Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Ghost

Produced by Bottoms Dream
Directed by Nat Angstrom

What happens when you take two of Shakespeare’s best known tragedies and weave their plots and characters together? As a part of their “Weaving Series” the theatre company Bottoms Dream explores this intricate and intriguing process.

“Beginning with lines ‘to die, to sleep no more’ (from Hamlet) and ‘methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!' (from Macbeth), we wove the two plays into a single storyline, allowing characters and plots from each world to reflect and affect one another,” explains producer and actress Caitlin White. “Through this process, each play's story and relationships took on new depth and complexity.” In The Ghost, King Duncan Macduff's country is at war. While leading his brother's army in battle, Claudius Macbeth experiences a supernatural event that promises his ascension to the throne. He and his brother's wife, Gertrude, plot to murder the king and marry each other. Disenfranchised, Prince Hamlet and his wife Ophelia work together to uncover the truth, unaware that their friends, soldiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, have sworn service to the new king, Macbeth.
“Our hope was to present two of Shakespeare's best-known works in an original format, with his lines woven together in an unfamiliar way. We wanted the audience to hear and see these characters as if for the first time and to imagine a brand-new way of revisiting Shakespeare's canon,” explains White.

Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role nominee, John Hardin, who played Rosencratz was enthusiastic about the experiment. “I love the text of Hamlet, so I was excited to get an opportunity to work on some of my favorite material with some of my favorite people in a totally new way.”
The project also reunited old friends “I have been friends with Nat and Caitlin, the creators of the show, for quite a while. And my favorite part was being paired with Matt Castleman as Guildenstern. He's an old and great friend, and we had a fantastic time playing off each other,” says Hardin.

Because the story and characters were shaped specifically for the actors portraying them, Hardin found himself utilizing new skills. “This show was the first time I've ever played the harmonica onstage,” says Hardin. “It was also the first time I ever pretended to drown someone in a bathtub. I'm curious to see which one happens again first.”

Weaving two such epic stories requires a great deal of editing and discipline. It is not surprising that new dimensions or character facets would be discovered through the process. “As we revealed more of Claudius Macbeth's choices, the character began to skew towards the sympathetic. Inversely, Rosencrantz became more embittered and disillusioned after returning from war and failing to reintegrate into his old life. The character surprised us in its complexity and we are so glad that actor John Hardin has been nominated for his dark and haunting portrayal,” say White.

Congratulations to John Hardin and the cast and crew of The Ghost for your bravery to tackle such an complex concept in the endeavor of creating something new and exciting.

Follow this blog to learn more about other innovative Off-Off Broadway productions! Join us as we celebrate all the dynamic and unique voices of the 2015 season!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Breathing New Life: Outstanding Revival of A Play

Contributed by Conor O'Brien

To breathe new life into an established script comes with its own set of unique challenges. While upholding the text of the playwright, an artist must allow their creativity to operate outside of the set parameters previous productions have set. To accomplish this with outstanding results truly shows an innovative approach to theater! The IT Awards are proud to recongize the 2015 Nominees for Oustanding Revival of a Play:

The Butter and Egg Man, Retro Productions
Fiction, Play.Sing.Give.

Much Ado About Nothing, Smith Street Stage, Inc.

R & J & Z, Hard Sparks

Talk Radio, Variations Theatre Group

Within the Law
, Metropolitan Playhouse

Before these outstanding revivals were staged brave artistic souls had to decide to offer their talents to give new life to established scripts.

We asked each of the nominated shows producers what attracted them to the productions?

J.Stephen Brantley (of R & J & Z)

Melody Bates' new play is both a love letter to the Bard and a fierce rebuke to all that is wrong with Shakespeare. In her supernatural sequel to Romeo And Juliet, the women are warriors. It's not the men who ultimately save Verona from the zombie apocalypse. For all the blood - and there was loads of blood in this show - the piece is ultimately about personal freedom, cultural transformation, and love so true that even death falls down before it. Melody has some magic, and director Joan Jubett is one of the most sensitive and incisive directors I've ever known.                                   

Alex Roe (of Within The Law)
Exploring questions of justice and criminal process through a year old play is a remarkable opportunity to cast a new light on a system we criticize, fear, or take for granted and question its inequities from a distance that helps us see them more clearly.  Plus it's a great melodramatic nailbiter.


