Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Other plays written during this time include
Fear Itself, Lyin’ Ass, and Hi and Bye a ten-minute play.
Eugene was designated “Distinguished Alumnus” at his alma mater Southwest Texas State University (class of ’74) (now known as Texas State University-San Marcos) in 1996 and over the years since he graduated in 1974, he’s consistently gone back to conduct master classes and seminars with theatre students sharing his experiences and insights into the professional world and nuts and bolts about the crafts of acting and writing. Starting in the early ’90s, he stepped up to assist Texas State University in securing the participation of celebs and sponsors as a celebrity host for what became their most successful scholarship fundraising project with the Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament. He was able to bring many of his celebrity colleagues and friends to participate in the annual golf tournament and gala fundraising event that, through the years, generated over a million dollars for the endowment for graduate scholarships at the University.
In 2002 he was asked to serve as Artistic Director for the Texas State Black Theatre Festival, which has since morphed into the Texas State Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference.
The conference is inspired by the Eugene O’Neill playwright’s Conference at Yale University and the ideals of its founder Lloyd Richards. The conference fills a void in providing opportunities for Black and Latino Playwrights from across the country to hone their storytelling skills and develop their plays in a safe environment with resources including a professional director and dramaturgical support and at least one professional actor involved in the week-long rehearsal development process along with students from Texas State University drama department who gain invaluable experience participating with these professionals in this process. The conference recently was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Foundation grant and celebrated its tenth year anniversary expanding the conference activities to include more seminars and a tribute to Douglas Turner Ward and the Negro Ensemble Company for their contributions to the ever-evolving phenomenon that is American Theatre. Next year, the conference will pay the same tribute to Luis Valdez and his Teatro Campesino.
The mission statement for the Texas State Black and Latino Playwrights Conference is: “To study the craft. To nurture the writer. To celebrate the work.”
In 2007 his alma mater offered him a position as Artist-in-Residence in the department of drama and dance which he accepted and moved his family to San Marcos, Texas. His responsibilities include hosting the Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament and serving as Artistic Director of the Texas State Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference, things he had previously done gratis for the university. He also is responsible for acting in or directing a play in the department every other year while he continues to work as an actor, playwright, and director professionally across the country. He also does guest lectures on campus sharing with classes in the Honors program like screenwriting, playwriting, and storytelling, and in the English African American Literature classes and with many classes in the department of drama. He mentors students helping them with roles in department productions and advising with audition pieces for the BFA program and preparing applications and auditions for graduate programs in playwriting and acting.
Since moving to the Central Texas area, he’s found professional work onstage close to home with Austin, Texas’ Zachary Scott Theatre in productions of Suzanne Lori Parks, The Book of Grace which the playwright was on hand to direct, and in Zach’s productions of God of Carnage and Horton Foote’s, Dividing the Estate. Eugene was recognized with the Best Actor Award from Austin’s Circle Critics for his work at Zach. He’s also completed filming as a recurring doctor on the ABC Family series, Lying Game.
The Book of Grace
Dividing the Estate
As a director, Eugene was co-Director with Kenny Leon for the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta) production of Gem of the Ocean and has directed productions of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds with his students in Fort Worth and a showcase production of his play, Somebody Called a tale of two preachers in Los Angeles and His East Texas Hot Links at the John Beasley Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska.