Wednesday, December 12, 2007


When I first came to NYC, I was an actress, excited by all that the big apple had to offer. Young, talented, charming (if I do say so my self) and with endless enthusiasm and energy. Surely this city was just waiting for me to arrive.

Within the 1st month of being on the island, I got a semi-permanent temp job, found an apartment and landed the role of Jackie in an Off-Off-Broadway production of HOT L Baltimore. Not a bad start. (I look back now and think - "How the hell did I do all that?") While still in rehearsals, I was cast as an artist in resident at the Touchstone Theatre in Pennsylvania. So as soon as HOT L closed, I found a sublet for my apartment, packed my bags and jumped on a bus to PA.

It was a mixed experience in PA. I learned a lot about myself during that year and by the time I returned to the city, the shiny injection of enthusiasm had certainly worn off.

During my absence, many of my college classmates had arrived. So here we were a group of newly graduated actors, anxious to "do theatre our way" and excited about showing off a little. So we did the most logical thing we could think of; we started a theatre company. Esperance Theatre Company.

We didn't have much producing experience, but we put up 4 full productions in our 1st year, a fact that we and our parents were very proud of. We funded those productions from donations from family and friends, a benefit (which actually raised much more than we anticipated) and the remaining amount, which was about a quarter of the seasonal budget, was put on my credit card. (I'll pause here so you can shake your head and sigh).

We did all the things we knew to do to promote the shows. We did a window display at the theatre. We did a sandwich board. We handed out and tacked up flyers at local establishments. We sent emails and faxes and postcards. We sent listing requests to about 300 newspapers. I even handed out flyers in the subway. We were very surprised when we had only modest audiences (to put it nicely). If we had taken these same measures in Salt Lake, we would be sold out. There would be a nice big article about the production along with a color production photo in all the local papers and we would surely be minor celebrities.

What press we could actually get to our shows liked us, but most of our productions closed with barely any acknowledgement that they even occurred. It was discouraging. That consternation and constant struggle for money and resources began to affect our personal relationships as well. I lost some very dear friends. We fought it out for 2 more seasons, then decided to take a hiatus and just never reformed. I think we did good work. It was work that I was proud of. We learned a lot and did something very courageous.

Certainly these are universal struggles that all OOB companies are faced with and it will always be a challenge to produce theatre in NYC on a shoestring budget. However, sometimes I wish that we had started our enterprise now. It seems to me that the OOB community is so much stronger than it was 10 years ago. There are organizations like the Community Dish or EGAD (Eclectic Group of Artistic Directors) where OOB artists gather to discuss challenges, commiserate with one another and share resources. The internet is teeming with bloggers and sites like offoffonline which are dedicated to OOB. The formation of the League of Independent Theatre which advocates for OOB is a huge step for this community. and the Dentons are clearly advocates for OOB and I think the IT Awards has helped a little too.

Knowing that there is a community and that you are part of it can be truly bolstering. Having avenues to connect with colleagues for help and advice is a godsend. Having organizations out there that are ready and willing to help you is such an advantage.

Yes, producers will always have to worry about money and space and publicity and staffing, but knowing you are not alone makes it so much easier to bear. I am so inspired by this community that it rekindles my enthusiasm and love for what we do.

Community Dish -

EGAD - email Paul Adams at

OffOffOnline -

Off-Off-Broadway Review -

NYTheatre -

The League of Independent Theater -

The IT Awards -

Shay Gines

Executive Director

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Sunday, December 2, 2007

One Night Stands ;)

Happy Chanukah, Off-Off-Broadway! I, for one, really love this time of year. I deeply enjoy celebrating with friends and family, and I also tend to reflect on the past 12 months. This has been a particularly eventful year. YOU, my beloved New York performing arts community, have been very busy.

In the first six weeks of fall 2007 alone the IT Awards adjudicated an unprecedented 100 productions. That translates to 300 more audience members watching and thinking about your shows. It is, in my opinion, a huge accomplishment both for our widening array of registrants and for us as an organization.

Personally this year, I moved to Brooklyn and that brings me to the theme of tonight's blog: one night stands. No, not the lucky individuals who have briefly visited my beautiful Bensonhurst apartment! I mean the incredible shorter-run theater being created in my new home borough. They may not play the 8-performance minimum to register, but they are fast, fun, and raise funds (not unlike myself).

Vampire Cowboys produced a third installment of their very popular Revamped series at their fantastic performance and teaching venue, the Battle Ranch. This year's show was a laugh-out-loud collection of Sci-Fi Fairy Tales featuring six playwrights, video performances, and musical guests. It was especially thrilling to see so many of the talented collaborators are IT Award-registered, nominated, and recipient companies. I am really looking forward to upcoming full-length offerings from each of the contributors.

Monarch Theater Company presented a terrific One Minute Play Festival this weekend at the Brick Theater. It included a whopping 34 playwrights, 12 directors, and 40 actors - all at 60 seconds each. They made excellent use of such little time, putting each moment to work in frequently unique and always energetic ways.

I am so proud to call such a fertile place my little HQ. You may not already be here in Brooklyn, but Off-Off-Broadway and the IT Awards sure are. We cordially invite you to join us. Who knows? Maybe someone will invite you to stay for a night.

