Update January 2009 

 
1/19/2009 
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JANUARY 2009                               News from Off-Off-Broadway                                 Issue 41
Emily Sandack, Editor 

Top 8 Stories of 2008

Each 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.

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.
 
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 community.
 
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 exciting event.
 
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.
 
StageBuddy.com 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       2009CalendarON SALE NOW 







Keep 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 outstanding productions.
AWARDS CEREMONY DVDs
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.

BLOG BLURB

Do 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!

We 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 format.



When you're not registering, performing, or judging shows, please stop by the IT Awards Staff Blog!
 


 SPOTLIGHT ON
  
TOM O'HORGAN
May 3, 1924 - January 11, 2009
 
by Christopher Borg   

Tom O'Horgan
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 harp.
 
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.

O'Horgan 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 the-mind- blowing-hippie-celebration-
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:
 
David Anthony
- www.davidawa.com
 
Sans Peur Photography
www.sanspeurphotos.com
 
David Fletcher
 
 
Monday Sessions Media
   www.mondaysessionsmedia.com
 
Marc Goldberg
www.marcgoldberg.com
 
Ernesto De Anda, Matt Cohen, Kathy Crumish, Radovan Tomko
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Header Photos L to R:
The Stolen Chair Theatre Comapny's production of Theatre Is Dead and So Are You, La MaMa Experimental Theatre's production of Yanagai! Yanagai!, Rabbit Hole Ensemble's production of Shadow of Himself, and The New York Neo-Classical Ensemble's production of The Twelfth Night, Or What You Will


For info on great shows currently running OOB, check out our website.
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