Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Audience "Energized to the Max" at 2008 IT Awards
by Doric Wilson

"There are two kinds of theatre in this country. Commercial theatre ... and theatre that matters. You make the theatre that matters."Edward Albee at the 2008 New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Monday night (Sept 22, 2008) was the fourth annual IT Awards. This year the New York Innovative Theatre Awards honored the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Caffe Cino, the birth of off-off-Broadway. IT Award founders Jason Bowcutt, Shay Gines, and Nick Micozzi presented another perfect evening.

Lisa Kron, part of the Five Lesbian Brothers for twenty years, was a charming host who even managed to get the playwright Edward Albee to autograph her arm. Blue Man Group offered very funny very loud very unnerving entertainment. They even spooked the people waiting back stage. (Playwright Tina Howe fell in love with their blue eyes!) The presenters represented a wide range of theatrical disciplines, from artistic to technical. The choreography award uniquely includes fight design, and indeed went to a fight coordinator. Don Moses Schreier let his laptop present the award for sound design. Tina Howe (TOSOS guardian angel) presented the Outstanding Script awards and Edward Albee (a long, long time friend) presented the Outstanding Production Award.

Doric Wilson (left) and Edward Albee
photo by Jamie Heinlein

The 2008 Artistic Achievement Award (which I received last year), was given by Olympia Dukakis to OOB pioneer, founder of the Living Theater, and lifelong political activist, Judith Malina. Boomerang Theatre Company deservedly received the 2008 Caffe Cino Fellowship Award. The Stewardship Award went to the mother and son team, Martin Denton and Rochelle Denton of New York Theatre Experience ( In the four years of the IT Awards, I can think of no one who embodies the legacy of the Cino more than Martin and Rochelle.

TOSOS people were all over the place, starting with Award founders Jason (I didn’t mean what I said!), Shay and Nick. Cultist Christopher Borg was in charge of communications, with buffed Desmond Dutcher doing some of the voice-overs, and debonair (Chesley Award winning playwright) Chris Weikel handing out the "envelopes" (Tina Howe remarked as she received hers, "they are real!"). Diminutive David Bishop was busy breaking my heart (among others), while statuesque (Chesley Award winning playwright) Kathleen Warnock gave networking a new depth of meaning. Aging juvenile Leicester Landon caught the eye of at least one celebrity while demure Jamie Heinlein was looking younger than ever.

Steven McElroy and Brett Douglas were there representing monogamy in the outer boroughs, while board members Jonathan Reuning and Ian Marshall (United Stages) stood about looking like the distinguished publishers that they are. Bob Lee (like myself) gave up the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera which is something Jason, Shay and Nick really need to work out. Opera first, then theatre! Last year I considered sneaking out of the ceremony after I received my award to hurry up to Times Square to watch the live broadcast. Prowling panther-like was the TOSOS resident blond, Karen Stanion, looking for a kill. Or a play.

TOSOS people also won and didn’t win awards. Outstanding Production of a Musical went to Yank! with book by David Zellnik, directed by Igor Goldin (both founding members of TOSOS). A love story between two men in World War II, plans are underway to move the musical for a commercial run. You must see it. David Pumo was nominated for his sweet funny play Auntie Mayhem. It was a real disappointment when he didn’t win. No play nominated this year had a larger heart.

The audience was energized to the max and very generous in their outpouring of love and fellowship. The "goodie" bags in our seats included a white frisbee. Bill Irwin caused an avalanche of chaos when near the end of the evening he directed the audience to throw them at the stage on a count of three. For a full list of the winners go to

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