Monday, August 24, 2009

Join Free Night of Theatre

The 2009 TCG Free Night of Theater program is fast approaching. We are encouraging everyone who has a show in Independent/Off-Off community during the last three weeks of October to consider joining the program (October 8 - November 1). It is a great way to expose your work to a new audience and if you join this week (deadline Thursday) you will get your company or venue's name in all of the advance marketing.

In addition there will be a major all day event celebrating the start of Free Night in Union Square on October 15 that is open to the entire community. Companies and Artists from across New York City are being invited to gather in a great celebration with performance, music, presentations, and speeches. Individual booths are also available for companies and organizations interested in showcasing their work. The Mayor has been invited and we are hoping for a huge turnout in the square as he declares October 15th Theater Day.

If you are interested in participating in the Union Square kick off event please contact

Paul Bargetto at or
Jennifer Conley Darling at

We need volunteers too, so if you can help with the event let us know!


Sign up is open for Free Night NYC 2009!

The launch date for Free Night 2009 is October 15 and you can participate by offering tickets to a show (reading or special event) from October 15 - November 1st.

* To sign up, e-mail Ruth Eglsaer at

<> or call 212-609-5900 ext 288.

* There are big changes in the works for Free Night NYC 2009 and we need your help to make the 2009 program an even bigger success.


Paul Bargetto
Managing Director of Public Affairs
League of Independent Theater

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's hear it for Brooklyn


We are so excited that 60 Brooklyn-based artists and 7 Brooklyn productions are among the nominees for the 2009 New York Innovative Theatre Awards. More and more we are seeing OOB productions on Brooklyn stages. So what is so great about Brooklyn? We asked our nominees and here is what they said:

How is doing theatre in Brooklyn different than anywhere else?

Joe Galan: Being only a few stops off the "L," we were able to maintain most of our original fan-base, while at the same time opening ourselves up to an entirely fresh audience looking to have a great time.

Katie Adams: I think Brooklyn has a wonderful sense of community - so there's a great sense of support.

Heather Siobhan Curran: Because it's only 3 blocks from my house!

Neal Freeman: There's a sense of neighborhood pride to Brooklyn that you don't find in Manhattan. I can't count how many actors have come to audition for The Gallery Players wanting to do a show in "their home borough.”

Gia Forakis: The audience is more multi-cultural than anywhere I've directed in the country.

Alanna Medlock: A lot of theatre artists live in Brooklyn, so if you're lucky you can walk home. Or ride your bike.

Nat Cassidy: Quality-wise, there's not a single difference. There's a wealth of great spaces and talented people in Brooklyn, and they produce top-notch work in a great number of the borough's neighborhoods. The main difference is, as hard as it can be to get audiences to a show in Manhattan, it's doubly hard to get them to Brooklyn (or Queens, for that matter--don't get me started on trying to get people to the Bronx or Staten Island), despite the fact that seemingly everyone lives there these days.

Why should audiences go to Brooklyn to see theatre?

Katie Adams: Brooklyn is REALLY not that far! There are so many things to explore - make a night of it. See some great theatre, go to a new restaurant or a new bar. Continue to explore this great city of ours.

Neal Freeman: It's a great excuse to check out some neighborhoods you're probably not familiar with unless you've lived in them. Plus with the sky-high rents and tiny OOB theatres in Manhattan, you're getting much more bang for your buck in Brooklyn.

Nat Cassidy: Brooklyn is exploding-- it's been the place to move to over the past 10 years or so (no offense, Queens), and so even just as far as numbers go, there's a staggering amount of hungry, creative, unique artists doing what they do best: keeping the commercial world on its toes and making exciting, bizarre, intelligent new works wherever they can find the space. And, thankfully, there's space aplenty in Brooklyn.

Joe Galan: Because of the (generally) cheaper costs of maintaining a Brooklyn show, you can sometimes catch a show in Brooklyn that is able to incorporate higher production values.

Gia Forakis: Because it's important to reestablish what theatre is and revitalize a theater-going public for a younger demographic. By supporting theater in Brooklyn there is a sense that the art form has an opportunity to re-evaluate itself and the terms under which it has been created over the last 50 years, and look ahead to a theater fro the 21st century.

