Top 8 Stories of 2008
1. Off-Off-Broadway Turns 50 Years Old
- In 1958, a retired dancer opened a small café on an obscure side
street in Greenwich Village. In December of that year, on the small 8
x 8 foot stage of the Caffe Cino, the first Off-Off-Broadway play was
performed. 50 years later OOB is one of the largest and most active
arts communities in the country. This past year, Manhattan Borough
President Scott M. Stringer issued a proclamation declaring April 28th,
2008 as Joe Cino Appreciation Day. A crowd of friends and colleagues
including John Guare, Doric Wilson, Bob Heidi, Marshall Mason, and Bob
Dahdah gathered to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of
Off-Off-Broadway and the legacy of Joe Cino.
year we do a wrap up of the top events and stories that effected
Off-Off-Broadway. Here is our list of the most important happenings in
the OOB world from 2008.
Read more about Joe Cino Appreciation Day in this story by Dave Edson.
Read more about Remembering Joe Cino by Robert Patrick
2. OOB Transfers
- We all love Off-Off-Broadway and the freedom and ownership it offers
us, but it is always exciting when we have a chance to share our work
with a wider audience. 2008 saw a number of very successful OOB
productions moving to Off-Broadway runs. Some of our favorites include:
Beebo Brinker, The Play About the Naked Guy, Elizabeth Rex, God's Ear, Too Much Memory and after years of wildly successful performances [title of show]
made the big leap to Broadway. Congratulations to everyone involved.
It takes a tremendous amount of work, energy and love to follow a
production through that process and we're proud of you.
3. Materials for the Arts Celebrates 30 Years - In 1978 when the NYC Parks Department sought a refrigerator to house animal medications a new organization was born. Materials for the Arts (MFTA)
manages a system that accepts donations of unwanted, but usable items
from both businesses and individuals. Instead of these materials going
into a landfill, they are redistributed to artists and educational
facilities that need them. Each year MFTA provides over 1 million
pounds of materials valued at more than $7 million. From set pieces to
props to office materials, the OOB artists that utilize MFTA save
thousands of dollars. MFTA also cuts down on the overwhelming waste of
our city by recycling perfectly good materials. Join us is wishing MFTA
a very Happy Birthday!
4. Statistics About OOB-
In 2008, the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation released 2 reports
about the business of doing business Off-Off-Broadway. The first
report, Statistical Analysis of Off-Off-Broadway Budgets, was released in April and examined how OOB producers spend their budgets. The second, Study of Off-Off-Broadway Performance Venues,
which was released in November was a 5 year examination that tracked
the use of OOB theatres. A study of the demographic makeup of the
Off-Off-Broadway community is currently being analyzed and a report is
due in February 2009. Other studies such as an audience survey and an
economic impact study are next on the list.
5. TRU 15 Year Anniversary - For 15 years Theater Resources Unlimited
has been providing a meeting ground for OOB producers and artists.
Dedicated to fostering communication, promoting a spirit of cooperation
and sharing resources this organization now boasts a membership of over
400 theatre professionals. TRU provides numerous services including:
scholarships, fiscal conduit services, audition events, mentorship
programs, industry panels, referrals and so much more. The brainchild
of founder and President Bob Ost, TRU has been a genuine asset to our
6. HERE Arts Center Reopens - After several years of construction and redesign and a price tag of over 1 million dollars, HERE Arts Center
officially reopened its doors to show off its swanky new space.
Featuring an improved café and gallery along with two state-of-the-art
performance spaces, the OOB venue is comfortable and cool. As their
press release puts it "HERE is poised to continue and expand its role
as a downtown haven for the finest emerging art."
7. Shuttered Spaces
- OOB tends to weather economic hard times better than our
counterparts. However in 2008 many of our spaces were hit hard by the
"recession". It seems as though each day brings news of another space
losing its lease. Collective Unconscious, The Michael Weller Theatre,
The 2nd floor of the 78th Street Theatre Lab (although the 3rd floor is
still up and running) and most recently and unexpectedly, the Zipper Factory were all forced to close their doors. Four OOB theatres in the Federal Archive Building, the Ohio Theatre and 13th Street Rep are all still in danger.
8. 2nd Indie Theatre Convocation
- On July 12th, Martin Denton, Rochelle Denton and John Clancy hosted
the 2nd Indie Theater Convocation at the Barrow Street Theatre. The
packed house engaged in a discussion about the most important issues
facing OOB artist and producers. It was a very invigorating and
Read More about this event in this story by Doug Strassler.