Season's Greetings,

Hillary Cohen

Development Manager

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Monday, November 26, 2007

OOB in the Press?

It's thanksgiving as i write this, and i just read this again:
i can't for the life of me figure out why mainstream journalists in New York seem so almost-stubborn in their refusal to acknowledge Off-Off-Broadway.
In the midst of this strike, with media struggling to advise tourists and would-be Broadway audiences of alternatives to the closed theatres, some of these guys can't bear to bring themselves to utter "Off-Off-Broadway". I mean, seriously, isn't that an odd sort of selective blindness? Do they honestly believe OOB doesn't hold a legitimate place in the artistic landscape of this city and country?
Especially now, when Broadway tickets can cost literally $450. No one can afford that. Big companies with expense accounts can, and very rich tourists can. Outside of that there is only a tiny fraction of people who can and will afford that, and if that's what Broadway is choosing as its target market now, then why would the rest of us even care?
There is a better alternative for human beings who want to see live theatre.
Off-Off-Broadway. Affordable Theatre.
Maybe we should start marketing it that way.
You can even think about it as "local and organic" if you want. No out-of-town tryouts, no artificial ingredients or helicopters. But the bottom line is
1) you're going to sit close enough to actually see the actors' facial expressions (unlike the last 4 broadway shows i saw).
2) you're going to experience the show in a more intimate environment - usually less than 100 other people
3) you're likely to see real creative exploration, risk-taking and experimentation
4) you're likely to see real innovation (BlessedUnrest's recent show featured the most innovative use of a plastic tarp i've ever seen. absolute theatrical magic from a $30 prop/set piece)
5) you're ticket will cost less than a day's pay
Here, for about 20 bucks you can see something that just might change your life. It's shameful that our press refuses to step it up and properly cover this amazingly vibrant and critical theatre.
Is there something else we should be doing to "merit" their attention?

Nick Micozzi

Executive Director

New York IT Awards

Sunday, November 11, 2007

101 Ways to Promote the Arts

Hey all I know this is cheating a bit, as I'm going to post an article written by someone else, but it is so invaluable to the OOB/Indie world, I think this is a great place for it. Additionally, on Wednesday I'm recording a Podcast with Martin Denton about Publicity, I'll let you know when it is airing...stay tuned.

101 Ways to Promote the Arts:
Compiled by the Arts & Business Council of Miami

When looking at the suggestions on this list, consider your Target customers. Try
to see things through the Target customer's point-of-view. Will they respond well
to this particular type of promotion? Is the type of Promotion likely to reach the
customers your organization is trying to capture? Do you have facts to back up
your assumptions?

1. Develop relationship with neighborhood shops
2. Point of purchase displays to sell tickets
3. Hand out postcards and fliers in neighborhood
4. Opening Night Sponsorship with local business
5. Tie-ins to other events
6. Perform at halftime at a sports event - Hand out information before and
7. Live radio broadcasts at programs in return for free media ads
8. Statement stuffers in local banks, stores, etc.
9. Contests for children to win free tickets
10. Grocery bag printing about event
11. Newsletter
12. Print restaurant trays with info about event
13. Posters
14. Holiday decorations display or sale at December performances and
15. Speak at a local Rotary or Kiwanis club
16. Local business provides all the ushers for a performance as a corporate
17. Media co-sponsorships
18. Endorsements or ads by celebrities
19. Target specific groups. Example: Women, Families
20. Fliers in chamber newsletters
21. Special campus promotions to sell tickets
22. Give away the Front Row as Radio Promotion
23. Opening Night Reception with the Artists
24. Meet the Artist events
25. Restaurant, show, limo packages for patrons
26. Special hand out nights - Example: Fang giveaway for Dracula
27. Slides at local movie theatres
28. Special extras for season subscribers
29. Family promotions at matinees - Example: Tea party with the dancers
for Nutcracker
30. Behind the scenes events and promotions
31. Costumed courier to hand out information
32. Mall exhibits and ticket giveaways
33. Fashion show themed around program - Example: a swimsuit show for
South Pacific
34. Videos of performance highlights
35. Local weather remotes - broadcast live from your site, cast sings "You
Are My Sunshine"
36. Celebrity or VIP Ushers
37. Discounts for specific groups
38. Special Offer mailings to Target audience
39. Benefit tie-ins - food drive during opening night
40. Co-host performance and reception with charity
41. Broadcast e-mail about upcoming events
42. Website with performance and ticket specials
43. Balloon drop with free tickets in some balloons
44. Neighborhood store theme Window Displays
45. Beverage company tie-ins - xyz wine night with free samples, wine
company advertises event
46. Win a Dinner Date with the star or an artist
47. Singles performance with reception
48. Pre-show demonstrations
49. Place postcards about upcoming events in shops and restaurants in the
50. Video streaming on website to showcase
51. Patron buttons or cards to receive special gifts
52. Scavenger Hunts
53. Neighborhood Restaurant Bill Promotion - a flier for your event is
presented with each bill
54. Related visual art display in the lobby
55. Photo contest
56. E-mail newsletter
57. E-mail invitation with special discount
58. Trio Discounts - buy three shows get one free
59. Collective ads with neighborhood groups
60. Annual event tie ins
61. Senior citizen programs and discounts
62. Bounce back ads on back of tickets
63. Perform at malls - hand out information
64. Perform at festivals - hand out information
65. Radio promotions with free tickets
66. Nursing home appearances by artists
67. Children's hospital appearance by artists
68. Easter egg hunt with spring shows - some eggs have free tickets
69. Focus group brunch
70. Costumed characters at business event
71. Arts Talk
72. Gallery walk with collective ads
73. Arts Night in the Neighborhood
74. Bring Your Neighbor promotion
75. Door hanging invitations
76. Ads in church and temple bulletins
77. Audience Surveys
78. Test Drive Promotion - Car dealer gives free tickets to your performance
to anyone who tests drive a specific car - dealer pays for tickets and
advertises event in their test drive ads
79. Postcards, fliers at related performances
80. Trade ads with related arts groups
81. Niche advertising
82. Customer Appreciation programs
83. Lobby promotions with local business
84. Concierge - Dinner reservations in the lobby
85. TV public service announcements
86. Cable television tie-ins
87. Giving tree in the lobby
88. Performance/event on Arts Council website
89. Performance/event on visitors bureau website
90. Condo group sales promotion
91. Perform at local condos - sell tickets
92. Event/performance featured in sponsors ads
93. In-house business Promotion to sell tickets
94. Listing in Arts Connection newsletter
95. Listings in free social and community websites
96. Calendar listings - be creative
97. Supervised children's area for parents
98. Tell A Friend campaigns
99. Perform at libraries
100. Tickets to hotels/concierges
101. Shuttle buses to event from hotels/condos


