Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Revisiting Award Categories

Today's topic is about our award categories. We have 19 production awards.

They are:

Outstanding Ensemble
Outstanding Solo Performance
Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role
Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role
Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role
Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role
Outstanding Director
Outstanding Choreography/Movement
Outstanding Lighting Design
Outstanding Costume Design
Outstanding Set Design
Outstanding Sound Design
Outstanding Innovative Design (Design award for designers outside of the traditional theatrical design elements)
Outstanding Original Music
Outstanding Original Short Script
Outstanding Original Full-Length Script
Outstanding Performance Art Production
Outstanding Production of a Musical
Outstanding Production of a Play

There was a lot of deliberation and reflection that went into deciding upon these categories. We considered our community and the type of work that was being done. There are several categories that are relatively unique to our awards including: Short Script, Innovative Design, Ensemble, Solo Performance, Performance Art Production; not to mention that Choreography/Movement is extended to include fight choreography and of course the Stage Manager award. We had to think about the length of the ceremony (which we know is too long already), making sure that the categories were meaningful beyond our sector, that our organization had the resources and the ability to sustain these awards not just for 1 year or 5 years, but for many years to come and hundreds of other considerations.

One of the reasons that our judging system is based on a peer evaluation is to ensure that those values that are important to the community are at the heart of what is being recognized. There is a distinctive energy and spirit about the Indie theatre community that we are here to celebrate. 

And so we are asking you, if you could only have 20 award categories (aside from the Honorary Awards and the Outstanding Stage Manager Award), what would they be? What would you add to or subtract from the list above?


  1. I would have an award for Musical Director

  2. I would have your three main categories be as follows:

    Outstanding Production of a New Play
    Outstanding Production of a New Musical
    Outstanding Reinvention of an Existing Work

    Your mission, as I understand it, is to reward innovative, independent theater, and those categories, to me, reflect that mission more clearly. I think the term reinvention rather than revival reflects that spirit--and also guides the judges in determining the basis on which to judge.

    Best wishes,

    Edward Einhorn

  3. I think this is a pretty good list and I appreciate that so many of the categories are specific to Indie theater. Have you thought about an Outstanding Festival award?

  4. What about one for an entire season of work and not just a single production?

  5. I feel that classical work in our community is under appreciated. Why not have a separate category specifically for classical work like Shakespeare or Greek plays so that it at least has a fighting chance at winning an award.

  6. I hate to say this, but if I have to adjudicate one more bad Shakespeare I think I might blow my brains out. There's a reason why the classical works don't get nominated that often - it's because most of them are not that well produced. There is an absolute glut of classical work being done OOB, because it's public domain and therefore that much cheaper and easier to do.
    Besides, if you add a "revival" category (which I'm not convinced you need) then they would qualify.
    As it is right now, I'd say don't add anymore in. Although I might consider combining solo performance and performance art in to one category because there just seems to be less of that across the board, give them all a little more competition like the outstanding production and lead actor/actress have.

  7. I think that the categories as they stand are open enough for inclusion of all types of theatre.

    I completely disagree with adding "New" into any title of award category.

    Off Off Broadway or "innovative theatre" shouldn't just mean "new" works nor should one category just be for "reinevention" of existing works, since the Awards already honors original music, long and short script, I think it already addresses new works in a great inclusive way.

    By seperating existing works from new works in the production category it could create a chasm that isnt' the open inclusive environment that this organization tries to foster.

  8. Perhaps seperating Dance Choreography and Fight Choreography? It seems like the shows with "Fight" always have a leg up over dance movement? It might be nice to honor these two very different but equally important elements seperately?

  9. I second the separation of dance and fight choreography. They are equally important elements of staging, yet are often wildly different in their application, desired effect, and outcome.

  10. It seems to me that by separating the big awards into “NEW” and “REVIVAL” you are actually disrespecting and devaluing the new plays. It is tantamount to saying that the revivals are inherently better and productions based on new works will inevitably create an inferior product.

    I think there are plenty of playwrights right now in our community who are just as good and whose ideas are just as important as Edward Albee or Lanford Wilson. I think separating those awards sets a bad precedent.

  11. I completely disagree that you are devaluing new plays. But they're different beasts. And honestly, I think when a revival wins best musical or best play it dilutes the mission of IT awards. Not that productions of Shakespeare or Albee or whomever shouldn't be included, but reinventing a work is a different process than creating it from scratch. It's like saying that having a category for best musical devalues best play. Making a distinction between artistic endeavors is not elevating one above the other.

