Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spreading It Around

Through the Donn Russell Fund, the IT Foundation has provided $10K in grants to eight OOB companies and artists this year. We are overjoyed to be able to support these important artists and are truly honored that Donn has entrusted us to carry on his life's mission of supporting innovative theatre.

As a part of their 2015 production award, four companies received grants.
Theatre 167 received a grant as a part of their Caffe Cino Fellowship Award.

AND in celebration of the inauguration of the DRF, three additional companies were also selected to receive funds based on their Caffe Cino applications.

Please take a moment to congratulation these artists (and maybe make a donation).


Applications for our Honorary Awards are now available online
Due Monday, May 2nd @ 6PM

 Help us recognize the amazing people and companies that make our community awesome. 

    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 your application today!

and don't forget to help us recognize your Outstanding Stage Manager!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gideon Productions receives Donn Russell Fund Grant

For many, Gideon Productions is the ideal Off-Off-Broadway theatre company. This sentiment is easy to understand. Because their work is based on popular genres and cultural touchstones, they are often at the forefront of trends and themes being presented on stages across the U.S. The fact that they explore "what's strange about being human and what's human about being strange," gives their productions an element of knowing intrigue and a sense of humor. However, it is their dedication to crafting a quality experience and employing some of the most skilled theatre artists in the community that makes them so admired by their peers, audiences and critics.

"Gideon is a role model of what indie theatre can and should be." 
                       ~ Mariah MacCarthy
Hanna Cheek in Sovereign

"Gideon makes theatre that grapples with big questions while never forgetting to find the comedy within the drama and the sorrow behind the shtick. It's what makes their shows next level special. Every play births a whole world and community, from the rehearsal room to the audience.” ~ Hanna Cheek
 "I am always drawn to Gideon's unflappable desire to push boundaries and take risks; their driving, giddy passion to produce fantastic, cutting-edge original work; and the fact that they just make cool stuff that may, on the surface, seem kind of 'out there,' but always manages to circle back to the human condition. Alien invasion? Demonic possession? Assisted suicide? Espionage? Naval musical? Nothing is off the table for these guys" ~ AL Pearsall

"They cast diversely, stay true to themselves, and are transparent. They don't pander to an audience. They do their thing. And they do it damn well. They might be the craziest people in the theatre right now and we love them for it.” ~ Diana Oh

“Gideon Productions is awesome because it is my home.  I was going to qualify that with 'my artistic home' but it goes far, far beyond that.  For over a decade, Gideon has given me the chance to exercise my muscles as an actor in so many ways: as a flamingly homosexual Coast Guard chaplain, a female psychic, a Neocon war monger, a blind romance novelist and a particularly brutal CIA interrogator.  And it's been wonderful...but that's the stuff that everyone can see.  What you can't see is the time Jordana mobilized to make sure I had Gatorade backstage when I was performing Fleet Week sick as a dog.  You probably don't know that Sean went out of his way to make sure the cookies I like were backstage during the run of Asymmetric when I had to perform on what would have been my late partner's 47th birthday.  You may or may not have been in the room all the times Mac gives his actors far more credit than we deserve because saying his brilliant, beautiful words is the easiest job any of us will ever have.  And they'll forgive you easily and quickly when you might have a out-of-all-proportion meltdown backstage shouting, 'I AM IN A RAGE' to anyone and everyone.  The reason Gideon is able to pull off something like The Honeycomb Trilogy is because they've built a big, beautiful house and have invited us all to live there.  They are family.  They are, as Connor says repeatedly at the end of Advance Man, home.” ~ Rob Maitner 

“Gideon Productions breaks, and opens, my heart, and intoxicates my mind, with every story and staging; epic, and strange, and oh so beautifully human. I treasure every chance I have to place myself in their hands, as an artist and spectator. Vagabonds often know exactly what feels like home. For me, it's Gideon.” ~ Kristen Vaughan

Kristen Vaughan & Diana Oh in Frankenstein Upstairs
The cast of Universal Robots
“Gideon Productions creates high caliber work that takes risks and takes it's audiences on joyous, dynamic rides. Their work is consistently solid and impactful.” ~ Jason Howard

