Update: April 2011 


Update header


APRIL 2011                              News from Off-Off-Broadway                                Issue 70
Doug Strassler, Editor 

Help Thy Neighbor: The Situation at UNDER St. Marks

by Doug Strassler 



Off-Off-Broadway mainstay UNDER St. Marks is in peril of being uprooted. The IT Foundation spoke with Erez Ziv, founding Board Member of The League of Independent Theater and Executive Director of Horse Trade about his situation and about how all of us can help.

IT: How instrumental has UNDER St. Marks been to you?

EZ: It has been invaluable for our development process.  The size of UNDER St. Marks, that is bigger than The Red Room and smaller than The Kraine Theater, has been great to have when planning out our season and assigning shows the appropriate space. Having the beer pantry at UNDER St. Marks has made it possible for us to keep ticket prices very low for certain shows and has helped them to become very successful. $3, $5 or even $7 ticket prices, which are very common at USM, would be very difficult for us to maintain in a venue that does not have the capacity to serve beer and wine. The popularity of the venue as a result of its size, location, price, and general accessibility make it a hotbed for collaboration and the mixing of genres and artistic communities.


Read the full story... 

Community Corner   


OOB Audience Survey 
The Innovative Theatre Foundation is conducting the fourth part of our OOB research project. This study focuses on OOB Audiences. If you are an OOB Audience member, please take the survey today. If you have a production that will be performing in the next few months, we could use your help. Please email us at info@nyitawards.com.   


Property Tax Relief for All NYC Non-Profit Performing Art Organizations (Monday, May 9, 2011)
The Innovative Theatre Foundation and The League of Independent Theatre co-host a Brooklyn Town Hall to discuss the progress of the tax relief proposal. Admission is free.

Galapagos Art Space

16 Main Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn



For details about these and other important activities affecting OOB and to see how you can help and get involved,  check out the Community Corner.


Keep up on theatre related news
The wonderful thing about the monthly newsletter from the Innovative Theater Foundation is the monthly marketing tip from Kampfire--of course! But what if you are looking for more regular/daily advice, here are some of my favorites:
These are just a few. If you are interested in going mobile, like FAB, Boomerang, and more text the word "Kampfire" to numbers 99222 and subscribe and/or email us at press@kampfirefilmspr.com.

For more helpful marketing tips check out Kampfire Kounsel or the Kampfire Films PR website.    


Honorary Awards Applications
Now Available Online

Applications are due Monday, May 2, 2011

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 Stewardship 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!

* While there is not an application for the Artistic Achievement Award, we encourage community members to email suggestions to the committee at info@nyitawards.com.

Our blog is so cool, it's like a
York Peppermint Patty

In honor of World Theatre Day, our March blog was dedicated international theatre. David Diamond told us all about Ellen Stewart's international impact and LaMaMa Umbria. Judith Malina told us the Human Happiness should be our cause and Kathleen Warnock explained how OOB helped her build relationships in Dublin and Blessed Unrest let us in on their relationship with Teatri Oda of Kosova.

So far in April, our good friend Jeff Riebe updated us on life in Minnesota and Jonothon Lyons wrote some incredible posts on his pursuit of alternative theatre. And Will Le Vasser explored science fiction on the OOB stage.

James Comtois     April 25 - 30
Stacy Davidowitz   May 2 - 7

Check out the insights from your fellow OOB artists, share your thoughts and participate in the conversation.

 IT Awards Blog

  BlogSpotWhen you're not producing, registering, performing in, or
 judging shows, please stop by FULL OF IT!
Theatre World v66

TWv66CoverTheatre World volume 66 has just been released through Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. Why is this noteworthy? Because for the last 66 years Theatre World has not only been one of the most respected theatrical publications, it is also the ultimate go-to source for complete, authoritative information on nearly every play of the season.

It is edited by Ben Hodges, who is an Off-Off-Broadway producer and director and avid OOB enthusiast Scott Denny. And the OOB section was curated by our very own Shay Gines. "It is so exciting that OOB is so well represented in this important record," said Gines "It is such a great resource and one of the most comprehensive archives of OOB's activities."

Find out more....

Get your 2010-2011 production included in Theatre Wold v67


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You can get yours now at our shop.


And don't forget, any time you buy something from Amazon and start by going through our website, we get a percentage of your sale with no additional cost to you.

Just start by going to Amazon through our shop.


Astoria Performing Arts Center 

by Katie Rosin  



APAC's production of

Children of Eden


At the 2010 Innovative Theater Awards, Astoria Performing Arts Center took home the Outstanding Production of a Musical for Children of Eden. This wasn't the first time APAC was nominated. In fact they had received 14  nominations and have received 3 awards for their work (including another for Children of Eden, in the category of Outstanding Set Design for Michael P. Kramer).