As always you can contact me with questions!
Katie Rosin
Publicist New York IT Awards

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tom O’Horgan has left the city.

If you are involved in the theatre, you have probably heard the name Tom O'Horgan. He was the original creator and director of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, two productions that revolutionized the modern American musical.

Mr. O'Horgan achieved what many artists aspire to -- he had created something unique, something that was truly an expression of himself. His vision excited people in the general public and became a cultural phenomenon. He achieved both critical and commercial success. Yet he never rested on those laurels. He continually returned to his roots, to explore and experiment, striving to find new ways to communicate with his audience. He never simply accepted the traditionally agreed upon terms of the theatre. He would place actors in the audience or bring audience members to participate on stage, stage productions in apartment buildings or on fire escapes. He pushed the boundaries of our society, experimenting with gender identity and tackling subjects such as racism and sexism in the 1960's. I think it is because of this drive to always invent something new and interesting that he never because a cliché.

I first met Tom at a symposium that was hosted by the IT Awards in 2004. Many of the founders of the Off-Off-Broadway movement attended. Even though Tom was not in the best of health, he climbed the flight of stairs to the second story of the Drama Book Shop. He proudly sat amongst his peers, many of whom he hadn't seen in 35 or 40 years. He clasped hands with old friends, reminisced and laughed with former colleagues, patiently obliged autograph seekers and posed for photos with admiring young artists who where giddy with the prospect of meeting a living legend.

In 2005, the IT Awards held our first annual awards ceremony. We were presenting the Stewardship Award (for service and leadership to the Off-Off-Broadway community) to Ellen Stewart, LaMaMa herself. Tom was very instrumental in forging the fledgling LaMaMa and when asked who she'd like to present her with the award, Ellen said, Tom O'Horgan. I didn't get to see Tom much that night. I was in producer mode and he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease and public appearances were draining. However I did manage to have my photo taken with him.

The following winter Marc Cohn, Tom's assistant and friend, and I worked together on an application for the honorary IT Awards. Marc mailed me Tom's CV which was over 150 pages. I work with doctors - not just doctors, academic doctors - whose CVs are quite extensive and include everything they've ever done. You are considered to be very accomplished if your CV is 30 pages. Looking through Tom's CV was much like looking at Elvis' room of gold records. You have an entirely different appreciation for his achievements. Tom was the only director in history to have 4 Broadway productions running simultaneously: Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Lenny and Inner City. I understood Marc's frustration is trying to sum up Tom's accomplishments in a mere 2 or 3 pages. There was certainly not enough room to give a complete accounting of Tom's contributions, but we did our best.

In September of 2006, Ben Vereen, star of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar presented Tom with the Artistic Achievement Award. Ben spoke for over 10 minutes about his longtime friend calling him a genius and visionary. Tom was met with a vigorous standing ovation. When the audience finally took their seats, he leaned over the podium and simply said, "I'm in love with this whole game."

In October of 2007, I started to hear the rumors that Tom would be leaving the city and selling his property to help pay for living and medical expenses. Tom's apartment is a huge artists loft complete with music room and stage. All of the walls, floor to ceiling, are lined with musical instruments, art, masks, books, show posters and many other items all of which have sentimental value to Tom. When looking at the collection you feel like a child, excited to try the various instruments or hear the stories of the Hopi Indian doll or the Balinese mask.