  12. It would be great to have an award that highlights the contributions of one-off nights throughout the year, which are about generating new work and experimenting with the form outside of a long running show.

    There are many new events happening which have grown out of a need for low budget, lack of space, immediate theater to serve the needs of emerging artists and audiences. There are several regularly well attended reading nights, staged reading nights, and 24 hour projects around. Perhaps an award for serving and expanding the community of artists?

    Instead of the award going to one show, it would go to the producing company/group/collective for their contribution to Innovative Theatre.

  13. Great conversation everyone!

    Addressing Anonymous 8's question/idea.

    Please keep in mind there are the Honorary Awards in the following categories:

    Stewardship Award for significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership

    The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award for consistent production of outstanding work includes a financial grant to be used toward an Off-Off-Broadway production

    Artistic Achievement Award for significant artistic contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community

    It sounds like these specialty categories might address part of your suggestion?

  14. for short plays/festivals it would be great if there were multiple fields for directors. as it is now we only have one field and when several directors work on an evening of shorts I can either pick one or cram all their names on one line. neither of which is a good idea.

  15. Of course revivals should be allowed to participated and of course they should be allowed to win if they are good. That is only fair.

    I think the categories are fine as they are.

  16. I'm with Edward. Working on a new script is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT process than doing a revival. I find it really insulting when the revivals beat out the actual new innovative work that people are trying so hard to create, without the scripts advantage of 15 Broadway workshops and such.

    And hey, that would give the revivals their own award, we have MORE winners. How is that anything but more inclusive?

  17. I'm completely with Edward on his category suggestions, and like the fight/dance choreography combo as it is, frankly. Some other suggestions that have been made are reasonable (Festival/Season/Event), but would probably be difficult to impossible to implement in the IT judging framework, and, as noted, as it stands the awards may be teetering on the edge of category bloat.

  18. I also agree with Edward, especially with the designation of productions of previously produced works as "reinventions" as opposed to "revivals". It isn't devaluing any of the playwrights or other artists involved to say that producing a new work is a very different thing from producing an existing/previously produced work. If the term "new" is upsetting, then have "Outstanding Production of a Play", "Outstanding Production of a Musical" and "Outstanding Reinvention of a Play/Musical" (which could be broken into two categories or not). Even the Tonys separate new works from revivals and in this case I think they have the right idea.

  19. I think the reason people have asked for a separate revival/reinvention category is partially because of the award's title: The INNOVATIVE theater awards.

    Innovation, to many people, means new work, or a drastic reinvention of an existing work.

    Putting up a straightforward revival of an existing script isn't, in my opinion, very innovative. There seems to be a disconnect between the name of the awards and the winners of the awards--which is why I think Edward's suggestions are great, they address that issue very well.

  20. I understand the confusion that Gyda and a few others before her are bringing up here. I just thought it bears repeating: As Shay likes that old Ginger Rogers quote about "backwards, in heels" -- anyone making theater in the face of Off-Off-Broadway challenges is being innovative.

  21. Hi Hillary,

    Sure, I agree that it does take some innovation to stage a Broadway show in a smaller space. But I would argue (and I know there are many out there that agree with me) that it's about 1000 times MORE innovative to, I dunno, create a whole show that takes place on iPods. Or reinvent The Importance of Being Earnest as a Kung-Fu show. Or put over 30 actors on stage in the round in a reproduction of the temple of Ishtar. Or stage a production entirely via World of Warcraft. I have hundreds more examples I could come up with. So are those people doing it "backwards, in heels"?

    Innovation is, inherently, subjective. But when productions that are pretty much replicas of a Broadway production (yes, innovatively done on a smaller budget and stage) win, I think it sends the message, to the larger theater community, that the most innovative work Off-Off Broadway can come up with is a straightforward revival of an existing work. And at least for me, I think that does us, as a community, a great disservice. In my opinion, some of the greatest innovators in theater today are working in the indie community. But the larger theatrical community rarely recognizes that.

    I guess maybe I'm ascribing a mission to the IT Awards that isn't there, but it would be nice if the IT Awards could help point out true innovators to the theatrical establishment. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

  22. I wholeheartedly agree with creating a distinction between new work and revivals. I believe the awards given to The Drowsy Chaperone this past season may have inspired many of us to feel this way. Everyone believes it's a fantastic production and the company has consistently produced wonderful work - but *choosing* to do a piece that closed on Broadway only a few years ago, and that is currently running all over the United States in rep and community theaters, doesn't seem to support the mission of the IT awards.

