Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Announces the Departure of CEO/Producer Preston Whiteway

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announces that, after 16 years with the organization, CEO/Producer Preston Whiteway will depart in August 2020. Mr. Whiteway oversees six artistic directors and a dozen nationally-acclaimed programs. The O'Neill has been recognized with a second Tony Award and the National Medal of Arts under his leadership. He recently joined Tribeca Productions (The Irishman, When They See Us) as a Creative Development Consultant, and will continue in that role after departing the O'Neill.  

Preston Whiteway will be the 20th recipient of the prestigious Monte Cristo Award. A gala evening in celebration of his many achievements will be held at the Edison Ballroom (New York) on Sunday, April 19, 2020. 

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tom Viertel states: "The impact that Preston Whiteway has had on the O'Neill over the last 16 years is immeasurable. He leaves behind a strong organization both artistically and financially. The American theater is stronger as a result of his dedication, creativity, and fortitude. We are proud to have launched his career and it is with sincere admiration for his many achievements that we celebrate him with the 20th annual Monte Cristo Award this spring." 

"I have only known one job in my life - the O'Neill - and it is with incredible mixed emotions that I announce my departure” shares Preston Whiteway. “The O'Neill truly launched me and my career, as it has launched and supported so many artists, and a piece of my heart will always be in Waterford.  As one of the most special places in the American theater, I am so lucky to serve here with the staff, artists, students, and trustees: the people at the O’Neill make it special, and I thank each of them.   In particular, partnering with our Chairman, Tom Viertel, over the past 16 years to revitalize and lead the O'Neill has been a joy of my life. And to be recognized with our Monte Cristo Award puts me beyond words, and humbles me completely. There are many more months ahead, and I look forward to a spectacular spring and summer of programming. Finally, I want to thank Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh at Tribeca, for their enthusiastic welcome as I transition to a new and exciting chapter.”

The O’Neill annually bestows its Monte Cristo Award on a prominent artist whose work has had an extraordinary impact on American theater, in memory of its namesake. The gala event supports the Center’s commitment to developing new work and new artists for the stage. 

Tickets for the Monte Cristo Award are available at  Tickets start at $1,250. Multiple levels available. For sponsorship opportunities, program ads, gifts in honor, or additional information about the event, call 860-443-5378 ext. 288, or email

About Preston Whiteway

Preston Whiteway first joined the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center as General Manager in 2004, he was named CEO/Producer in December 2019, after serving with the same duties as Executive Director since 2007. Under his leadership, the O’Neill was awarded both the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2016 and the 2010 Regional Theater Tony Award. Since 2005, the O’Neill’s budget has nearly tripled, with especially strong earned revenue growth in his time. Significant projects developed at the O’Neill in Mr. Whiteway’s tenure include: In The Heights (2005); [title of show] (2005); The Receptionist (2006); Tales of the City (2009); The Happiest Song Plays Last (2011); The Nether (2013); Superhero (2017); and Slave Play (2018).

While at the O’Neill, he secured a new 60-year lease of the grounds, completed significant facility investments and repairs to every building, and completed the largest expansion in the organization’s history, with nine new buildings and major new programming launched as part of an $8 million capital campaign.  These new programs included a doubling of enrollment for the National Theater Institute, with new musical theater training.

In spring 2017, Mr. Whiteway produced a Broadway concert of Tales of the City at the Music Box Theatre, benefiting the O’Neill and The Trevor Project. And for the organization’s 50th Anniversary in 2014, he negotiated a major book release from Yale University Press, resulting in The O’Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater by Jeffrey Sweet and also acted as photography editor. Additionally, he produced a four-month exhibition at the New York Library for the Performing Arts entitled "Launchpad of the American Theater: The O’Neill Since 1964." Both projects chart the enormous role the O’Neill played in shaping the American theater landscape – its artists, the canon of work, and innovation of new forms.

Mr. Whiteway joined the O’Neill upon graduating from Duke University, with a BA in Economics. Since coming to the O’Neill, he has served on panels at the National Endowment for the Arts, Duke University, and Theater Communications Group; has been profiled by the New York Times, Hartford Courant, and CBS Sunday Morning; and is a trustee of the Educational Theater Foundation and Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition. In 2014, he was named to a three-year term to the nominating committee of the Tony Awards. He recently joined Tribeca Productions as a Creative Development Consultant, and will continue in that role after departing the O'Neill in August 2020.  

About the Monte Cristo Award:

The Monte Cristo Award is presented to a prominent individual each year in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O’Neill’s “pioneering spirit, unceasing artistic commitment, and excellence,” and furthering the American theater. 

Past recipients of the Award include actors Judith Light, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, James Earl Jones, Jason Robards, Jr., Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, & Karl Malden; playwrights John Logan, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Edward Albee, & Neil Simon; directors Harold Prince & George C. Wolfe; and Lin-Manuel Miranda & Arthur & Barbara Gelb. 

About the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center: 

The Launchpad of the American theater, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. Founded in 1964,  and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at theaters around the world. O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute – which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O’Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O’Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts. @ONeill_Center