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 Patrick and I got up early and arrived at the loft to help Marc organize and prepare for the sale. At 10am, invited guests showed up and began to search through the piles of books and stacks of drums. At 11am the general public began to pour in. From noon until 4pm was a blur. There were so many people asking so many questions. Some people were excited by the fact that they could own a musical instrument that belonged to a Broadway star. Others had no idea who Tom O'Horgan was but saw people exiting the building with the most interesting items and despite the $25 entrance fee, they just had to check it out for themselves. By 5pm there was only a small group of Tom's closest cohorts that just couldn't tear themselves away. They stockpiled trinkets and chimes and spent thousands of dollars just to have some mementos their beloved friend. They cried and hugged and agreed to meet for dinner.

There were some truly amazing and wonderful things that people bought, but I think that Patrick and I took home the coolest thing of the entire sale. We are now the very proud owners of the giant silver mask from the original Jesus Christ Superstar. For a mere $300 we purchased a piece of theatre history and one that has personal meaning and sentimental value for us both.

I feel so blessed to have had the chance to get to know Tom on a personal level. Although I don't think he remembers me or any of the time we spent together.

Tom is being cared for by friends in Sarasota, Florida temporarily until a home is completed near the Tom O'Horgan Theatre in New Mexico. There he will be surrounded by his most cherished items and will receive the medical care and attention that he needs.

Even though I know that Tom will be well looked after by Marc and his wife, I am saddened that there was no health insurance or support system to care for this man, this truly remarkable artist.

Shay Gines

New York IT Awards

Executive Director

Thursday, November 1, 2007

RIP Bouwerie Lane Theatre 1963 – 2007

The Bouwerie Lane Theatre: Designed one hundred years ago by Henry Engelbert, this cast iron building is a rare example of the French Second Empire style, and is an historic landmark. The building was home to the German Exchange Bank, then later housed the Bond Street Savings Bank. The space was converted into a theater in 1963. The old vault still exists in the basement and the box office window was one of the original teller windows.

A theater since 1963, and from 1974 – 2007 was the home of the Jean Cocteau Repertory, a leading Off-Broadway company dedicated to the classics.

It was purchased in June of this year by "Self-Storage King" Adam Goldman for a reported $15 million dollars. He plans to reside in the top floor and lease out below to "respectable" retailers.

Bouwerie Lane's production history.

NYC architecture

Neighborhood development

Lost City

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Am Water

Monday, September 24, 2007: The IT Awards held our 3rd annual Awards Ceremony. It was a great evening and I think everyone had a good time. It was my turn to write a blog and I thought writing about the ceremony would be a snap. But to be honest, I was having trouble organizing my thoughts about it into something cohesive.

After thinking about it for a few days, I think the reason why I've been struggling is because as a producer, your attention is stretched in so many different directions and you have to be involved in so many different aspects that it is sometimes difficult to have a clear view of what the end result really is. I won't know how the evening actually went until I see the DVD.

One of my favorite Zen observations is that when water running down hill meets with an immovable object, the water does not try to go through the object, it simply goes around it. There are many times when I have to remind my self that "I am water."

So on that note, I'm letting it flow.

I've been an Off-Off-Broadway producer for many years and producing these awards is very much like producing an OOB production.

We have no money, but we have managed to get a lot of the resources we use donated or swapped for in-kind services. Don't tell anyone but we bought the "toilet in a box" that was used for the Cino performance and returned it the next day. The red fabric that covered the podium was purchased 4 years ago at the .99 discount fabric store and has been used at just about every one of our events since. I would say that a good 65% of our prep time for this event is spent trying to finagle resources. Luckily we have a very resourceful staff.

Everybody's schedule is impossible. We all have day jobs and other projects, but somehow we make it work. Although if you were to follow us around, you might think we were a bunch of drug dealers because of all the late night telephone calls, quickie meetings on various corners throughout NYC (to exchange papers, thumb drives, money, etc.) and all the hustling we do.

We rely on our friends to help us out. I don't know if they love us or hate us for it, but every year we turn to our buddies for everything from raffle prizes to glowtape to letting us do our dry tech in their office on the Sunday before the ceremony and every year they come through providing manpower, ideas and creative input. God bless 'em.

I work with some of the most dedicated, imaginative and good natured people that I have ever known. I can't say it enough how much I love our staff. Yes, we get on each other's nerves and sometimes we want to punch each other in the face, but it is only because we are all so passionate about this and feel that it is so important. This is going to sound totally sappy, but there are days when I look at Nick, Jason or Akia and I am overwhelmed by their commitment and abilities to accomplish the impossible. They give up sleep, money, comfort… They go out of their way to make meetings at the craziest times in the most inconvenient of places. Then there is Christopher, Desmond, Hillary, Morgan and Nancy. We ask them to do the most complicated, often unreasonable things and they do it with such grace and ease. When you are overwhelmed with details, it is such a relief to know that you have intelligent, competent, pleasant people on your team.

Of course we have our share of drama. All of us have bad days and we try to be sensitive to that. And there are some events, situations or people that it would be inappropriate to discuss here. It is during these times that I find my self repeating over and over again, "I am water."

