By Marcina Zaccaria




On Monday, September 22nd,, the 2014 Innovative Theater Awards honored some of Off-Off Broadway theater’s finest.

Unknown-6Unknown-1The Awards began 10 years ago, and they recognize the writers, actors, directors, choreographers, and designers working in Off-Off Broadway theaters. The Awards are produced by the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. The NYIT Foundation honors “artistic heritage,” providing “a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community.”

This year’s awards were held at Mason Hall in the Baruch Performing Arts Center, located at 17 Lexington Avenue. The host of the show was Jason Kravits, who starred as ADA Richard Bay on the Emmy Award winning show, The Practice. In his opening monologue, he mentioned the popular Off-Off Broadway venues where the work was performed, including La MaMa ETC, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and The Brick Theater.

Unknown-2Unknown-3The evening began with performing artists in bright bustiers and colorful jumpsuits dancing to the song, “Downtown,” choreographed by Rachel Stern, director of Around the World in 80 Days. The show continued with heartfelt speeches from indie theater artists. Presenters for the evening included Mariah MacCarthy, Craig Lucas, Andre De Shields, Andy Lang, and Jim Rado were among some of the artists who presented awards. Some of the presenters have been involved in the Off-Off Broadway scene for more than 50 years.


UnknownAmong the winners announced in advance were Kevin R. Free, who won the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. Free said that he was taught to write by the NeoFuturists, and he considers danger and safety in writing. The Artistic Achievement Award Recipient went to RadioTheatre’s Dan Bianchi, who is celebrating his 10 years with the company. A video presentation showed Bianchi’s work.

The Ellen Stewart Award went to Woodie King, Jr., who founded the New Federal Theatre. King, Jr. has been creating theater for over 45 years. The Caffé Cino Fellowship Award went to Blessed Unrest, a theater company known to produce “dynamic, disciplined, and exuberant new works for the stage.”

Other winners announced at the event include:

Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role

Jenny Seastone, The Gin Baby, Mermaid Sands Productions and Kid Brooklyn Productions

Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role

Noel Joseph Allain, Luft Gangster, Nylon Fusion Theatre Company

Outstanding Original Music

Scott Munson, Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC

Outstanding Solo Performance

Sandy Moore, The Simple Stories, WorkShop Theater Company

Outstanding Original Short Script

Lenore Wolf, April March, Fragments from an Unintegrated Life from East Side Stories: Movers, Metropolitan Playhouse

Outstanding Original Full-length Script

David Stallings, Dark Water, MTWorks

Outstanding Innovative Design

Nicole Hill For Puppet Design, Mute, New York Neo-Futurists

Outstanding Costume Design Presented by TDF Costume Collection

Gail Cooper-Hecht, The Importance of Being Earnest, Take Wing and Soar Productions, Inc.

Outstanding Set Design

Travis McHale, Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Ground Up Productions

Outstanding Lighting Design

Kia Rogers, Jane the Plain, Flux Theatre Ensemble

Outstanding Sound Design

Christian Frederickson, The Awake, kef theatrical productions

Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role

Jason O’Connell, Don Juan in Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role

Heather E. Cunningham, An Appeal to the Woman of the House, Retro Production 

Outstanding Ensemble

At First Sight (and Other Stories),Broken Box Mime Theater

Outstanding Choreography/ Movement

Carlos Neto, Gymnos: A Geek’s Tragedy, Ticket 2 Eternity Productions

Outstanding Director

DeLisa M. White

Lights Narrow, Teatro Oscuro

Outstanding Performance Art Production

The God Projekt, La MaMa in association with Lone Wolf Tribe

Outstanding Production of a Musical

Allegro, Astoria Performing Arts Center

Outstanding Revival of a Play

Don Juan in Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play

Pirira, Theatre 16

Each year, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation recognizes “the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York theatre experience.”

To learn more about the IT Awards, please feel free to visit their website at www.nyitawards.com.