Update: February 2013 

Update header
FEBRUARY 2013                     News from Off-Off-Broadway                         Issue 93
Doug Strassler, Editor                     www.nyitawards.com  

Being Positive on 4Th Street: in a Blaze of Glory

by John Patrick Bray
In October 2012, The Horse Trade Group (HTG) had successfully rallied the communities of artists in downtown NYC and saved UNDER St. Marks, a forty-five seat basement theatre space between 1st Ave and Avenue A. In the months leading up to this dramatic turn of the tide the owner had intended to sell the building, but paused, allowing HTG to try to raise the funds to secure a longer lease. I remember posting the Indiegogo link on my Facebook page, and a number of artists, such as playwright Joshua Conkel, lamenting what the loss would mean for us all - how a number of us had grown there, were able to take risks, and create the kind of theatre, which frankly, we wanted to see and engage audience members - many of whom were also artists.

Horse Trade Group announced earlier this year that the Red Room theatre will be closing at the end of March. John Patrick Bray talks about this Off-Off-Broadway staple and some of his most enduring memories of the space.




Welcome Heather Cohn

We are so excited that Heather Cohn has joined our Update team and will be curating our Community Corner.  

Welcome Heather! 

  • LIT's "Meet the Candidates" Forum on March 12
    On March 12th at 7:00pm, members of the Indie Theatre community will have the opportunity to meet and hear from the NYC candidates running for office this year. Candidates will discuss their performing arts platforms and then take questions. Location: the Players, 16 Gramercy Park South  
  • Sad news from our friends at Horse Trade
    Horse Trade recently announced the sad news that after 15 years, they will no longer be operating out of The Red Room on East 4th Street. However, to celebrate the good times they've had there, they are holding a ton of events (ticketed and free) the entire month of March. Check out the list
  • New theatre venue has opened up in Long Island City
    The Chain Theatre is a brand new 65-seat flexible space in LIC, which is available for the non-profit rate of $1750/week.  They also have a large rehearsal space that's going for $15/hr.  Check it out at chain-theatre.org     
  • Next DISH Meeting scheduled for March 10
    If you aren't already a member of the Community DISH, you should be! The DISH, which meets approx. 6 times a year, is a forum to discuss Indie theatre. The DISH also runs a listserv where you can seek resources, post audition notices, seek advice, etc.  To subscribe email OOBComm-subscribe@yahoo.com     
  • Art Space in the Hudson Rail Yards
    Are you a non-profit organization that rents or owns an art/theatre space in zip codes 10018 or 10036? If so, Community Board 4 NEEDS to hear from you. Space may be available on the ground floor of this new community complex in Hell's Kitchen.
  • World Theatre Day - March 27 
    Become a member of the NYC World Theatre Day Coalition, celebrate theatre & participate in some global theatre activities. Sign up here...   
  • National Arts Advocacy 
    Save-the-Date, April 8-9, 2013 - Learn More... 

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.  

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




Michelle T. Johnson is an accomplished playwright from Kansas City, MO who is producing for the first time in NYC.

Sheer joy + raw theatre ambitious = panic attack

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Theatre Co.
by Christopher Borg

WorkShop Theatre's
Lighting from Heaven
WorkShop Theatre Company has maintained a high profile in the New York indie theatre scene for several years, with a long list of IT Award Nominees and Recipients:

In 2010, Elyse Mirto was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for Next year in Jerusalem.

In 2011, their production of The Navigator took home IT Awards for Outstanding Director  (Leslie Kincaid Burby) and Lighting Design (Duane Pagano) and nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role (Nicole Taylor), Actress in a Lead Role (Kelly Anne Burns), Set Design (Duane Pagano) Sound Design (Quentin Chiappetta), Full-Length Script (Eddie Antar) and Outstanding Production of a Play.  In addition, Jeff Paul was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role for their production of Interchange.

And in 2012 they received nominations for Outstanding Solo Performance (Greg Oliver Bodine) and Lighting Design (Richard Kent Green)  and Outstanding Revival of a Play for Poe, Times Two.  That same year The Navigator  received two Drama Desk nominations, for Best Leading Actor (James Franchini) and Best Sound Design (Quentin Chiappetta/mediaNoise).

The roots of the company date back to 1994 when Sam Schacht, Michelle Bouchard and James DeMarse gathered an informal collective of theater artists to read new plays. Meetings lead to productions of projects created by their company of artists as well as established playwrights. They formed a Board of Directors in 1997 (advised by Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Israel Horovitz and Joy Behar, no less) and refined the process through which they developed projects.  In 2002, the company moved into their home in what is now known as "The Theater Building" on 36th Street, housing two performance spaces, pioneering the Off-Off Broadway scene in the Garment District and taking the name WorkShop Theater Company.

WorkShop's mission to cultivate and develop new works has lead to a long list of successful productions and critical acclaim.  At the same time, they have provided a creative home for a diverse group of over 170 professional playwrights, actors and directors who are given tools of a robust development process to help bring their works to life.  Along the way, artists enjoy writers' feed-back nights, readings with audience response, staged readings, short runs and fully-staged productions.

Today, plays developed at WorkShop are produced nationally and internationally. In 2004, the film "Finding Neverland", based on Allan Knee's play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan" (produced in WorkShop's earlier incarnation in 1998), earned two WorkShop members Oscar nominations!

Currently at WorkShop, audiences have several productions to choose from:

Currently playing through March 9th on the WorkShop's Main Stage is Lighting from Heaven by Scott Sickles, about the poet Boris Pasternak and his muse, Olga Ivinskaya, the woman who was the inspiration for the character Lara in the novel (and the film) "Dr. Zhivago" and their conflict with the government that tried to suppress their story.

Simultaneously, they are producing the family musical My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life based on the acclaimed Simon & Schuster picture book by Kate Feiffer, following the pain of young Emma who's mother is a supreme embarrassment and performed by a cast that includes about a dozen Broadway performers and features a score by an Emmy award winning music team.

And in their smaller Jewel Box Theatre, their current Staged Readings series features Daughters of the Sexual Revolution by Dana Leslie Goldstein and directed by Stefanie Sertich in a weekend beginning February 28, 3013.

For more information about these productions and for more information about WorkShop, check out their website.



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