Friday, September 26, 2008

Awards Day: A Timeline

By Shay Gines

Monday, September 22, 2008

8:00am Time to get up. The sun is way too bright. We really need to buy some new blinds for our bedroom windows. Nick and I were at the office until 3am the night before finishing up last minute details. I didn't get into bed until 4am. 4 hours is not a lot of sleep, but it is enough to get me through the day.

8:00am - 8:30am Check emails to see if anything went down in the last 4 hours. Akia emailed a final schedule for today. There is a Google Calendar Alert reminding me that the awards ceremony is today….. Katie Rosin will be dropping lighters for gift bags at the FIT and apparently I missed a previous email from a sponsor asking how many gift bags there would be. I've got to take care of that right away.

8:30am Patrick leaves for work. My brother (who flew from SLC to come to the ceremony) requests waffles with strawberry syrup for breakfast.

8:30am - 8:45am I make waffles. He'll have to make do with maple syrup. I mean really who am I, Martha Stewart?

8:45am - 9:00am We eat breakfast, watch the Today Show and debate politics.

9:00am - 9:15am I take a shower and feel slightly guilty that Nick, Jason and Akia are already hard at work.

9:15am - 9:30am I put rollers in my hair. I look like the next door neighbor from Bewitched.

9:30am - 10:30am I hem my dress. It has been hanging on the back of my bedroom door for 2 weeks. I can't believe it has taken me until today to hem the damn thing. I don't have a sewing machine so I have to do it by hand. It has a slip so I have to hem both the slip and the dress. It takes way way too long.

10:30am - 10:45am Debate whether or not to wear a girdle tonight.

PROS: It holds me in in all the right places. It gives me a nice shape in a rather tight and unforgiving dress.

CONS: After 30 minutes it begins to pinch and ride up and cuts off the circulation to my legs. It's tight. It's uncomfortable. It's a one-piece so if I have to go to the bathroom I will have to completely disrobe.

There are going to be photos tonight. I decide to wear the girdle.

10:45am - 11:00am I put on the girdle. (Yes, it takes a full 15 minutes for me to wiggle into it) It is a lot tighter than I remember. My brother makes fun of me.

11:00am - 11:15am I'm running really late. I take the rollers out of my hair, get dressed, brush my teeth and pack my bag for tonight.

11:15am - 11:45am Travel to FIT. Luckily we caught an express train.

11:45am - 2:00pm Settle in, unpack my supply boxes, organize everything into categories, answer questions, look for things, tape signs up on the walls, give directions, make a sign for the front of the podium, "Clockwise? Counter-clockwise?" the Blue Man crew offers suggestions from the audience, return telephone calls, return emails, print out 2 new sections of the script, give them to the director, advise Nick on last minute ceremony visuals, lose stuff, find it again, "why don't I have a pen," pull tickets for last minute guests, decide which banners should be hung where, give petty cash to this person, give petty cash to that person….

2:00pm - 2:15pm Lunch - pizza and salad. I grab a slice of hot gooey, cheesy pizza. I want to make a plate of salad, but Jason comes back from his errands and I have stuff for him.

2:15pm - 2:30pm Caucus with Jason about gift bags and priority of remaining things to get done.

2:30pm - 2:35pm Realize that the gift bag stuffing is already well underway and there are 12 boxes of stuff that were not included in the already stuffed bags (300 or so).

2:35pm - 2:45pm Stop everything. Organize crew of people to move additional boxes into the bag stuffing area.

2:45pm - 2:48pm Trip over a box of inflatable balls. Cut my shin and nearly break my neck on the marble floor. Maybe if I hadn't been wearing that damn tight girdle I would have been able to more nimbly catch myself and in front of all the volunteers too. Classy.

2:48pm - 2:50pm I walk it off.

2:50pm - 4:00pm Stuff all the already stuffed bags with the previously neglected bag stuffers.

3:00pm - 5:30pm Blue Man Group has exclusive access to the stage for their tech.

4:00pm - 4:15pm Status meeting with Nick, Jason, Akia and Jose. We need an additional lighting cue. We need to buy some bottles of champagne. We need more ice. We need a push broom. FIT may not have one. We may have to go buy one. We need a small table. It was not requested originally in the FIT contract. They may not be able to provide one. Do we have anything else that could work? The awards table needs to be moved to clear a walk way back stage. We decide is should live behind the second curtain leg stage right. Everyone agrees. We move the table. The meeting is adjourned.

4:15pm - 4:30pm Watch the Blue Man Group rehearsal. I start to cry. I am so proud of how far we've come in the last 4 years. I can not believe that there are 50 volunteers here right now working their hearts out for us. I am humbled and feel very very proud.

4:30pm - 4:40pm Hand over box office materials to Morgan.

4:40pm - 4:50pm Break down and just have to use the rest room. While I am making use of the facilities, I realize that mine, Nick's and Jason's portions of the script still need to be written. The whole disrobing thing is so much more incontinent (I mean inconvenient) than it is worth.

4:50pm - 4:53pm Find paper and "why don't I have a pen?" Work on Executive Director's (ED) script.