"Receiving the IT Award was a fantastic way to start our 10th Anniversary season," said Executive Director Taryn Sacramone. "Our friends here in the Astoria community certainly felt a lot of hometown pride on our behalf. Children of Eden was a particularly ambitious and challenging production; a lot of people had a role in making it possible, from investing time working on it, donating to it, and more, they share in the honor."


This spring, they reunite their award-winning team with Galt MacDermott and William Dumaresq's musical The Human Comedy, to run May 5-21. The production will be directed by APAC Artistic Director Tom Wojtunik and music directed by Jeffrey Campos, reuniting IT Award Nominee Christine O'Grady as choreographer, IT Award Recipient Michael P. Kramer as set designer, Hunter Kaczorowski as costume designer and casting by wojcik|seay casting.



The Human Comedy


"It's been such a blessing and a joy to reunite virtually the entire team from Children of Eden," states Wojtunik. "We already have an artistic short-hand and there is an enormous amount of respect--I think we all truly understand and trust each other as artists, freeing us to really concentrate on our areas of expertise and know that everyone else is bringing their A-game. At the same time, there's a concentration on comparing notes and making sure we are all on the same page, so that the final design feels likes one look, and that the staging and performances grow out of that physical world. It's fun blending the lines as far as who came up with what - and I believe with that level of collaboration that is when we all do our best work."


Based on William Saroyan's short story of the same name, the piece celebrates the idea of home and family. The coming-of-age tale focuses on young Homer Macauley, a telegram messenger who is exposed to the sorrows and joys experienced by his family and the residents of his small California town during World War II. "A spirited, emotionally affecting musical, a joyous celebration of small town America," (Associate Press), The Human Comedy

is one of the most enjoyable and moving musicals to have fallen into relative obscurity. APAC is offering you the opportunity to see the show the first weekend May 5-7 at a special $10/ticket price with code "itawards" at apacny.org.


Wojtunik chose The Human Comedy, having been a fan of the show for over 15 years. In 1982, when Joseph Papp premiered the show at The Public it was huge hit reminiscent of MacDermott's previous hit, Hair. Later that year, when the show moved to Broadway it struggled next to the more over-the-top spectacle musicals that were beginning to invade the Great White Way. It hasn't had a full-fledged professional production in NYC since. Wojtunik states, "this beautiful show has sadly fallen into relative obscurity since it premiered in 1983. I'm so proud that APAC is producing it, and look forward to sharing it with New York audiences."


When Wojtunik's grandfather was passing, he spent time on the train riding to and from his Connecticut hometown, listening to what was, he proclaims, "one of the best scores ever written for a musical." At the funeral, when the flag on coffin was folded and handed to his father, Wojtunik watched the generation shift in his family and had a profound sense of change. It was then he knew he had to produce this musical about life changing moments.


"I've been thrilled at how The Human Comedy is so open to interpretation. The source material (William Saroyan's novel) is rich, and there are beautiful, extended musical passages in the musical that you can really interpret in a variety of ways," says Wojtunik. "I'm having a blast finding my vision for the story that is unique to how it has been staged in previous productions.


The score itself is very demanding, and requires the ensemble to sing in almost every song in many ways the piece functions as musical historian Ken Mandelbaum said like "The Great American Opera," or an oratorio. So like the original production, we will have almost the entire cast on stage the entire time. I think we've come up with interesting ways to underline the themes of the pieces within this framework. There's also a character in the show called "Beautiful Music" that we've decided to use in a way that will really clarify who she is, and is very effective."


APAC, called "Adventurous" by the New York Times, has a reputation for pushing the envelope with their show choices, such as their fall production

MilkMilkLemonade and the previous year's The Pillowman. "We have always seen ourselves as playing a certain role in Astoria - as filling a need, as relating to other groups and individuals who are also working to enrich our neighborhood in ways that are both arts and non-arts related," says Sacramone. "We are very much invested in our community. So here we are, doing a show that is very much about lives intertwined in specific place and time. Theatre itself gives audience members a shared or community experience in a special way. Personally, I remember who I was with for every play I've ever seen. I can't say the same about, say, movie-going. I think that our audiences are going to share a very special experience with this one. There is such a strong sense of place. I saw a sing through of the show last week, and felt transported already."


As New York City can be a very transient place, lonely a times, many people find themselves missing a sense of connectedness and family, now with" The Human Comedy you can go home again--at least for a while." -Frank Rich, The New York Times


For more information on Astoria Performing Arts Center and The Human Comedy visit




Header Photos (L to R) -     
Dixon Place and El Gato Teatro's production of Nuevo Laredo; American Bard Theater Company's production of Four by Tenn; Maieutic Theatre Works' The Family Shakespeare; and Akiz Productions' Hanako Junction

For info on great shows currently running OOB,
 check out our website.

2011 Innovative Theatre Foundation


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