Stacy Lynn Gould (of Fiction)
We are interested in pieces that require very little other than the connection between people and fantastic writing. Fiction was so clever and the chemistry was practically built in between the characters. We wanted to do a piece that was intimate and made the audience unsure as to who to root for. It was a piece involving beautifully flaw filled people.


Heather Cunningham (of The Butter & Egg Man
Since we produce 20th Century period work I'd been looking for a 1920's set play for some time. When it was time to chose a production for our 10th Anniversary season I thought of this play, set in the 20's, about producing a play and thought that it would be a wonderful way to celebrate our 10th year of producing plays.


Greg Cicchino (of Talk Radio)
It's a 90 minute nonstop rollercoaster that drills deep into a man's place in society and the universe.

For more coverage of the 2015 IT awards season be sure to follow this blog!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Miss Julie

Produced by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre
Directed by Robert Greer

In Ed Chishom’s adaption of Miss Julie, director Robert Greer moves the classic from Midsummer in Sweden to Mardi Gras in Louisiana. Miss Julie (a countess or in this case the planation owner’s daughter) and her father's butler John engage in a mutual seduction. However, John's fiancée Christine (the cook) finds out their plans to flee. 

Transporting the play to a post-civil war South creates a charged environment of class relations and seduction. “The sheer intensity that the actors created in all three relationships, Reginald Wilson and Eboni Flowers as an engaged couple, Ivette Dumeng and Reggie as master and servant as well as lovers, and not least Eboni and Ivette as servant and mistress, made for an intense rehearsal process. All three were always ready to raise the stakes,” says Greer.

“I've always been a huge fan of classics, re-imagined, so I naturally connected with this adaptation of Miss Julie, set in Antebellum Louisiana. It's a very different exploration of the story,” said Eboni Flowers who is nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role for her portrayal of Christine.

We asked Eboni about preparing for the role:
“After reading the Ed Chisholm's adaptation of the play, I felt I knew who she was: a person, a woman, with wants, needs, dreams & hopes...and obstacles. The play was set just about 20 years after slavery was abolished, so Christine was not only dealing with being Black in that in that place and time, but also, with being a woman, and in that sense, she was like a 3rd class citizen. She witnessed a lot that she didn't approve of, and which she was unable to express with a certain candor, to either Miss Julie or John. She had to use the Bible as her weapon and her solace. And yet, I didn't want to make the easy choice and sanitize her, just because she's a Christian. I wanted her to have something to repent for at night when she got on her knees to pray. I wanted to show her as Strindberg wrote her: a sinner saved by GRACE. A real person, not a walking Bible.

I most enjoyed turning a conceivably ‘small’ role into a MASSIVE person with intricate feelings. Christine is woman who has a huge spiritual foundation, but is also, naturally, flawed. I was very interested in showing both sides of her, and making sure she was just as full and fleshed-out a character as John and Julie were.”

Eboni’s work resonated with theatre goers. “She built Christine with incredible attention to detail and a magnificent arc to the character,” says Greer.

Congratulations to Eboni Flowers and the entire cast and crew of Miss Julie for creating such an engaging and beautiful work.

Follow this blog to learn more about other innovative Off-Off Broadway productions! Join us as we celebrate all the dynamic and unique voices of the 2015 season!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Donkey Punch

Contributed by Conor O'Brien

Sexually adventurous Kareena delves into monogamy with her boyfriend Teddy, while her inhibited best friend, Sam, starts dating Kyle, a pornographer. After a makeover, a scandal, and a documentary; the real question is, who is the donkey?

This is the description offered by The Ivy Theater Company, for their three-time 2015 IT Award nominated production, Donkey Punch - previously titled The Feminism of a Soft Merlot or (How The Donkey Got Punched). Donkey Punch was written by Micheline Auger and Directed by Audrey Alford. The production was presented at the SOHO Playhouse. This production is nominated for Outstanding Original Full Length Script, Premier Production and Actress in a Lead Role (Diana Oh).

The mission statement of Ivy Theater Company states: Ivy Theatre Company is dedicated to dynamic storytelling that explores the human condition in a visceral way in order to provoke thought and challenge both the artist and the audience. Our work climbs inside, up and over the walls that have confined and silenced the voices of the few and the oppressed.