4:53pm - 5:10pm Hillary (the awards coordinator) arrives. Time to handover the confidential materials.

5:10pm - 5:20pm Leslie (the beautiful lady who is helping me with my hair and make-up) arrives and begins to set up while the awards, and recipient gift bags are officially moved to the awards table. I notice Nick notice Leslie.

5:20pm - 6:00pm Leslie tries to do my hair and make-up while I try to write our script. The 2 activities are not conducive to one another.

5:55pm 5 minute call to photographs. I'm not dressed yet and my hair is not yet done. Thank god I already have on my girdle. I take off my shoes and realize that I only put on one sock this morning.

6:00pm Everyone is waiting for me.

6:03pm I run out of the dressing room. My hair and make up looks great. But I am still not completely dressed. Too bad they take the first photo anyway.

6:00pm - 6:15pm Photo shoot with volunteers, host and the Blue Men.

6:15pm - 6:30pm Interview with the EDs and the Blue Men.

6:30pm House Opens

6:30pm - 6:40pm Interview with Broadway Bullet. In the middle of the interview I realize that the photo backdrops are slowly but surely sliding down the wall.

6:40pm - 6:45pm Nick's brother helps me re-duct tape the backdrops to the wall.

6:45pm - 6:50pm Check in with Judith Malina. She's great. She would like some water.

6:50pm - 7:00pm Do final check of shop, house, etc. Greet guests. 3 people tell me how great I look. The girdle was totally worth it.

7:00pm - 7:05pm Hand over final speech notes to Nick and Jason. They are less than enthusiastic about my less than legible handwriting and bullet pointed notes.

7:05pm - 7:10pm The house is filling up and we are late getting started.

7:10pm The show starts.

7:10pm - 7:20pm Blue Man Group performs. I watch from the monitor back stage. It looks amazing and the cheers from the audience makes me so happy.

7:20pm - 7:25pm Lisa Kron welcomes the audience. They love her. She is great.

7:25pm Lisa introduces us. I remind Nick and Jason to introduce themselves and say their names.

7:25pm - 7:28pm We're on. Nick is charming. Jason is a crowd pleaser. I get a few laughs. Jason is the only one who actually introduces himself.

7:28pm - 9:40pm The awards ceremony is a whirl wind. I remember… holding Olympia Dukakis' stuff while she participated in interviews and had her photo taken with Judith Malina, greeting Qui Nguyen when he walked back stage after receiving his award, having Desiree Burch tell me I smell like home, listening to Kirk Wood Bromley as he presented Martin Denton and Rochelle Denton with the Stewardship Award, finding a bottle of water for Louis Zorich, having my photo taken with Edward Albee, panicking when Akia and Leonard missed their entrance, holding my breath as the entire audience threw Frisbees at Michael Dahlen and Bill Irwin, getting a little teary-eyed when Michael Mitchell thanked Nick, Jason and myself, hearing Edward Albee say "There are two kinds of theatre, commercial theatre and theatre that matters. You do theatre that matters."

9:38pm - 9:43pm I change into my party clothes. Finally I get to take off the girdle and go to the bathroom. I am in charge of getting to the party space first and making sure everything is right. I stuff everything into my bag and as Jason is pushing me out the door I tell him to make sure to tell Patrick where I am. He assures me he will.

9:46pm I arrive at Mustang Harry's. The staff is waiting for us. Some people are there already.

10:00pm The crowd begins to arrive. No Patrick. I greet guests.

10:10pm Jason arrives. He didn't tell Patrick. I go back to FIT to find Patrick.

10:10pm - 10:15pm I find Patrick.

10:15pm - 12:15am Return to Mustang Harry's. I'm not even sure what I did then. I ate. I had a couple of drinks. I talked to some people.

12:15am - 12:30am I take photos with Patrick in front of Mustang Harry's.

12:30am - 1:00am We catch a cab home.

1:00am - 1:30am My brother showers and gets ready to go to the airport.

1:30am - 1:40am My brother leaves and we say good bye.

1:40am - 2:00am I watch Home Movies on Cartoon Network and fall asleep.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Double the fun!

Working with the Innovative Theatre Awards is a remarkable experience. IT has the complementary stellar qualities of connecting one to the downtown, independent theatre community and, on Awards night, the legends who established OOB’s rich history.

That’s the good news. The bad news is we only have 51 more weeks to get ready for next year’s ceremony.

Seriously, each new season the organization has grown, improved, and expanded its services to the performing artists of New York City. It is a pleasure to face the unique challenge of topping one’s own best work. As a staff, we are all very proud of how far we’ve come and of the even more exciting opportunities to come.

For example, please enjoy our newly accessible blog in full-color Cross Posting! We have extended our blog entries and staff updates to include a Blogspot page. Those of you who are already familiar and comfortable with RSS feeds are welcome to subscribe or “follow” us on our either format. If you’ve been reading along with our adventures via MySpace, you’ll be happy to know these entries will be simultaneous and identical.

You can keep up with the IT Awards thrilling new Season Five activities at:

We are thrilled with our own increased web presence and the important exposure it provides registered shows.