    That being said, the production was fantastic and there is no way to produce a work of this size in New York without showing enormous innovation, so they should be rewarded. But a distinction has to be made between companies that choose to produce *proven scripts* and those that haven't.

    The feeling I have is that there is already a lot of support for Broadway shows around the country. If your show has ever run on Broadway, particularly if it won the Tony and ran for years, your show has plenty of opportunities for being revived. New York has always been where these shows are *born*, and right now our community (those producing in under 99 seat houses) is creating the theater pieces that could influence American culture if only a light is shone on the work.

    By letting new work compete in the same category as revived work, there is one less opportunity for that new voice to be heard. And having another category hardly seems to have much of a down side - there will certainly be enough new work and enough revivals to fill out both groups.

  23. Thanks for clarifying, Gyda! You make a fair point about how you feel about your work and the many OOB companies who are devoted to new script development.

    The EDs are going to chew on everything that's been said here. I only comment from my personal opinion. And frankly, sometimes the results of both re-staged and new works are outstanding -- like one of the top 5 shows our judges saw all season level outstanding.

    I, too, hope we bring attention to the talented, hardworking, and dedicated members of our community. I can name examples of artists who we helped "get together" and maybe some we might have helped expose on their way to a larger audience. I can also think of companies that have "outgrown" Off-Off and others who prefer to stay small and indie.

    Mostly, though, I want to mention that you can find our mission on our website here ( That's what we're about.

  24. As a company that does both new works and revivals, I can tell you that each production comes with its own unique set of challenges. To say that one is easier, or better or more "innovative" strictly based on whether or not it has been done be someone else, is short sighted.

    I would not be opposed to separate categories, in the spirit of inclusiveness, but arguing that one is innately more deserving of an award is not helpful to this conversation and is only alienating those of us who do produce revivals.

  25. I hope I was clear in my comment that revivals *should* be awarded, and particularly that Drowsy Chaperone was deeply deserving of its awards. But that Shakespeare, for example, doesn't need an award to get attention paid to his writing.

    We are all in the trenches together and we all know how difficult it is to pull of a show, no matter who the author or how old the material. But it is much easier to get attention paid and to sell tickets if a production chooses to produce something with an already existing market. That's why I think it's important to have a distinct category for shows that don't come with a pedigree.

  26. The script for The Drowsy Chaperone was not allowed to register for these awards because it was not an original script. So the "proven" script was never in the same category as ANY new work being considered.

    OUR production was NOT on Broadway. It did not tour. We built that show from the ground up. We all worked very very hard. I will wager that we worked just as hard as anyone else. We did a short run just like everyone else. There was a great deal of innovation involved in creating it.

  27. From Wordnet--


    Adj. 1. ahead of the times;

    Synonyms: forward-looking, advanced, modern

    2. innovative - being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before; "stylistically innovative works"; "innovative members of the artistic community"; "a mind so innovational, so original"

    Synonyms: groundbreaking, innovational

  28. Perhaps instead of 20 and more categories, how about simply having 2 organizations? One perhaps called the Off Off Broadway Awards encompassing all that that title suggests (pretty much as currently happens in the ITA) and another organization that honors and reviews only newly created, innovative work called the, for example, New Created Theater Awards (NCTA, etc.)?? One person's daring is spagetti sauce over polenta, another's marigold ragout over fried baby pine needles. Different restaurants.

  29. I wholeheartedly agree with the need to have a separate revival category. Its necessary for the growth of independent theatre that we help nurture and develop new playwrights by honoring their work. Putting a new play in the same category as say a revival of Bye Bye Birdie just doesn't seem fair to either production.

  30. There seems to be a very deep chasm in this discussion separating those who believe as Hillary, judge, said above, "anyone making theater in the face of Off-Off-Broadway challenges is being innovative" and the posted definition of innovative above "2. -being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before. . . " Two very different worlds.

  31. I just went to the website and the mission statement is this:

    The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation was created to bring recognition to the great work being done in New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, to honor its artistic heritage, and to provide a meeting ground for this extensive community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. We believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and appreciation of the full New York theatre experience.

    The IT Awards is a not-for-profit arts organization supporting the Off-Off-Broadway community by:

    •Celebrating and Recognizing extraordinary Off-Off-Broadway Theatre
    •Strengthening the community and collective identity of Off-Off-Broadway
    •Honoring our artistic heritage
    •Advancing public interest in and understanding of the theatrical arts

    I don't see anything about the type, style or NEW work listed in the organizations mission.