Director Audrey Alford stated what attracted her the production: “Micheline has such a distinct voice and I was so excited to read a play about two complex female characters struggling with their respective roles in their friendship and romantic relationships. We have Kareena struggling to keep her agency in a monogamous relationship and Sam testing her boundaries with sex. I have been both of these women and I thought it was so important to see women with depth, flaws, and unique senses of humor on stage.”
Audrey added a quirky (and innovative) note on her reflections of this piece. She
stated that “the funniest part of the production was definitely the donkey mask. He took on a life of his own. We took it everywhere and got some amazing pictures with it on. Donkey had his picture made with Lea DeLaria, Jenny McCarthy, Constantine Maroulis, and lots of tourists. He also had us cracking up in rehearsal.”

Diana Oh portrayed Kareena and is nominated for the 2015 IT Award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role. An innovative and layered role as Kareena would undoubtedly come with challenges. Diana stated that the most challenging aspect(s) of playing Kareena was, “Diving deep into a character who seemingly has everything together but is afraid to admit out loud that she was afraid of commitment, of love, of being loved, of showing love....(it) made me question and realize people's tendencies to self-preserve and irrationally protect and judge their "soft" feelings. And by people's, I'm pretty sure I mean my own.”

Follow this blog to learn more about other innovative Off-Off Broadway productions! Join us as we celebrate all the dynamic and unique voices of the 2015 season!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Run for Your Wife

Contributed by Conor O'Brien

Written in 1983 (by Roy Cooney) Run For Your Wife concerns London cab driver John Smith, with two spouses, two lives and a very precise schedule for juggling them both and what occurs when his two very separate worlds collide. In January 2015 TheGallery Players mounted their own 1970’s stylized production of this comedic gem! The Gallery Players’ mission is to provide the Brooklyn Community with professional-quality theater at an affordable cost, to nurture and support theater artists, and to cultivate an appreciation of theater in future generations.

We asked producer Sidney Fortner what particularly attracted her to the production? Sidney stated that, “I enjoy the British farce form” to which Sidney also added “...and I'm always happy to work with Director Mark Harborth.” Sidney stated that her favorite part of working on Run For Your Wife was “observing the process of crafting the difficult timing, as the excellent cast brought the play into focus step by step under the collaborative direction of Mr. Harborth."

Nominated for the 2015 NYIT Award for Outstanding Ensemble, we asked Emily Hooper (who portrayed the role of Barbara Smith) what attracted her to this particular production. Emily elaborated that, "After living in the city for almost a year now and having worked on several different projects, I know that the camaraderie our cast shared was truly special. I feel so grateful that this show was my very first New York production, and I think I lucked out with the kind of people I got to work with. Not only was everyone incredibly professional...but I never felt alone for a single second on that stage.”

The outstanding nominees from the entire ensemble are: Emily Hooper, Graciany Miranda, James Swanson, Joseph Cassese, Joshua Nicholson, Maria Silverman, Michael Hardart and Timothy Park.

Follow us to learn more about all the 2015 nominees and help us celebrate Off-Off Broadway!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Temple of The Souls

Contributed by Conor O'Brien

Temple of The Souls is a forbidden tale of secrets, loves and lies of what might have happened in 16th Century Puerto Rico when a chance meeting changed the world forever.   This is a time when women were chaperoned, marriages arranged, and social classes never mixed. A time when Spaniards enslaved thousands of indigenous Taínos, stole their women, their land, their lives. A time when Taínos jumped from the highest cliff in the El Yunque rain forest ... jumped to their deaths to escape the white man. This is the time where it all begins, on the eve of the great fiesta, when a Taíno boy and a Spanish girl fall in love.

Temple of the Souls (a musical drama) was developed and directed by Lorca Peress, with story by Anita Velez-Mitchell, music by Dean Landon and Anika Paris and book by Anita Velez-Mitchell, Lorca Peress and Anika Paris. Temple of The Souls was produced by MultiStages, which was founded in 1997 with the mission of developing multicultural and multidisciplinary new works through collaborations between playwrights and artists (within and outside the theatre arena) that celebrate a fusion of art forms rarely found in today’s theatre.

Temple of The Souls is nominated for a total of nine 2015 IT Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Musical.

From its inception, collaborative development and final product - Temple of The Souls captures so much of what true innovative theater is!  Lorca Peress provided some unique insight when asked what she found to be the most enjoyable part of the entire process:

"Combining all of the various elements and being graced with a fabulous artistic team was a favorite part of working on this production. Finding a terrific venue at Theater for the New City with its 20' plus foot ceiling that made the audience and actors feel like we were in the rain forest and seeing the result of our work and the development of our show since our first workshop in 2011."