OOB Has a New StageBuddy
By Morgan Linsay Tachco
It's getting harder for OOB. Journalism is on the decline, newspapers
are tanking along with the economy - myspace flooded out, facebook is
in - to twitter or not to twitter - what's an OOB theatre artist gotta
do to get noticed around here? StageBuddy.com's answer: a new completely free, user-generated website for live performance events in New York City.
launched in September, and has provided a great solution for live
performers to get the word out. In addition to listing information:
synopses, pictures and logos, StageBuddy.com offers a true web 2.0 experience adding video uploads, profiles & interviews, and audience reviews & feedback. StageBuddy.com plans to get reviews online in the near future.
With your free account to StageBuddy.com,
you even get free admission to StageBuddy's Weekly Night Live every
Saturday night at the Times Square Arts Center. Without an account the
tickets are just $5; the show features live interviews of and
performances from New York theatre's movers and shakers by Dave
Leftkowitz, former editor of playbill online. The icing on the cake?
StageBuddy's Weekly Night Live has a 6pm curtain, and gets you out by
7pm, giving you just enough time to get to the theatre for an 8pm show!
Free, user-generated content, video uploads &
interviews, plus a live weekly show previewing live performance in New
York City? Head on over to StageBuddy.com to check it out.
2009 IT Awards Calendars ON SALE NOW
track of all of your important dates with this fun and fancy 2009 wall
calendar featuring some of Indie theatre's hottest artists and their
Flying Frisbees! Moving Moments: The 2008 DVD is on sale now, and
includes all the outrageous moments from the 2008 New York Innovative
Theatre Awards Ceremony, plus backstage interviews with recipients and
presenters including: Edward Albee, Lisa Kron, Bill Irwin, Martin
Denton and Rochelle Denton, Judith Malina and more.
Buy your DVD here
2008 Awards Photos
Ceremony, red carpet, and backstage photos of you and other star OOB
artists all dressed up and looking swell: Over 2,500 photos to choose
from in the 2008 Photo Gallery.
you know what Quincy Jones asked President Obama for? Are you in favor
of a Secretary on the Arts? Have you tried any of the ideas on Give
List? Did you hear The Tank got a new space?
We're talking about it on our Staff Blog!
regularly post personal entries and updates on both our Blogspot and
MySpace pages. Those of you who are already familiar and comfortable
with RSS feeds are welcome to subscribe or "follow" us on our either
When you're not registering, performing, or judging shows, please stop by the IT Awards Staff Blog!
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May 3, 1924 - January 11, 2009 by Christopher Borg
2006 Artistic Achievement Award recipient
This month, Off-Off- Broadway said goodbye to one of its originators
and most famous innovators, Tom O'Horgan. An original Caffe Cino
pioneer, theatre and film director, composer, actor and musician,
O'Horgan was a superstar of the Indie Theatre world, if ever there was
one. O'Horgan's biography is a history of breaking new theatrical
ground. After receiving his degree from DePaul University, Chicagoan
and Second City alum Tom O'Horgan came to New York and immersed himself
in the early Off-Off- Broadway experimental theatre, supporting himself
with a night club act consisting of improv comedy while playing the
His OOB roots began with Love and Vexations at the legendary Caffe Cino in September of 1963, after which he composed and directed a number of productions including: Masked Men, Birdbath, Futz!, Tom Paine,The Maids, and The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria,
at La Mama Experimental Theater Club, which showcased his witty and
highly-physical approach to theater. An imaginative and talented
musician and performer, O'Horgan celebrated the concept of a "total
theater," combining acrobatics, dance, mime and music with text and
storytelling. A protégé of Ellen Stewart, La Mama's founder, by 1968 he
had directed about 50 plays, films and happenings with her troupe.
won three Drama Desk Awards for his direction Off-Broadway and was
named Theatrical Director of the Year by Newsweek in 1968, the year he
made his Broadway directorial debut and created Broadway history with
political- happening- musical, Hair, for which he received a Tony Award nomination.
By 1971, O'Horgan had four shows running on Broadway at the same time
and the exciting spirit of downtown theatrical innovation he brought
with him would forever leave a mark on the New York theatre scene,
uptown and downtown.
O'Horgan went on to direct the Broadway productions of Lenny, Jesus Christ Superstar, Dude, Inner City, The Leaf People, and I Won't Dance and a stage adaptation of the Beatles' classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He directed and composed the score for the screen adaptation of Futz! as well as directing the film version of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros with Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder and Karen Black.
In 2006, Tom O'Horgan was handed the Artistic Achievement Award by his
dear friend Ben Vereen, an actor he helped discover, in recognition of
his significant contributions to Off-Off-Broadway. Tom O'Horgan died on
January 11th in Venice, Florida, in the care of his friends, ending
years of suffering from Alzheimer's disease. His work and his life have
shaped the artistic history of this community and although he will be
missed, he will not be forgotten.
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Photos from the 2008 Awards Ceremony by:
Ernesto De Anda, Matt Cohen, Kathy Crumish, Radovan Tomko