“Gideon Productions' massive ambition is only eclipsed by their considerateness and kindness. They won't do something unless they can do it right. And it being right is not only that the production be excellent, but that everyone involved is treated with respect.  There's no corner-cutting; no convincing themselves that they can do without something that demonstrates that respect to their cast, crew, designers, and audience. Just that level of attention and work is monumental for an independent theater company. But that's not hard enough for Gideon. So Gideon decides to do crazy ambitious productions of difficult plays.... Wonderful plays, genius plays, beautiful plays.  Sometimes I imagine their meetings playing out like a game of "dare or dare" where they push each other to make everything better." ~ Stephen Heskitt
"Gideon Productions is awesome because the brilliance of their work is consistent and unmatched. When you have one of the best writers working today joined with one of the best directors in the country, throw in a designer/technical director that can make miracles from nothing, and then back them up with a gifted producer and producing team that will settle for nothing less than utter excellence and service to their audiences, you get something truly special that cannot be found anywhere else. Gideon's value can be estimated not only by the fierce loyalty of their fan base, but also by the loyalty and trust of everyone who works with them." ~ Brian Silliman

"Gideon is honest and sincere to their artistic team. I enjoy the community that they create with each production. It is a pleasure to know that as a designer, actor or audience member, you are appreciated and heard. I believe that this desire to connect with everyone on every level of production creates an environment that encourages growth and support.” ~ Jennifer Wilcox
"As artists, they are not experimental. They are not 'trying stuff out.' They are not devising and they are not deconstructing and they are not mashing-up. Gideon does the harder thing: they tell challenging, twisty, sharp, emotional stories. They gather great actors in front of great audiences with great production values with great staging to perform great plays. It's harder than it looks. Or, rather, it's exactly as hard as it looks.” ~ Matt Freeman   

Rebecca Comtois and Mac Rogers in Ligature Marks
We are honored to present Gideon Productions with a grant from the Donn Russell Fund. This money will be used to support their upcoming production of Universal Robots, which will open at the Sheen Center in June. They are currently raising funds for this project so please, join us in supporting this deserving company by making a donation (go to: & click on the link that is on the bottom of their page).

Congratulations to Gideon Productions for receiving a Donn Russell Fund grant!

  Learn more about Donn Russell...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Retro Productions receives Donn Russell Fund Grant

In 2015 Retro Productions celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that time they have presented 18 productions and have become one of the most highly respected companies currently working Off-Off-Broadway. In addition to their meticulous attention to detail and impressive production values (especially considering their modest budgets), Retro has one of the most clearly articulated esthetics in the community. Dedicated to productions, which have an historical perspective - with an emphasis on the 20th century - they're providing audiences with new perspectives on some classic American texts.

"Modern theatre is often about The Now or even about The Next, but Retro Productions understands the importance of remembering our recent history. The significance of reflection is always poignantly observed in their revivals."
               ~ Gina Femia, New York Theatre Review

Retro Production's Desk Set photo by Christopher Hicken
"Retro has the uncanny, AWESOME ability to consistently attract New York's most talented theatre artists and create something extraordinary for themselves and audiences alike!"
Greg Oliver Bodine

"I've never laughed as hard and had as much fun working on shows than I have with Retro."                 ~ Matilda Szydagis

"Retro Productions is awesome because we create beyond our limitations, not within them."               ~ Viviane Galloway

"Retro has introduced me to some of my closest life-long friendships and gives me opportunity to work with those amazing souls on a regular basis. I love them."
                                    ~ Casandera MJ Lollar

The Butter and Egg Man
Good Boys and True
                           Photos by Connolly NYC

"Retro productions has an incredible dedication to preserving the details of the era for any given production” ~ Elise Rovinsky

"Retro Productions is an awesome organization that supports its members' artistic efforts with high production standards and meaningful project choices." ~ Rebecca Cunningham

"Retro Productions is awesome because it gives actors, designers, directors, and stage managers the experience of working on a production in another time. It also allows the audience to experience life during a time they may not have lived through. Not only are they enjoying the show, but they are learning about the music, the decor, the clothing, the slang, and the cultural feelings of that precise era through the production." ~ Kathryn Squitieri
"Retro is at it's best when we all work together as a team - and this company does. We may not do a lot of shows (certainly there are companies who do more), but we do consistently great work that not just relies on, but benefits from the company members all coming together and bringing their individual talents to the end goal."
                             ~ Heather Cunningham
Retro Productions' Still Life photo by David Anthony

We are excited to present Retro Productions with a grant from the Donn Russell Fund. You can also contribute to this deserving company by making a donation and watch for their summer yard sales which often includes props, costumes and set pieces from their productions.