We are dealing with much bigger spaces than are generally used for Off-Off-Broadway productions. There are cool things and not so cool things about that. This year we actually had wings and a fly space. We had microphones and a follow spot. There was a green room AND dressing rooms… and a fancy staircase. There were also a lot of restrictions. We actually ran into red tape about our tape. We had to have the kind and brand of tape we used approved through their facilities department. "I am water. I am water, I am water." We had to go through their catering if we wanted to provide food for our crew (we bought pizza for everyone anyway and then got in big trouble about it). We had to pay for security (which is not cheap) and of course the space itself was not inexpensive. But it was a good space and worked well for us and like many OOB companies, we would like to find a place to call home so we'll probably use it again.

One of the big differences between producing a show and these awards is that we only have one shot at getting it right. It is very visceral and definitely keeps everyone on their toes. It also means that if you screw up… you just screw up. There is no fixing it tomorrow night. There is also a huge part of it that is simply out of our control. Like the script for example. We provide each of the presenters with a suggested script. They are told that they can use the script as written, make changes to it or do something entirely their own. We don't know what they are actually going to say until they get out there on the stage. Of course we have no idea what the recipients will say. We're just glad we have insurance in case someone trips while trying to make a grand leap up onto the stage (I did appreciate your enthusiasm Dan Safer).

We create the structure and the rest takes on a life of its own. There is something very Zen about letting go and just accepting that it is what it is.

Shay Gines

Executive Director

New York IT Awards

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two weeks away!

So cyber friends, where to begin?

..:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Fall is amazingly upon us, and it seems impossible to me that our awards ceremony is less than two weeks away!

I just returned from 5 days in the deep deep south- ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. I was working on a music event with my family and stayed on an amazing old cotton plantation literally in the middle of no where sleeping in a restored shack. The event was a lot of fun, and I got to meet and work with some amazing musicians and experience some southern hospitality. (Can you say GRITS! Love'em) But I have to say that while I was at a beautiful event and location, 5 days was far too long away from home. I missed New York in a very real way. When I leave NYC I am constantly reminded of how much I love my home, my city and the work that I do here.

Plus, with the awards upon us, I was especially eager to get home and back to work here. As company manager, I've been working on a lot of the moving parts of the awards ceremony, from the day of timeline, recruiting and coordinating our volunteer crew, assisting with venue logistics, scheduling the many meetings that occur during this busy time, to working on a daily basis with Shay, Nick and Jason, the Exec directors who are beyond amazing.

There is something that is so rewarding about working in the Off Off Broadway sector, that I have yet to find elsewhere. Maybe it's the fact that everyone is sooo passionate, or maybe its because we all know how hard it is and we try to make it easier for each other, or maybe it's the great wide unknown of, this could be our last show, so lets go for broke and throw ourselves fully and totally without question into whatever we are doing. It seems that our collective spirit of independent/Off Off Broadway theatre is never ending, that there a generosity that is unending. I don't know where we all find the time, the heart and the energy to keep going. To work a full day and then rehearse a full night, to stay up until 4am doing press releases or poster, to build, paint, hang lights and sew costumes long after everyone else has gone home, and after the show closes, there isn't always a paycheck, a glowing review or the promise of an extension. Yet somehow we all wake up and continue to do what we do, out of love, out of passion, out of generosity of spirit.

It is this reason that I work so hard for the It Awards, to have that moment, that gathering in one room, a buzz with ideas, and energy, and spirit and celebrate each other and our work. I am in awe every year as I watch our events grow in size, while our collective community gets smaller, as we all get to know each other.

Whether you are a nominee, a lover of theatre, a volunteer or just there to show your support, I so look forward to seeing you at the Awards ceremony.


Company Manager

PS. If you'd like to be a part of the Awards Ceremony, please drop me a line.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

PR in the OOBR world

Hello from the IT Awards publicist, Katie Rosin/Kampfire Films PR. Since it is my job to raise awareness of the IT Awards to the media, as well as the fabulous OOB shows I represent, I thought I would give you some pointers on what a Publicist can and can not do for your productions.

First the definition of publicity:
1. extensive mention in the news media or by word of mouth or other means of communication.
2. public notice so gained.
3. the measures, process, or business of securing public notice.
4. information, articles, or advertisements issued to secure public notice or attention.
5. the state of being public, or open to general observation or knowledge.
(publicity. ( n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved August 31, 2007, from website: )

As you can see this is not defined as "putting butts in seats" (PBIS) nor does it have a direct correlation to PBIS.

A publicists job is to raise the awareness of your production to the media and in turn your potential audiences. I feel it takes calculate and integrated efforts of PR, Marketing (which includes posters/postcards/e-blasts/flyers...and advertising), and Audience Building in order to PBIS. The later I will discuss in a future blog.

