O'Neill Presenting New Musicals

Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford puts its 50th anniversay into high gear this week with the beginning of its National Music Theater Conference, running June 28 through to July 11, and its National Playwrights Conference, which kicks off July 2. (The National Critics Institute also coincides with these events.)

But first, the new musicals: "The War Dept." opens the conference with public performances on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.; July 2 at 8 p.m.; and July 4 at 7 p.m. The post-Civil War musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Bauer with book, art and video by Ruth Bauer.

Next up is "The White City" on July 5, 6, 9 and 11. Set at the Chicago Exposition of 1893, the musical has words by Julia Gytri and music by Avi Amon. Loosely based on the serial killer at the fair.

And the first play up at the National Playwrights Conference will be Mike Lew's "Tiger Style!" with staged readings on July 2 and July 3, both at 8:15. It's about an egghead brother and sister, stuck in adult life, who hit the road to take the "Asian Freedom Tour." Information: 860-443-1238 and www.theoneill.org.