Who is your favorite Brooklyn artist or group?

Nedra McClyde: Game Rebellion, all the way. An all black rock band...they're amazing.

Erica Livingston: Cynthia Hopkins, who works very closely with St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn is really inspiring to me. I never leave one of her shows without feeling overwhelmed with new ideas. Her work is truly innovative.

Gia Forakis: Target Margin and I have to give a shout out to Bone Orchard who is doing risky things in the heart of Brooklyn.

Heather Siobhan Curran & Neal Freeman: The Gallery Players, of course!

Joe Galan: The House of Yes. Maybe this answer is cheating since that is the space where we performed our show, but this space/group is amazing. You never know what is happening at the House of Yes.

What is your favorite Brooklyn bar or restaurant and why?

Katie Adams: I love Sidecar which is right near The Gallery Players. Fantastic food, great environment and really tasty, amazing cocktails!

Nat Cassidy: I live in Bay Ridge, which is full of what my girlfriend calls "Old Man Bars," and those can be a lot of fun, given the ambiance and occasional John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band on the jukebox, but back when I was living in Williamsburg (in my hipper days), I had three bars/restaurants that I frequented at least once a week: Pete's Candy Store, Moto, and Planet Thailand. There's also an amazing little coffee shop in south Park Slope called Roots Cafe that everyone should check out. Plus more here.

Erica Livingston: My favorite restaurant in Brooklyn is definitely Dumont. I love their food but the atmosphere is also wonderful. I have been going there for years and it's never let me down.

My favorite bar is probably Spuyten Duyvil. They have an amazing beer and wine selection with the options changing all the time. They also serve cheese and meat plates with things like fresh boiled eggs, homemade pickles and olives.

Nedra McClyde: Red Bamboo! It's a vegetarian spot on Adelphi Street. I'm slightly addicted to their soul chicken and chocolate cake. So much better than their slaughtered and manufactured counterparts.

Gia Forakis: Gosh-- there are just so many new ones popping up al the time it's difficult to say only one. In my neighborhood, LOKAL in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on the edge of McCarren Park is a nice place with great food, service, atmosphere, and like I say, it's on the park!

Joe Galan: my personal favorite bar/restaurant is Jamie Lynn's Kitchen. Great food, and one of the longest Happy Hours I have ever seen (12pm-7pm every day).

Alanna Medlock: 68 Jay is a great spot in Dumbo.

Neal Freeman: We frequent Rachel's which is a Mexican joint on 5th Avenue between 7th and 8th Street in Park Slope, and Cantina on 4th Avenue at 12th Street. For drinks there's Harry Boland's on 9th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues.

Heather Siobhan Curran: Al di la. Best Italian food and great prices. Even Frank Bruni broke down and reviewed though they don't take reservations.

What was your favorite part of the production you were nominated for?

Joe Galan: Closing night. Sold-out and Standing Room Only. Watching people literally climb and stand on cabinets, rather than risk missing a moment of the show.

Katie Adams: I enjoyed rocking Gallery Players with amplified sound for the first time! Our production was the first time they did wireless, amplified microphones for the performers, and we worked incredibly hard to make it happen because we thought artistically it was important. I think audiences got to enjoy The Who's music as it should be enjoyed and realized how important sound is to theatre, especially for a rock musical.

Heather Siobhan Curran: Seeing everyone dance at the Mall (for Like You Like It). And meeting the star of tomorrow- Alison Luff.

Neal Freeman: We were reluctant to produce a period piece (Elizabethan) with no name recognition, and we were trying out a new model of repertory production which strained our resources and artistic teams. Taking these risks and being recognized for them is very rewarding.

Nat Cassidy: I got two words for you: horse costume.

Erica Livingston: My favorite part of 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind' is that it is always changing. As the plays change every week, I find it stimulating to keep current and express what is happening in our own lives as they change as well.

Nedra McClyde: It was pretty nice being the only female in the cast. Nothing can make you feel more like a supported woman than being surrounded by amazing men.