    The COMMUNITY of peer voters decided who the recipients are not the organization.

    The VOTERS who consist of Off-Off Broadway participans determined that in this given year a "revival" was the most innovative. It didn't win for script. It didn't win based on merit of "newness" but apparently the quality of the overall work. I don't see how thats a problem

  32. While I absolutlely value all of the conversations and opinions here. I can't help but feel like there are some serious feelings of sour grapes going on here.

    Everyone who participates and enters their production into the "judging" opens themselves up to others opinions. The judges are your "peers", those "peers" determine what they feel is the most outstanding production, script, musical, performance, etc.

    When you ask people, to come see your show, give their opinion and then vote on what they see. Its a bit insulting for that same producer to get upset when they don't win because they feel its unfair to compare a "revival" vs "new" script when its based on votes that you invited and asked for. The votes are based on the overall production quality for outstanding production and musical not just on the merit of script content.

    As a producer who has participated in the It Awards every year since the first season, I find it a bit embarrassing that members of this community are stomping their feet over a what an organization is failing to do for them, when that organization is run entirely by volunteers and love for this community.

    The It Award have 19 Production awards including Original Music, Short and long script and categories that no other organization has (Stage Manager anyone?) I feel like having two script opportunities, along with the opportunity for multiple short scripts from series to submit really covers a lot of ground for new work to be honored.

    To say that new work has more merit over exsisting work is really insulting to those of us who choose to revisit published works in NEW ways. To say that those who do "New" work are contributing more than those of us who choose to explore storytelling thru both new and old works contributes to a divide in the community.

    I'm not against the idea of new awards categories, I'm against the we're better than them mentallity that seems to be simmering in some of these comments.

  33. I agree with the 3:33 Anonymous (can't you guys give your names? It's getting confusing.) - there is a definite chasm of opinion. In the past two years my company produced both Arsenic and Old Lace and Brew of the Dead II:Oktoberflesh (among other scripts both new & old). I strongly feel that both productions were innovative and certainly we all poured our hearts and souls into the revival as surely as we did into the new play. But the problems we faced on each production were VERY different and so the (innovative) solutions we used were different as well. I don't see anything wrong with recognizing that difference. To me it's the same thing as having separate categories for musicals and plays - an acknowledgement that each comes with its own unique set of challenges.

  34. As a producer of "revivals" 90% of the time (we have done one new work and would possibly do more in the future), I'd like to add that not every revival has a built in audience based on it's title or playwright. We make the choice to do the work that moves us regardless of the last time the show was produced, or if it ever was, or whether or not it has been published. To say that those companies don't need the awards to sell tickets or garner awareness of the work is simply not true.

    Yes, some shows will sell better based on the title or playwright. But as the producer of last years DEAR RUTH by Norman Krasna, I gotta tell you - despite the fact that that show and the subsequent movie made from the script were HUGE in 1945 - we had plenty of empty seats and we lost money.

    Meanwhile, I'd like to say that my opinion is to not separate the awards. Would my company benefit from such a split? Possibly (although we would not have last year, despite being nominated for Outstanding Production of a Play for our "revival" of BENEFACTORS by Michael Frayn, which, yes, had, as it turned out, both title and author recognition despite being over 20 years old). But that doesn't mean I want to lessen my competition either.

    As a company Retro Productions has been participating in the New York Innovative Theatre Awards for 6 of our 7 seasons (we were not eligible for our first production which did not run enough performances) and have been THRILLED and consider ourselves UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY to have gotten many nominations in that time (only 1 win out of 17 noms). It is an HONOR to be there BECAUSE the competition is so stiff.

    I'd rather know that I earned the award if I ever do get it. And I'd hope that those folks who produce new works would feel that way too. Yes, it's a different beast to nurture and stage a new work - but was your overall production, not just your concept, not just your actors, not just your puppet design or your ipods, was your overall production the absolute best?

    So much of this is topic is subjective. Not just what makes innovation, but what is good, nay, GREAT. What I love may not be what you love won't be what the guy two seats down from me loves.

    I often just hope that I get adjudicators (and reviewers, can I get a witness) that aren't pre-disposed to dislike what I do before they walk in the door because they know it's not BRAND spankin' new text. Just the way I'm sure there are people who produce new works who worry that the adjudicators won't like it because it's NOT Shakespeare or Albee or Mamet, oh my.

    We're all in this together, people!

