Monday, December 22, 2014

What is the most iconic or meaningful moment that you remember from the IT Awards?

As we wrap up our 10 year anniversary, we asked a few of our friends about their fondest memories of the Innovative Theatre Foundation and the IT Awards.

Akia: Oh man! So So many.  Our opening number from the first ever ceremony, with Susan Blackwell telling Marian Seldes to "rock out with her cock out…"  The Blue Man Group on our 5th Anniversary opening the show and then debuting a premiere of a new piece of material. Then there was the infamous “Frisbee” moment during outstanding ensemble presentation. For a lot of reasons, I think year 5 stands out as this amazing landmark year to me. There was also a fantastic moment with Ben Vereen getting a NYITA hat from a volunteer who just wasn’t sure if she should be giving free stuff away.

Jeff Riebe:
The very first awards ceremony. I recall having a sport coat made just for the occasion. Having been involved with the Honorary Awards Committee opened my eyes to the breadth and influence of the Off-Off-Broadway theatre community at its core.

Christopher Borg: Well, I have to say that it was the moment that I first heard my name announced as a recipient! I had been nominated before and didn't expect to actually take home the award for Outstanding Ensemble with my fellow creators and that moment was simply overwhelmingly positive and wonderful.  There is nothing like that.

Daniel Talbott: This is such a tough question cause there are a lot but I really love Indie Theater Now, and also the passing of Doric Wilson really hit me hard and has always stuck out to me. Just knowing that such a truly individual artist like Doric from a different Village and time and place was no longer out there fighting the great fight in the same way or pounding the pavement - it made it feel like our connection with the extraordinary past of NY theater was getting thinner.

Desmond Dutcher: Bill Irwin telling the audience to throw their Frisbee in the air towards the stage.

Blake Lawrence:
The first awards ceremony was just incredible. Going from that early morning brainstorming session to sitting in a theatre with several hundred artists cheering on themselves and each other, it was just an incredible feeling. Something unique and magical was truly born that night and everyone in the room knew it and celebrated it.

Jason Bowcutt: Very hard to choose just I won't. Doric Wilson receiving the Artistic Achievement Award was a moment I will forever cherish, being able to recognize Ellen Stewart with the Stewardship Award blew my mind, and being backstage with Shay, Nick and Akia at this year's ceremony as we looked at one another in astonishment and having reached our 10th annual ceremony. 

Kathleen Warnock: So many! Of course, when Doric Wilson accepted his award, that one really got me. And one that was incredibly glorious was when Bill Irwin got everyone to throw their Frisbees. And I loved it, of course, when all five of the Five Lesbian Brothers accepted their award…for many and varied reasons.

Stephanie Cox-Williams: When I was able to meet and talk to Landford Wilson.  Not really a part of the show, but that was really meaningful to me.

Shay Gines: There are so many snapshots in my mind of moments that where meaningful to me. The first year was so indelible because we were in untested waters and had no idea what to expect. There was a moment at the first Nominee Announcement in 2005 when I swear I wasn’t breathing and my heart was not beating as we opened the doors and I watched the place fill with artists. At the time I didn’t know most of them and they didn’t know each other. At the first ceremony I was still in my overalls when we opened the house and when they called places, I was nowhere near being ready. The stage manager took pity on me and decided to hold for 10 minutes to allow me time to put on my dress. Over the years there have been simply too many astonishing moments onstage, backstage, behind the scenes I could not capture them all: Tom O’Horgan presenting the Stewardship Award to Ellen Stewart; watching the dress rehearsal for APAC’s Cino Award presentation; having the insane opportunity to meet so many of my theatrical icons; being the first person to congratulate some of the most profound artists I’ve had the good fortune to meet; talking backstage with Magie Dominick about the CaffĂ© Cino; carrying Olympia Dukakis’ purse; hugging Heather Cunningham after she received her award; watching Jolie Garrett (one of our award handlers) absolutely refuse to hurry Ben Vereen off stage (It was hysterical. He was onstage and it was like watching a pitcher shake off signals from the catcher. The Stage Manger kept getting more-and-more animated and Jolie was almost imperceptibly but decidedly shaking his head "no."); having Edward Albee tell me that we’ve built something important. One of my favorite things though is walking around the audience before the ceremony and greeting our guests and knowing most of them and watching this community being so supportive of one another. It makes me cry every time I think of it. Seriously, I’m in tears right now.

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