The series was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in commemoration of the one hundredth birthday (1988) of Eugene O'Neill. BARD's funding was renewed by NEH for three additional production periods. The series was produced by Erik Bauersfeld. Artistic consultant Travis Bogard, preeminent O'Neill scholar and author of Contour in Time, a study of O'Neill's complete dramas. Bogard recorded commentaries which are heard at the conclusion of each play. The notes below are largely taken from Bogard's texts.
The plays were directed by José Quintero, with Sound Design and final technical production by Randy Thom at Lucasfilm studios in Nicascio, California. Lazarus Laughed, the final play in the series, was never before produced in its entirety. In this series it was directed by Ed Hastings with Sound Design by James McKee, music written and directed by Lou Harrison. The series was Distributed in the USA by National Public Radio. A selection of the plays was broadcast by BBC in London and WDR Köln.
The opportunity to work with Director, José Quintero, was a profound experience for the casts and those of us producing the plays. Quintero is one of the masters of American theatre, and unique in his understanding of O'Neill. Shortly after the four S.S. Glencairn plays were recorded Quintero had to undergo surgery involving his vocal chords. Thereafter he communicated remarkably with a speech device. Fortunately all of Quintero's rehearsals and talks with the actors were recorded. A documentary was produced by James McKee and myself with selections from these recordings (see Quintero Directs O'Neill, below). The excerpts were taken principally from the Glencairn plays, before his surgery, but include also selections from rehearsals of The Hairy Ape and Emperor Jones. There is a transcription edited by Travis Bogard of these later rehearsals, and there are considerably more recordings in our archives to be edited and transcribed.
We wish to add here our great appreciation to José's friend Nick Tsacrios for his close attendance and care for José during the long days rehearsals and the years of production on this project. Completion of the work and Quintero's subsequent work in the theatre owes much to this guiding friendship.