Here are some components of PR that a publicist can do for you:

1. Press Release: Include the Who, What, Where, When and Why of your production
2. Feature Idea: Create (with the help of all involved Artistic Staff through the cast) story ideas to pitch to the appropriate media
3. Review Requests: Ask critics to come and see your show and review for their outlet

But the publicist cannot wait around for the news to present opportunities. They must also try to create their own news. Examples of this include:

* Arrange a speech or talk
* Make an analysis or prediction
* Issue a report
* Take a stand on a controversial subject
* Announce an appointment
* Invent then present an award
* Issue a commendation

The advantages of publicity are low cost, and credibility (particularly if the publicity is aired in between news stories like on evening TV news casts). New technologies such as weblogs, web cameras, web affiliates, and convergence (phone-camera posting of pictures and videos to websites) are changing the cost-structure. The disadvantages are lack of control over how your releases will be used, and frustration over the low percentage of releases that are taken up by the media. (Publicity. (2007, July 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:24, August 31, 2007, from

Additionally, it is the job of everyone in the production to think about PR. It is NOT their job to contact the media (too often I'm picking up pieces when this happens). Should someone involved in the production have a great idea, a great press contact, or be involved with something press worthy they should immediately contact their publicist and discuss it with them. I find these are the best leads for the publicist.

Keep these ideas in mind when deciding if and who to hire as a publicist on your production. Please feel free to contact me with questions on this subject.

See you on the 24th!

Katie Rosin

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fall Forward

Returning from your first vacation in awhile can be jarring sometimes. I returned a few days ago from a week in Vermont – my first trip up there – and have needed a few days to readjust. There is always a re-citification of sorts; the air, the train, the pace, the search for the same sort of relaxed state you were able to achieve not a week ago. At some point you give in and hopefully find solace and redemption in the reason you were drawn here in the first place, beginning the new search for that delicate balance…until your next vacation. After all, "if life were only moments, then you'd never know you had one…"

It made me look forward to fall...keeping my fingers crossed that we missed the last of the summer's stifling humidity and can settle in the crisp breath of autumn (Although I somehow doubt it). Either way, there's an exciting season of work to look forward to…My first season as a full time Artistic producer, going away again on my first work trip to The San Francisco Fringe Festival in a short week; I'll be seeing shows, house managing, and getting tips on festival running, then coming back to be involved in my first big Innovative Theatre Awards Ceremony (and Julie Halston's hosting! amazing....)

Just as in continuing to find that balance between the relaxation and that city pace, there is always more we strive for. Even as I look forward to a busy and rewarding season, I still have a wish list:

I wish for the artists I admire to enjoy a season full of successes, even if that be learning from the not-so-successes.

I hope the number of Productions registered for New York Innovative Theatre Awards continues to climb.

I hope that the community sees more of each other's work to see where our common grounds lie, our differences, to be inspired by each other, and ultimately to continue to support itself by supporting each other.

I hope that the community continues to spread the word and support each other in reforming the Equity Showcase Code. There is no better time to do it than a time when we're all out there showing our innovation the New York Theatre community.

I truly, truly look forward to seeing more innovative theatre.

What are you hoping for?

Morgan Lindsey Tachco

Community Relations Manager

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sinning in NYC for 10 years

I had a very interesting experience recently that brought my beginnings in New York and 10 years later my current New York life smack together.

If you bare with my little story I promise there is a point…eventually.

Ten years ago I was an actor living in the DC area. I had spent two seasons with the Shakespeare Theatre and then started working around the tri state area. I was lucky to start working with the wonderful Signature Theatre in Virginia and after some time was approached by the Artistic Director Eric Shcaefer about acting in a production called Never the Sinner which was about Leopold and Loeb and the 1920's crime of the century. I ended up playing Leopold and a great actor Michael Solomon played Loeb and we were directed by a friend of ours from Shakespeare Theatre days Ethan McSweeny who is incredibly talented and is now successfully directing across the country. The mix of us and the rest of the wonderful cast created one of those rare and remarkable situations where everything goes right. We worked our asses off getting into the head of the boys and were then rewarded with extraordinary reviews, attention and eventually numerous Helen Hayes Award nominations.

The show and the work everyone had done on it caught the attention of New York and we started getting angels surrounding us, like the wonderful Stuart Howard, that wanted this show produced in the city. We kept true to our work and what we were doing and went for an amazing ride that took us to the now defunct Off-Off-Broadway American Jewish Theatre where we received glowing reviews from every New York paper. We started getting nominated for all kinds of Theatre Awards (eventually receiving the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play) and more producers started getting interested. Finally a group of producers came in and decided to produce a commercial run of this play and production. We then were transferred to the Off-Broadway John Houseman Theatre, which has since been demolished (too sad), and had a wonderful run. Needless to say this experience dramatically changed my life.

After this show I continued acting professionally in New York and regionally and then eventually started directing, thanks entirely to opportunities that arose from the Off-Off-Broadway world. Eventually of course I became one of the Executive Directors of the IT Awards (your favorite Executive Director as we've discussed before).

OK I am finally getting around to the real point.

So 10 years later I see that Never the Sinner is being produced in New York again and it is with the great Off-Off-Broadway company Woodshed Collective. By the way I found out the show was being done, when they registered the production with the IT Awards. Out of the blue I am called by one of the major producers of the production I did years ago, who has since gone on to be a huge Tony Award winning producer by the way, saying that we should go and see it. I thought it was a great idea. We went and saw the show which was fantastic and also rather odd for me as I sat there remembering all that we went through in getting into those damaged boys minds. I was lucky to say "hi" to the director and cast afterward and gave them my thanks for their great work before leaving.