Gia Forakis: The multi-media, Interlude sequences-- and a super cast that jumped in fearlessly to mix a naturalistic acting style with these more expressionist performance gestures.

Alanna Medlock: I like when the argument in the final Producer scene gets out of hand and finally explodes into a different universe - suddenly you're like wtf is going on?? And it looks great with the lit-up floor and the rotating wall.

Why do you work Off-Off-Broadway?

Katie Adams: I work Off-Off-Broadway to continue to learn - Even though I've now produced 5 shows Off-Off-Broadway, with each show I learn something new that I didn't know before. I also really like the balance of not doing something commercial and just for money, but still trying to attain the highest quality I can on a very low budget. I'm constantly astounded by the work that surrounds me - whether it's hard working casts or amazing designers. It's very inspirational.

Alanna Medlock: I get excited by new work, new plays, and people who are interested in playing with form and aesthetic, new ways of telling stories and creating events.

Joe Galan: Off-Off Broadway gives us the opportunity to create without the limitations.

Nat Cassidy: You mean, besides the money? Well, let's just take a quick look at the IT-nominees for Outstanding Production of a Play: we've got an interactive Zune noir, Czechoslovakian robot Armageddon, a metaphysical buddy comedy about Caligula and Christopher Marlowe, corpse-kidnappers, pregnant runaway hitchhikers, the FBI investigation of the Kingsmen, and Bruce Lee. And a rundown of any of the other IT categories would produce as eclectic and just plain awesome a list. So, to put it succinctly: suck it, commercial theatre (and by "suck it," I mean give us all jobs so we can make you better and cooler).

Gia Forakis: Off-Off Broadway is the only place that offers me, as a director, the opportunities to share and explore a more experimental aesthetic--by which I mean, a forum for expanding the ways we tell stories on stage and challenge form and style in the theater.

Erica Livingston: As a New York Neofuturist, a company that is historically, consistently hard to categorize, I feel that the home we've made in the Off-Off-Broadway scene is one that is accepting of new ideas and has a broader sense of inclusion of what theater truly is.

Neal Freeman: There's a sense of being in it for the greater good - and not for paychecks or Broadway transfers - that permeates every OOB show I've done. When people gather for love of the work, the art tends to flourish.

Heather Siobhan Curran: Because of the amazing talent and heart of all involved.


Nat Cassidy, Outstanding Director, Any Day Now, Writer's Forum at Manhattan Theatre Source & Outstanding Original Full-Length Script, The Reckoning of Kit & Little Boots, The Gallery Players in association with Engine37
Gia Forakis, Outstanding Director, Blue Before Morning, terraNOVA Collective
Erica Livingston, Outstanding Ensemble, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, New York Neo-Futurists
Nedra McClyde, Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role, Miss Evers' Boys, Red Fern Theatre Company
Alanna Medlock, Outstanding Ensemble, Oph3lia, HERE Arts Center
Joe Galan, Outstanding Performance Art Production, Cirque du Quoi?!?, Human Flight Productions, Inc. & Gramily Entertainment
Heather S. Curran, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Like You Like It, The
Gallery Players
Katie Adams, Outstanding Production of a Musical, The Who's Tommy, The Gallery Players
Neal J. Freeman, Outstanding Production of a Play, The Reckoning of Kit & Little Boots, The Gallery Players in association with Engine37

Do you work in Brooklyn? Answer the questions above and let us know why.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is there room for OOB in the Hudson Rail Yard's Development?

Development for the Hudson Rail Yards (along the Hudson River) has been slowly moving along for years. Recently plans were put before Community Board 4 for approval. Recommendations were made to include more dedicated space for arts (and especially small theatre venues).

It seems that developers are being resistant to relinquish commercial space for not-for-profit space - I know, nothing surprising about that.

In a recent statement of need to the city, CB4 noted that "Cultural venues clearly have a synergetic relationship with neighborhood small businesses, and are economic drivers to our local neighborhoods. In addition the arts are crucial to the cultural resilience and diversity of our unique community."

So, will CB4 prevail in securing space for the arts in this urban renewal? How can we help?