Congratulations to Retro Productions for receiving a Donn Russell Fund grant! 

  Learn more about Donn Russell...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Intern With Us

The Innovative Theatre Foundation offers an internship program featuring numerous opportunities in Arts Management and Production.

The Innovative Theatre Foundation Internship Program offers a rich and challenging experience for qualified college students, graduates and young professionals who are actively pursuing careers in professional theater.

Come and work with our awesome team!

Intern tracks include:
  • General Management
  • Social Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Design & Development
  • Archive Management
  • Community Outreach
  • Production Management 
  • Video / Digital Media
  • Publicity  

If you are interested, please apply for an internship online, and you will receive a response within 72 hours


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rising Sun Performance Company receives Donn Russell Fund Grant

In its 15 years, Rising Sun Performance Company has created over 100 productions and worked with hundreds of artists. This prolific and energetic company holds process, community and respect for the artists as the most important aspects of their work. This philosophy is exemplified by their 27 point manifesto, which includes items such as “there’s always room for a new idea;" “this isn’t a passing thru place, this is a home" and "every member must take ownership of the entire production, we are a team, and we do not abandon others to do the dirty work."

If you attend any of their performances, you will be moved by how welcoming this group is; you will be impressed with how much joy they infuse into their work and; you will be humbled by how dedicated the artists are to each other.

     * See photo captions below
“The work they do and the artistic environment they create allows artists to explore their creativity to the fullest.  Rising Sun allows performers to stretch themselves in a safe and nurturing atmosphere which enables us to produce remarkable performances.”
                                             ~ Elizabeth Burke, Ensemble Member

“Rising Sun isn’t just a theater company.  It’s family. Rising Sun is as fearless as they come.” ~ Mark Cornell, Playwright

"Rising Sun is one of those rare Indie Theater companies that creates a family of artists and truly focuses on the work or the story that needs to be told. Our community is more important than the goal of any single individual in the company; therefore, our work is collaborative and fueled with passion that comes from everyone in the company. I think that's why Rising Sun is so awesome - it emphasizes community and makes the work its centerpiece." ~Lauren Fischetti, Assistant Producer

RSPC's production of ERIK by John Patrick Bray
“I remember standing shirtless behind Under St. Mark’s Theatre during our run of Hellcab in 2005. It was December, close to midnight. We were all freezing. It was all so romantic and crazy. Our laughter kept us warm. Moments later, we were back under the hot lights in different costumes, playing different roles, something you learn to do when you are part of an ensemble cast. I miss those days terribly. There will always be some part of me behind the theatre, looking at the starless night sky, the ice, and the glow coming from the window. I am the artist and teacher that I am today because of the love, generosity, and the warm kinship of RSPC, who took me into their fold.”
                    ~John Patrick Bray, Resident Playwright  & Co-Literary Manager

"There is a feeling of camaraderie and acceptance in this group that I can’t quite explain”
                   ~ Julie Bain, Former Ensemble Member

"It is very gratifying to participate in a group of artists always working to achieve their best. It's great to have the opportunity to be challenged and grow as an artist, to find a home and people that are as passionate as you are."   ~ Patrick J. Egan- Former Ensemble Member

"Great people, great theatre, great support...what could be better"
                     ~ Samantha Turret, Ensemble Member 

We are proud to present the Rising Sun Performance Company with a grant from the Donn Russell Fund. Currently RSPC is endeavoring to raise $15K in honor of their 15th season. We hope you will join us in helping them realize this goal.

Congratulations to Rising Sun Performance Company for receiving a Donn Russell Fund grant! 

Learn more about Donn Russell...

   * RSPC productions of Sprucehaven B photo by N-K Photography, Firebird photo by  Choo Yut Shing and Simon Yeo via, and Theatre MashUp