So this producer and I go and have dinner afterwards to catch up and to remember the ride we took with the show. This producer was talking about how great the show was and how well the script worked and then let me know that if the production that I was a part of ten years ago had gone through exactly what it went through then, but now, he would never have become on as a producer. This really surprised me and so I asked him why. His first and honest response was that Off-Broadway was dead and that a cast of 8 was impossible. He said that no producer now could ever financially survive in the Off-Broadway world. Basically the only way he would have been on board for the production is if it had gone to Broadway and that if that had happened there would have been major cast changes in securing a star.

This really hit me and made me see the New York producing world through new eyes. I began thinking of the inspiring and challenging theatre I have seen in New York over the last number of years and see clearly that it has been in the Off-Off-Broadway world. It makes me truly proud to be a part of this community and also incredibly frustrated to know that these great shows I have seen can only live for such short time frames due to union restrictions. I ultimately worked on Never the Sinner for over a year and it launched a great trajectory for me that has led to producing and the IT Awards. I would like to see a New York where great Off-Off-Broadway theatre can keep playing and riding success when it comes and not have to live under the false idea that a jump to an Off-Broadway contract is feasible. When I hear that major independent New York producers avoid Off-Broadway because it is a financial pitfall I wonder how it is that financially strapped Off-Off-Broadway companies are expected to take a step up contractually if they have success. It simply does not make sense any more. Producers see the change in New York, we see the change in New York why is it that others turn a blind eye to these changes?

Jason Bowcutt

Executive Director

New York IT Awards

Monday, July 23, 2007

Highlights of the 2007 Season

This past Monday, the IT Awards held our 2007 Nominee Announcement. It was a very successful event. There were over 500 people; we had the incredibly hot DJ Rob and best of all the air conditioner worked.

Each year Nick, Jason and I get so excited to receive the list of nominees from our accountant. Honestly until that moment we really have no idea who will be nominated. It is always a mixture of surprise and joy and sometimes a little disappointment that some of our personal favorites aren't in the mix. This year there are a few folks that are friends of ours that are nominated including Spencer Aste, Judith Hawking, Mac Rogers and the lovely Denice Kondik. Of course we are always excited when we get to recognize the work of people we love.

I had the chance to see quite a bit of Off-Off-Broadway this past season and wanted to take this opportunity to mention some of the fantastic work that graced the more modest stages of NYC.

Let's start with the Havel Festival. WOW! Edward Einhorn and his crew pulled off the impossible. Presenting all of Vaclav Havel's works is no small feat and the inspiration to do so when President Havel was in town was nothing less than genius. When I look back on my years working in theatre, I will always remember the night we crowded into the 40 seat Brick Theatre in Brooklyn and sat across the isle from Vaclav Havel and his date Madeline Albright. I love OOB.

In the interest of full disclosure, my boyfriend works with Nosedive Productions and I actually understudied a part (and went on twice) in The Adventures of Nervous Boy (a penny dreadful). All that aside, I thought it was a great show. I have seen all of Nosedive's productions over the past 5 and a half years and I am probably their harshest critic. Honestly boys, this was your best work to date. The script was right on point. It was lean and had that wonderfully bitter mixture of hopped-up reality, twisted fantasy and sarcastic humor that kept you engaged throughout. And Vagina Dentata and Blinded from Nosedive's Evening of Grand Guignol Horror was some of the most exciting and grossest theatre I've seen all year.

Among other productions, each year Boomerang Theatre Company puts up 3 full shows in repertory. The sheer logistics of that is hard enough to fathom, but to have each of these productions be fully realized, quality works is a feat unto itself. This year they produced Anna Christie, Love in the Insecurity Zone and The Ugly Man. Each production was well conceived, designed and acted, but for me the real standout was Anna Christie. It is such a beautifully sad tale and the work of Jennifer Larkin (the actress playing the title character) was so subtle and honest it really touched me.

It was not surprising to me that Some Historic/Some Hysteric was nominated for Outstanding Performance Art Piece and Outstanding Ensemble. Director Ildiko Nemeth created many incredibly striking stage pictures that will continue stay with me. The piece included 15 actors (although it seemed like there were 30 actors) working together in some very intricate physical and vocal work. It was one of the most demanding theatrical pieces that I had seen in a long time, but the ensemble pulled it off beautifully.

The New York Neo-Futurists are truly doing something innovative with Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. I first saw the Neo-Futurists (I think it was 1998) when they came down from Chicago to perform here in the city for a month. I was crammed into Todo Con Nada in the lower East Village (it was so packed that I had to sit on the floor). I had no idea what was happening but I was thrilled by it and so excited by what I experienced that I've been a fan ever since. When I heard that the Neo's were setting up a permanent troupe here in NYC I was so happy that we would have this visceral, ground-breaking kind of work as a part of our community.

I suspect that Charles Battersby wrote Kryptonite Hearts so that he and his wife, Lizzie Pepper, could dress up like super heroes and do some stage combat (not that they needed any special occasion to do that). While I'm not sure that the entire production worked, it was certainly fun to see the pure joy that the two of them had while on stage with one another. It is that joy that I aspire to.