Be sure to continue following the NYIT blog for highlights and fantastic insights into our 2015 awards season!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In the Bones

Contributed by Isaiah Tanenbaum

In the Bones
produced by Astoria Performing Arts Center is one of the most-recognized shows this year, earning nominations for Premiere Production of a Play, Jaime Vallés' Innovative Design, and acting nominations for Emily Koch, Sean Hankinson, Mel House, and Zac Hoogendyk. We asked them to tell us a little about the production and what brought them on board.

"The first time that I read the script, I got lost in the story. I felt angry, laughed out loud and wept," wrote House. Hankinson agreed: "Cody Daigle wrote a beautiful play." And Hoogendyk added: "When I read it, I knew I wanted to do it."

The production made extensive use of video elements, which earned Jaime Vallés his Innovative Design nomination, and many of the nominees reflected on video's impact on the production as a whole. "I loved the different elements used within In the Bones," wrote Koch. While integrating video into a stage play was not without its challenges, such as a more complicated tech process, it had an upside: "we had one day to shoot all the video footage, and the cast and crew bonded very quickly," said Vallés. Creating the video elements "was a rare opportunity to work with the cast and director on the play's backstory," pointed out Hankinson. "Normally, that work is never really focused outside of personal prep. It was a treat."

The run had its share of memorable moments -- one audience member vomited; another time a pipe burst during the final act, soaking everyone on stage (the show continued, of course). One scene involves House's character's enthusing to Koch's character about the production of Wicked she had seen. Ironically, Koch was in callbacks for a swing role in the national tour of that play, a role she booked. That evening, House went completely blank on the monologue, and all she could get out was a breathless "Wicked!" "Luckily, [Koch's] agent/management team and lots of people in the audience understood and had a big response, and we picked up the scene and proceeded just fine. But I was a very proud Auntie indeed!"

All in all, the cast and crew had a wonderful time working at the Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), whose mission is to "bring high quality theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens" and whose productions have garnered 36 NYIT nominations and have received six awards (plus the 2012 Caffe Cino Fellowship). We'll give Koch the last word: "they are so giving and smart and fun that every rehearsal was a joy to be a part of."

Monday, August 3, 2015

ACTING ALONE: Outstanding Solo Performances of 2015

Contributed by Conor O'Brien

Renowned American playwright Thorton Wilder is quoted as saying, "I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being."

This statement is further augmented when considering the raw power and unique challenges that comes from solo-based theater. One person, perhaps capturing a collection of voices or just one unique perspective, striving to share with an audience a true sense of something intimate and vital. Solo theater is truly an amazing representation of the innovative spirit of the performing arts!

There are six nominees for the 2015 NYIT Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.

Joe Assadourian
The Bullpen, Eric Krebs Theatrical Management, Inc

Christopher J. Domig
Dirt, DRECK Productions

Dominique Fishback
Subverted, Dominique Fishback

Sylvia Milo
The Other Mozart, Little Matchstick Factory

Tanya O'Debra

The Ultimate Stimulus, Felipe Ossa

Lucie Pohl
Hi, Hitler, Great Pretender Productions
We spoke with a few of them to see WHY they chose these particular roles/projects and what they found most challenging.

THE OTHER MOZART is the true, untold story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus - a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but her work and her story faded away, lost to history. Written and performed by Slyvia Milo, directed by Isaac Byrne. Produced by The Little Matchstick Factory. 

Why this project?
I received the inspiration to create The Other Mozart in 2006. I saw a small picture of the Mozart family portrait on a wall in Vienna and I began the research on who is the sister of Amadeus. She turned out to be a genius, forgotten and stifled because of her gender. I read books on Amadeus, then I read all the family letters. She emerged to me from those letters. Here was a woman Mozart, a child prodigy and composer, who toured with Amadeus as equals, but her work is lost and her story is not being told. I realized I may be the person who is to tell her story. I worked for years researching Mozarts and the situation of women, particularly women artists, during that time. I spent time in Europe, in the places where Nannerl Mozart lived or traveled through. I started to gathered a team of Polish and American theater professionals.

The result is an abstract concept of the staging and design, together with the emotional, direct telling of a great story, and then there is the music - sound design encompassing Amadeus and Leopold Mozart, Marianna Martines (a great female composer from Mozart -time Vienna) and new compositions of contemporary classical music.