  35. Desmond Dutcher, Judge Co-OrdinatorDecember 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Hello all – I have seen "old" remounts be very innovative just as much as I have seen "new" work be completely un-innovative and derivative. I truly feel "innovative" to be in the eye of the beholder. Leveling the playing field with budget caps and/or ticket prices seems a much better way to define what is "indie" theatre than whether or not your version of "innovative" matches mine.

  36. Just again, to clarify, I haven't been much of an active participant in the IT awards as a producer, and I don't feel like I've ever *lost* an award because I produce new work. I loved The Drowsy Chaperone and, having said that in three comments now, I hope I don't have to say that again.

    What is the possible *down* side to having a separate category for revivals? Is there some sense that it is less of an award to win "Best Revival"? If the two titles were "Best Production of a Revival" and "Best Production of a New Work" or something, then would it feel like the awards are equal?

    There is a distinct difference between plays that have already been produced and plays that are being created for the first time, right? If our community can honestly see no difference between The Drowsy Chaperone and The Tremendous Tremendous, then I will quite happily admit that I'm perhaps dicing my theatrical tastes too finely, and that the problem is mine.

  37. I've gotta co-sign the "separate new work from revivals" movement. I should note that I have no dog in this fight personally - I haven't worked on a show that participated in the NYIT Awards in at least 5 years, and, as a new parent, didn't see any of the shows that people seem to be exercised about this year. I have also acted in, produced, and devised both types of work, in almost equal measure.

    Obviously, both present challenges to be overcome, and require "innovative" thinking to be successful. However, I feel comfortable in asserting that they present radically different sets of challenges - different enough as to do a disservice to both by pretending that they're the same animal. "...equalities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety," &c &c &c.

    In a revival, the bones of the thing are generally set, with all the work that goes into that already done by someone else, and institutional knowledge baked into the script - "this line gets laughs," "this song makes people cry," "this scene comes before that scene," "the arc of the piece is from to ," etc. But this is also a challenge that isn't faced by people making something from scratch - how to say something the audience has heard said before in a way that will make them want to hear it said again, by you; and which will make them take different things away from hearing you say it than they did the last time they heard it said, by someone else.

    In a new work, that skeleton isn't built, and often rehearsal time must be expended figuring it out how to construct it. There's a freedom that comes with that, in that you're not constrained by "what people have done with this scene before," etc. You needn't even decide at the outset what kind of skeleton it is (a human? a bear? what bone is connected to the other bone?) But all the same, it's an additional burden. You're still trying to figure out if the scene with the mother-in-law should even be in the play, while your peers who are re-mounting a Stoppard play are on to cleaning up the choreography in the party scene in act 3.

    Different processes, different challenges. To my mind, different categories.

    I will say that I don't think either side of this debate is served by the alternately aggrieved/defensive tone that I see coming from both of them. I don't think one is "better" than the other, and I don't think too many others do either. But I also don't think they're the same. Let's stipulate that both paintings and photographs are "pictures." To acknowledge that painting is a wildly different process than making a photograph is not the same thing as saying that paintings are "better" than photographs. But it seems to me that it doesn't totally make sense to enter them both in the same generic "picture" contest.

    Just an old ham's two cents...

  38. I'm also a fan of the separate categories idea.

    A lot of the reasons why I support that solution has already been said, and I don't wanna get all echo chambery in here, but on the subject of, say, new play versus musical revival vying for the same award: I also suspect the revival of an acclaimed musical with an already established reputation at a now-affordable ticket price, on top of bringing in the friends and family of a principal cast AND chorus AND musicians, is already able to bring in audiences (and thus the audience vote) in a number with which a new script with a much smaller cast just can't compete. And I know audience vote only makes up 25% and that plenty of other factors go into a production winning for its production, but it does strike me as another factor to consider with regards to potential disparity.

    So perhaps a possible solution to cover all bases is to split the very *concept* of Outstanding Production up into four different categories? Say, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play, Outstanding Premiere Production of a Musical? We're already specifying Solo Performance and Performance Art as their own categories (and arguably we already do the same thing by specifying actor gender, as well), so it's not that huge a leap. And it also gives innovative play revivals a better chance to get some love, too.

    (On the other hand, it's more awards for you guys to have to pay for and another 20-30 minutes of award show, but, y'know, just spitballin' here.)

    And, regardless, it's fucking awesome that you guys ask these questions and are receptive to the feedback - that's a rare and blessed thing, y'all.

