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2020 Awards Dinner

The Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House 

Awards Dinner

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Crow Canyon Country Club
Danville, California


Tao House Award: Joy Carlin
Open Gate Award: Carole Wynstra
Artistic Award:  Eric Fraisher Hayes
Freeman Award: Joyce Michalczyk
Partnership Award: The Town of Danville;
Superintendent Tom Leatherman

and the National Park Service Staff


‘Theatre Royalty’ at O’Neill Foundation Awards Ceremony 

The Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House celebrated in February its Awards Dinner, in the O’Neill Room of Crow Canyon Country Club, in Danville, the town where O’Neill lived. The awards are presented periodically to members of the Foundation, as well as to partners and theatre luminaries—for their contributions to the Foundation’s mission of promoting the vision and legacy of America’s foremost playwright.

Before the award presentation, attendees were treated to a performance of a scene from A Moon for the Misbegotten by actors Howard Swain and Rolf Saxon.

The Freeman Award, for a member giving tireless efforts and time to the organization, went to Joyce Michalczyk, for her essential work in recruiting and organizing volunteers for Tao House programs

Artistic Director Eric Hayes received the Artistic Award. He said, “I’m not sure why I became so devoted to O’Neill’s plays,” then added, “I had a better childhood,” alluding to O’Neill’s troubled early life. Maybe, he mused, he was drawn to O’Neill because he grew up in the town where the playwright lived and worked.

The Open Gate Award, which acknowledges board members’ dedication and service that enhance the legacy of O’Neill, went to Carole Wynstra. Presenter Trudy McMahon, lauded Wynstra for “sparking an interest in Eugene O’Neill in her daughters,” one of whom, Beth Wynstra, a Babson College professor, will be dramaturge for this year’s one-act plays by the young O’Neill. 

Recipients of Partnership Awards were Superintendent Tom Leatherman and staff of the National Park Service, as well as the Town and Town Council of Danville. The NPS, which manages the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, partners with the Foundation on its programs. Presenter Terry Sherman said, “Tom and his staff have worked tirelessly to promote the vision of Eugene O’Neill.” Accepting for the town were Council members Robert Storer and Newell Arnerich. Presenter Marcia Harmon stressed that “the Town of Danville has always had our backs.”

The Tao House Award was presented to Bay Area theatre legend Joy Carlin, “theatre royalty,” as Artistic Director Hayes designated her in presenting the prestigious award. Carlin has influenced generations of theatre artists in her 50-plus years of acting and directing in the Bay Area. She reminisced about meeting O’Neill scholar Travis Bogard when she taught acting at UC Berkeley, “who told me about Tao House and the Foundation.” In winning this award, Carlin joins other theatre royalty: actors Paul Robeson, Cherry Jones, and Jason Robards, Jr., as well as Travis Bogard.

When it comes to things O’Neill, award-winner Carlin said, noting the Foundation’s many accomplishments in play production, education, and scholarship: “Danville is now the place to go.”

Joy Carlin, recipient of the 2020 Tao House Award, and Eric Fraisher Hayes, EONF Artistic Director