What was the most challenging part of creating this project?
The Other Mozart is the first full-length play I wrote, it is also the first solo show I ever performed. And it was the first time I produced a theatrical run. I learned so much and continue learning through this show!

SUBVERTED portrays the destruction of Black identity as seen through the eyes of Eden, an 18 year-old girl living in any urban city in the USA. Through the colliding viewpoints of 22 friends, family members, and historical figures, Eden discovers that the promise of “equal opportunity” still, to this day, does not exist. She questions why the people she loves the most continue to live blindly subverted by an unrelenting history that they did not live through, yet inherit and must accept.

Why This Project?
The topics in Subverted are truly important to me. I believe that the issues addressed in the show need to be discussed; and more importantly, they need to be seen in the raw state that is Subverted. This way we can put a face, a name, a heart, a smile, and tears to the statistics and those living in the hood. In doing that more people would hear them [us] out. Subverted is raw, its harsh, its funny and its heartbreaking. Subverted is not for the faint hearted. Why should it be? If Black people in America are not allowed to be faint of heart because their [our] circumstances don’t allow for that, then to get a better understanding, the audience has to be infused in the struggle. Additionally, this time around producing Subverted, I was excited to see what a director, light, set, and sound designer who’ve all worked on Broadway productions, would add to a show I already loved so much.

What was the most challenging part of creating this project?
I would say that fundraising and being both a performer and first time producer was very challenging because I had to have many different parts of my brain working at the same time—the performer/artistic side and the business/marketing side. I’m an artist at heart so the business aspect was never really my thing, but I did it and now I know that I'm capable. I also had an awesome director and assistant producer who really made things easier for me.

DIRT focuses upon the character Sad. Sad is an Arab living in our city in 2014. He loves the English language, and America too. He is thankful for the life he is “allowed” to live in this country, and is sensitively aware of his rights – and lack thereof. He is careful about what he says and does, to the point that he remarks repeatedly he has never once sat on a park bench in this city. To Sad, the benches are reserved for the people he at once admires and abhors, including the 40-year-old men that buy his roses but refuse to look him in the eye. He resents their behavior yet feels obligated to respect them, and the exploration of this conflict drives the entire play. Written by Robert Schneider, translated by Paul Dvorak and directed by Mary Catherine Burke.

Why This Project?
I was amazed that no one was interested in doing the English speaking production of DIRT, even though the subject matter of an immigrant was and continues to be extremely relevant. It was a story that no one wanted to tell, and I felt strongly about giving the character of Sad a voice.

What was the most challenging part of creating this project?
DIRT is about the struggle that so many immigrants face on a daily basis. Sad's struggle in DIRT doesn't end well. It took a lot of energy to allow Sad to fight for a solution, instead of giving into despair. As an actor I know how the story will end, but as the character every night, I had to be hopeful, searching and fighting for the right to be be heard. This took quite a toll on my emotional well being, but was worth it each and every performance.

For more coverage of the 2015 IT awards season be sure to follow this blog!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Nominee Announcement Party: A Night (and promise) of Innovation

Dear Reader,

Hello, I am Conor O’Brien, the social media manager for the NYITF for the 2015 award season. On July 20th the New York Innovative Theatre Awards held a party to announce the 2015 nominees. This celebration of Off-Off-Broadway was held at the Diamond Horseshoe, a gorgeous underground venue below the Paramount Hotel.
The energy in the room grew from electrifying to a fever pitch of excitement once the doors opened. As social media manager my role is to cultivate a dialog across various online platforms, to ensure an informative conversation is continued from now thru the awards ceremony in September. Entering this new position I struggled to find the “voice” of the foundation, the core message of the IT Awards. The incredible team of the NYITF has made this transition easy and while I did not want for creative content, I was concerned I would not find a signature voice to share within this wide spread network.

(Which brings us to the night of the nominee announcement party)
As crowds of diverse theatre artists and dedicated patrons entered into The Diamond Horseshoe on a (rather) warm summer evening I quickly found the “voice” I was looking for. What I was looking for was not a singular voice, but was a chorus. There was not a single common thread amongst the talented crowd, say for the innovative spirit upon which this foundation was built (forgive me, even I know that was a lame line).
The ages ranged, the artistic focus varied and the attire certainly held no similarity from table to table. However, all in attendance were here for the same reasons:

  1.  To gawk at the almost unsettlingly attractive wait-staff
  2.  To celebrate the innovative talents of the Off-Off-Broadway community
As I continue to assist with the social media for this awards season, I promise not to focus on the commonality of the nominees but rather celebrate that which makes Off-Off-Broadway unique - our beautiful, weird and innovative differences.