When I first came to the city, me and a group of my fellow students from the Actors Training Program (the ATP) at the University of Utah (the U) formed a company called Esperance Theatre Company. I think we did good work for two and a half years. But then, due to lack of funds and no lack of egos, we simply imploded. That is one of the reasons why I am so impressed with the work of CollaborationTown. It is such a tricky business to work with friends. This very talented troupe is so dedicated to one another and so skilled in the art of collaboration and ensemble that their work reflects their very close bonds. 6969 was an intriguing piece of theatre, based on a true story, which had one of those great twists at the end that left you wanting to watch the play all over from the beginning. CollaborationTown was also very smart because they also included program inserts that provided links to additional information about the true events. I admit I spent several hours reading through the news articles and personal accounts.

The Vampire Cowboys were the Caffe Cino Fellowship recipients for this past season. I was very excited to see their work and Men of Steel did not let me down. I actually saw the production twice and was very proud that the IT Awards could help (in our small way) bring this wonderful play to the stage. The script for Men of Steel is so rich and dark and the production captured that with such style. I was reminded of The Watch Men and was very impressed with the entire cast… really the entire production team because each of the elements worked so perfectly together. Congratulations guys.

Finally I want to mention A Mouthful of Birds. This was a "sound painting," a theatrical art form that was first developed in 1986. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. I applaud breedingground productions for embracing this experimental art form. I certainly hope you will be doing more of it in the future.

There were many other wonderful productions this past season, but these are a few that made an impression on me. Tell me about other innovative works that you have seen this last year.

Shay Gines

Executive Director

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Monday, July 9, 2007

Nominee Announcement: a brief history

At the moment we're in the middle of working on the prep for the Nominee Announcement Party. We often say it's our favorite event of the year because we get everyone in a room and celebrate the the entire Off-Off-Broadway community at large. Plus it's a straight-up party. Free drinks (thanks Yuengling and GUS), great music, and lots of fun people.

We have had some great parties. Our Launch was on Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2004, at the (original) Tank. At the time our offices were in the same building, at 432 w. 42nd st. We had a fantastic time, and met many, many new and lasting friends.

The next year, at the end of our very first season, we wanted to make a splash for the Nominees, but we also wanted to make the Announcement more than just a press conference. So we invited the media, but we also opened the doors to the public afterwards for our very first Nominee Announcement Party. This was at the Castillo Theatre (the old Raw Space). We filled the room to capacity, and had even more people at the door waiting to get in.

Last year, we were at a great party space - the Ukrainian National Home 2nd Avenue and 8th, and it was the hottest day of the year. We're used to working up a sweat on big production days, but this was ridiculous. Just before the party started, the air conditioner broke. So as 300 nominees, press, and friends filed in, it got hotter and hotter. I'm still amazed, though, that in some of the photos from the photo op area, the Nominees looked incredible. I'm not sure how they did it, but they took to heart the saying: "Never let 'em see ya sweat". At least until after their photo ops. From then on, we were dancing, drinking, and sweating together as long as we could, until we gave in and headed to the afterparty at the Telephone Bar, which still had A/C and offered drink specials for IT Awards partygoers.

This year, we'll be in the Village, just steps away from storied places like the Fat Black Pussycat, and 1 block from the birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway, the Caffe Cino. We'll have plenty of room (finally), so bring all your friends. We'll have free drinks and great music, and lots of brilliant, talented people will be there to celebrate Off-Off-Broadway.

I hope you and your friends can make it.

Nick Micozzi

Executive Director

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Hello Everyone! Happy 4th of July!

As much as I promised myself that I would stay offline today, it seems I am unable to resist the clickety clack of the keys of my computer. I've been lounging about the house relaxing today, which was much needed. I'm heading down to the Spiegel world tents to see "Absinthe" tonight at the Fulton Fish Market; I'm quite intrigued by the whole idea of the project. I'm personally in love with the cabaret and art world that was born out of Weimar Germany in the day. We'll also see if I can stick out the crowds afterwards to get a peek at the Macy's fireworks after the show. Somehow being in NYC for 10 years I have yet to catch the full show.

It seems that this year has dashed by in a blur, and it's amazing to think that we are moving headlong into our 3rd year of celebrations! Shay, Nick, Jason and I got together last night to trade ideas, plans and questions for our Nomination announcement Event happening on Monday July 16th! Being in a new location will be lots of fun. I am looking forward to seeing the space tomorrow to do more planning.

I'm also looking forward to being reunited with some of our faithful and amazing volunteers. We've been really blessed with a group of people who have been helping us at the events for 3 years straight! The community of artists that have come forth to share their time and talents blows me away every year. We always welcome more people to be involved at the events, so if you or someone you know would like to be involved, please don't hesitate to write me! This year I am especially looking for Photographers, Stage Managers, Front of house staff and General event support. I'm eager to hear from people who love NYC theatre and would like to support other artists by volunteering at our events. You can contact me at

Anyway, I hope that everyone out there has an amazing and safe night of celebrations, food, fireworks, and fun.



Company Manager

New York Innovative Theatre Awards