  39. There are A LOT of great points here.
    All of this being said, I could be behind keeping the awards categories as is OR if it was determined that it needs to be seperated out, then I think it would be nessesary to have "Outstanding Revival of a Musical" AND "Outstanding Revival of a Play". It there is this much uproar over New vs Revival, then I can see the same argument happening again if there is just one category for revival where musicals and plays are "competing" against each other.

  40. Hmmmmmm. Are you censoring? This is my third attempt to open the dialog even more by having people consider that
    the Innovative Theater Foundation may not be the right vehicle to honor and support new, never-done before innovative theater per travsd's definition. Perhaps instead of beating the dead horse of categories, another organization might be created.

  41. Anonymous, I totally agree with you. And MAN I wish I knew who was writing all of these comments! If nothing else, I hate that I'm talking to someone who makes plays and I don't know *which ones* and what they're doing *now*...

  42. Anonymous 6:24PM we moved one comment to the Grab Bag Day post to keep this post focused on award categories.

  43. Wow, this discussion has exploded since I first posted...not much more to add at this point, but I would point out that I have produced and directed a number of new works and a number of established works (Brecht, Shakespeare, Ionesco, Havel, etc). As I said earlier, and others have repeated, saying that one endeavor is different than another doesn't make it less. Outstanding "reinvention" versus outstanding "revival" is perhaps a bit editorial and indicative of my preferences (and what I consider innovative) but also, I think, a tribute to what indie theater does best. "Revival" connotes taking something dead and momentarily bringing it back to life. "Reinvention" connotes the act of bringing something new into the world, based on something that already exists. We aren't trying to be Broadway, and we definitely aren't community theater. We should brand ourselves as what we are--the place where great theater is born, even in limited financial circumstances. We add to the conversation, we do not repeat it. We reinvent old works, we do not revive them.

    That's how I see it, at least.

  44. Wow, the discussion really picked up this afternoon!

    I love the picture/photograph analogy. I think it really sums my thoughts up. Both art, but different. I hope no one is offended by that.

    I also think Heather brings up a good point about judge/reviewer bias, which makes me think we should separate the categories even more--if I'm sent to judge a revival in the same category as new work, does my personal bias mean that I score it lower, even unconsciously? I wouldn't want to think so, but it might be true. And the same goes for traditionalists--god knows I've had a few of them at my work, wondering what the hell was going on.

    But if revival and new work is separated, then if you're sent to judge a revival, you're judging it against the standards of revivals--which, like the picture/photograph commenter pointed out, is a different standard for many of us. I think it might mean that both categories of work would be judged more fairly.

  45. Also, since it seems that many of the Anonymous commenters above were offended by my comments--my intent was not to offend anyone. I have my opinion, which is strictly my own--I focus on new work. If you focus on revivals, I certainly have no problem with that! I just think they're different beasts.

    So my apologies if I offended anyone by expressing my opinion, it certainly was not my intent. I was just trying to clarify why I think the work should be separated out.

  46. Although we are a late to the game, as a producer of both new work and revivals, we wanted to add our voice to the conversation…

    APAC recently began producing new work on our mainstage, and although it would probably benefit us if the categories were split, we actually enjoy the idea that our new work is being held up against existing properties. We agree that while there are different sets of challenges, creating something that our peers deem an “Outstanding Production of a Play (or Musical)” is an equally commendable feat, regardless of the previous history of the printed script.

    While forming this response, it occurred to us that not so long ago, our community didn’t have an IT Awards to debate about. The real genius of this organization is how it connects us all. Indeed, Tom was sent to an APAC production in 2006 as an IT Award judge. He was impressed with the company’s work, wrote a letter to Taryn, and one year later was directing on the mainstage. A year after that he took over as Artistic Director. We are very grateful to the volunteer staff at the NY IT Awards for giving our community a genuine source of visibility and pride.

    Most Sincerely,
    Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director
    Tom Wojtunik, Artistic Director
    Astoria Performing Arts Center

  47. It seems like this has turned into a bit of a revival vs. new work debate, which I think is extremely counter productive. Bottom line is that the New York Innovative Theatre Awards has chosen to separate plays from musicals, so why not separate new work from revivals? This in no way means one is somehow better than the other. I think as a community we need all different kinds of theatre happening in order to thrive, so why not honor the diverseness of our community accurately?

  48. The debate seems to be about the semantics of the name of the award - INNOVATIVE - not about new or old work. The dictionary is clear on the definition while the contributors here are re-defining it in the context of the community. The awards currently look to be Off Off Broadway Awards with all the diverse wonderful theater that encompasses and, according to the dictionary definition, generally not Innovative Theater Awards.