25-March 5, 2011. For more information, and to read a blog by the production's director and Ed Theatre professor Joe Salvatore, visit

Here's an article in the Village Voice by its long-time theatre critic Michael Feingold, written following an event in the Provincetown Playhouse in December 2010 that featured playwright Edward Albee and Living Theatre founder Judith Molina: feingold.pdf

The event referred to above has been captured on video and is available for viewing on the New York University website at

Here is a recent photo from inside the newly refurbished Playhouse:

Here is a link to photos inside the newly refurbished Provincetown Playhouse:

As of 9/7/2010, the new refurbishment and interior of the Provincetown Playhouse is now finished and NYU classes and Educational Theatre program events have begun using the space. I was privileged to be able to visit the inside and tour the new Playhouse and I was very impressed with the results. Great care has obviously been taken in trying to preserve some sense of the historical importance of the Playhouse and this is evidenced most with the original brick walls of the space having been preserved and exposed as the new walls of the Playhouse (plaster previously covered these original walls in past refurbishments). These walls have been fortified at great expense so they can be preserved, particularly because some parts of the wall were naturally crumbling (they are over 150 years old after all!). They also have an interesting dome-curved structure over the inside entrance to the theatre with the lighting on this changing colors; this is in tribute to the dome originally built by George Cram Cook in 1920 for the Provincetown Players' production of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones. The new theatre is a honest-to-goodness, technically updated working theatre, with new seating for 88 and, as a nice touch, the former end-frames from the ends of the rows on the original seating mounted in frames on the borders at the end of each row. The stage is about 18 feet by 18 feet and is where the original basement/boiler room once existed. Now, audience members step down onto stairs and descend into the theatre.

Here are photos of the exterior of the theatre I took on my recent trip. Note that the facade prior to the refurbishment was retained and the designers even added a replication of the 3-D name of the theatre that had been missing for many years. The new Law School offices that surround the Playhouse actually look,while not as rustic as what was once there, like they belong on the block and great care was obviously taken with color choice and design for these to blend with the corner apartments and the Playhouse facades.

A blog by someone at NYU who seems to be accurately keeping ongoing updates of the construction on the Playhouse:

Pics taken 3/15/2010 of the Provincetown Playhouse reconstruction:

December 21, 2009: The demolition of the Provincetown Playhouse reveals John Barrymore's old hideaway rooftop apartment on 4th Street, ironically where he lived when Eugene O'Neill was patiently waiting for him to be available to perform in what was to be first commercially produced play. Playwright Paul Rudnick once rented this apartment and this is where he found the inspiration for his infamous play I Hate Hamlet. Here's an article written by Rudnick in The NewYorker in December 2007 about living there:

Here's the recent article on Barrymore's apartment being revealed by the demolition:

December 3, 2009: Article in NYULOCAL about NYU's relations with the community over building projects and they're response to promises not kept concerning the demolition of the Provincetown Playhouse:

November 20, 2009: Photos and a report by Bowery Boogie about the construction at the Provincetown Playhouse site:

October 21, 2009: Photos and a report by Bowery Boogie about the crane brought in and of the construction on the site:

September 15: 2009: An article and photo from Preservation Magazine, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, reports on the demolition of the original walls of the Playhouse:

Another report and photo of the wall destruction referred to below from the website Curbed:

Time Out's article on the situation:

August 21, 2009: Information from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) that claims NYU has broken its promise to preserve the walls of the Provincetown Playhouse that were to be used in the new Playhouse. This includes links to other articles in The Villager and the New York Press, as well as a link to a letter from Borrough President Scott Stringer to NYU President John Sexton condemning this act and asking for a halt to all construction until a review is held: The Architect's Newspaper website has a vivid photo of the damage and an accompanying article at:

An article from July 2009 on the Washington Square web site about the construction:

June 2009 photos of the Provincetown Playhouse demolition and construction on

May 2009 photos of the Provincetown Playhouse demolition and construction on

April 2009 photos of the Provincetown Playhouse demolition and construction on

Article by NYU's Washington Square News about the beginning of the construction at the Provincetown Playhouse site, plus a new photo of the site:

You Tube video of the protests outside the Provincetown Playhouse on October 20, 2008:

NYU's Washington Square News report about protests in October 2008 over the university's plans to tear down the Provinceotwn Playhouse:

Editorial on Community Board #2 vote to approve NYU's rennovation plans and a response by Community Board #2 chair Brad Holyman on blog dedicated to Washington Square Park (June 25, 2008): (

Statement by NYU’S Alicia Hurley On Comm. Bd. 2 Endorsement of Provincetown Plans (June 20, 2008):

Report on Community Board #2 Meeting from Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (see item 3).

Article on by Robert Simonson and the recent events surrounding the Provincetown Playhouse (June 17, 2008):

133-139 Macdougal Street is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

New York University’s most recent press release about their most current plans to renovate the Provincetown Playhouse:

The Villager report on the May 28 Community Forum concerning the NYU renovation plans for the Provincetown Playhouse (June 4, 2008):

Photos from the Save the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments Rally and Press Conference held on May 28, 2008:

Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation information about NYU's Provincetown Playhouse renovation plans (May 27, 2008):

Variety’s report about public outcry giving the Playhouse a reprieve (May 18, 2008):

New York Times report about changed renovations plans (May 17, 2008):

Official Response by the Dramatist Guild to NYU altering its renovation plans concerning the Provincetown Playhouse (May 16, 2008):

The Villager’s response in an editorial to NYU’s altered plans for renovation of the Provincetown Playhouse (May 14, 2008):

New York Sun article on preserving the Provincetown Playhouse (May 8, 2008):

New York Times article concerning NYU’s initial plans for renovating 133 Macdougal (April 30, 2008):

New York University’s initial plans for renovating 133-139 Macdougal Street (April 30, 2008):