Missed this amazing event? Watch the 2015 NYIT Awards announcements! 

See photos from the event.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Indie Theatre Week

  July 20-26, 2015

The chance for Indie Theatre makers to relax and celebrate the insanity and camaraderie of the creating theatre Off-Off-Broadway. 

Please join us for these super fun events:

MONDAY, July 20

Nominee Announcement Party - Kick of Indie Theatre week by celebrating the 2015 season and party with some of the coolest artists in NYC!

7PM - 10PM @ The Diamond Horseshoe (235 West 46th Street)

FRIDAY, July 24

BoOOBs (Broads of Off-Off Broadway) - Its the Annual Meeting of the BoOOBs. The ladies of Indie Theatre gather to share a drink, a few good laughs and some excellent company. Are you a "broad"? Do you work Off-Off-Boradway? Then join us and BRING YOUR BoOOBs!

4PM til the martini glasses run dry @ 52 Eighth Avenue, NYC.


7th Annual Indie Theatre MidSummer Classic - Join the Indie Theatre all-stars for the annual pickup softball game that answers the age old question...do theatre people do sports? Well, sometimes they do. Beer and wings afterwards to revel in our athletic glory!

3PM @ the Central Park Softball Fields on the Great Lawn (Field 2)!

Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 Honorary Award Applications OPEN

In addition to the production categories, the IT Foundation presents three honorary awards every year at the annual ceremony. These Honorary Awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Off-Off-Broadway community and are selected each year by the Honorary Awards Committee.

Honorary Award Applications are available now online
Due Monday, June 1, 2015 @ 6PM

The Honorary Awards are:

  • The Artistic Achievement Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant artistic contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community;
  • The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, presented to an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company that consistently produces outstanding work. This award also includes a grant to be used toward an Off-Off-Broadway production.
  • The Ellen Stewart Award, presented to an individual or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership.

Complete an Honorary Award application TODAY

2014 Honorary Award Recipients:

DONT FORGET TO Submit your

Outstanding Stage Manager Applications
Due in July  2015
Help us recognize your Outstanding Stage Manager.
Read about our previous OSM Recipients

Complete an OSM application TODAY!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Founder's Award

Contributed by Nick Micozzi, Shay Gines & Jason Bowcutt


As you all know, we just finished up our 10th anniversary season. It has been a crazy, but entirely enriching decade. We want to thank all of you who have been a part of this organization. We have watched it grow from an impossible idea to an organization that is that has nearly 60,000 members. And so as we celebrate our first 10 years, we are also looking forward to the next 10 years.

At the Innovative Theatre Foundation, we are all about honoring and recognizing people who have made a big difference to the Indie Theatre Community and recently we had the opportunity to continue a tradition that we started in our first year. We have a very special award called the Founders Award that is given to individuals that the Foundation’s Founders (
Jason, Shay, and Nick) feel have made an extraordinary contribution to the organization. It is not given every year. It is rare, but very meaningful to us.

In our first year, it was presented to Paul Adams, who was a major inspiration and provided some important infrastructure support during our formative years. In our fifth year, it was presented to Akia Squiteri who is a beautiful force within our organization and has given it her heart and soul.

Now in our tenth year we are so excited to recognize someone whose generosity and vision is helping to ensure that our organization will be around for another ten years and beyond.
For several years, there has been a gentleman who has been a huge support to the Innovative Theatre Foundation. In fact, since the 1960’s he has been quietly supporting independent artists, Off-Off-Broadway, the avant garde; giving these artists and companies funding at crucial moments in their development. He has even written a book called the Avant Guardian: A Theatre Foundations Director’s 25 Years Off-Broadway about his experiences in theatre and supporting new, unusual works and experimental ideas.

We were honored to present the Founders Award to a “Fucking Legend” (if you have the chance, ask him about the story behind that moniker), Mr. Donn Russell.

Donn Russell, A Fucking Legend
Photos by Marc Goldberg

We are truly grateful that he has decided to invest in the Innovative Theatre Foundation and is entrusting us to help further his mission.