Break a leg,
Hillary Cohen
Development Manager

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the IT Award goes to...

The 4th Annual New York Innovative Theatre Awards were held on Monday, September 22nd. It was a magical evening celebrating our amazing community, the fantastic artists and their outstanding for from this last season. Heralded by the hysterical Lisa Kron and featuring performances by the Blue Man Group, it was a great night.

For a complete list of 2008 Nominees and Recipients, please click to

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Main Event

We're all hard at work getting ready for the Ceremony. Among the things I'm charged with – and charged about – is the design and production of the evening. This includes getting together all the projection, cameras, videocameras, light and sound for the night, as well as coordinating all the tech staff that run the ceremony, and the video and graphics that go up on the screens.

In addition to the mini-documentaries about the Honorary Award Recipients (this year that's Judith Malina and the New York Theatre Experience / Martin Denton & Rochelle Denton), we also create content for projection / visual display. Mainly that means we put up photos of the nominees and their shows on fancy tricked out displays and broadcast-quality animations. Did you see the DNC this year? The visuals were crazy right? Well, while that kind of design and display may be a bit beyond reach for an annual ceremony, we work hard to make sure our production values rival other awards in town – including some that are broadcast on the networks. They're made possible by the gracious generosity of some of the most talented artists in the animation / video production / projection industry. If you've been to a Ceremony before, you know what I mean – if you haven't, you should come this year.

Speaking of this year, can you even believe the amazing lineup we have? Blue Man Group, Edward Albee, Olympia Dukakis and more, all hosted by Lisa Kron! And we'll have a whole lot of amazing nominees in the room, too. The 2008 New York Innovative Theatre Awards Ceremony is the MUST event!

Nick Micozzi
Executive Director
New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back Stage from the IT Awards

So, the 4th annual ceremony for the NY IT Awards is fast approaching and, for the 4th year, I prepare for my role as on-camera interviewer along with my partner, the lovely Ellen Reilly. Now, one might think: "Oh, that's a cushy job. All you have to do is look pretty and ask questions." Well, I'm here to tell you: Yes, it's fun...but it sure ain't as easy as it looks, folks. In fact, I can't always explain why, but it turns out to be one of the hardest roles I've ever played, and each year I think: "Well, that's it. They're going to can me and go with someone else next year, I just know it!" Fortunately, Ellen and I keep getting invited back and every time I find myself crying à la Sally Field, "You like me?! You really like me?!"

Now, this isn't simply a story of my fragile ego. It's a difficult job for two major reasons:

(1) First of all, there is the question of sincerity. I find this to be one of the most important aspects of interviewing people because, personally, I have a dreaded fear of appearing superficial or fake. Maybe it's because it has always been a pet peeve of mine when someone asks me a question but only pretends to care about the answer. Maybe it's because we've all seen red-carpet interviews where the person holding the mic asks a question, but then starts mugging for the camera as if to say, "Who cares what that person is saying ...Look at me!! Aren't I pretty?!?!" Whatever the reason, I make sure that when I ask someone a question about their life or theatre it is of utmost importance to really care about the answer. This means not thinking about the next question you're going to ask, not thinking about the ceremony that you can hear going on in front of the curtain, and not zoning out by wondering, "What am I going to have for dinner" or "Did I shut off the curling iron?" Plus, I'll let you in on a little secret that works for interviews but works even better for everyday life: if you sincerely LISTEN to what people are saying you become automatically engaged and your questions will start flowing naturally.

(2) The other reason that interviewing is a challenge can be summed up in one word: homework. There is nothing worse than seeing an interviewer with a look of a deer-in-headlights as they as they ask an ignorant question. When your kind elementary school teacher told you, "There's no such thing as a stupid question", she wasn't referring to backstage interviews. To start with, there are always hi-profile presenters at our awards ceremonies and it really does behoove us to do a modicum of research on each one so that we don't find ourselves saying things like, "Hmmmm, Edward what plays have you written?" This task is made harder when it comes to researching the nominees since they are not always as well-known, but the modern world has given us a tool to counter that: Google. Amazing what a little web search can teach you about both the nominees and the shows they are nominated for. We put our research on note cards, familiarize ourselves with the info, and then try to relax so that it all comes out naturally [see 1].

All stress aside, I have to admit: Ellen and I have the coolest job of the whole awards ceremony! Seriously -- not only do we get to meet celebrities and other talented people working Off-Off-Broadway, but we actually get to talk to them, ask them questions, and befriend them for a short while. I wouldn't trade this role for any other on ceremony night!

JOIN US SEPTEMBER 22nd at FIT's Haft Auditorium for the

4th Annual New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Ceremony begins at 7pm and will feature performances by the Blue Man Group

Go here for tickets

And if you can't make the ceremony stop by the after party being held at MUSTANG HARRY'S at 352 Seventh Avenue (between 29th and 30th Streets). There will be $5 cosmos, $4.50 well drinks and $4 draft beer. The shindig will start around 9:45pm.

Desmond Dutcher

Judge Wrangler

New York Innovative Theatre Awards