New York Innovation Theatre Foundation Names 2014 Winners

by Jacob Coakley

On Monday, Sept. 22, the New York Innovation Theatre awards celebrated the best of Off-Off-Broadway and independent theatre in New York—its tenth annual show. On the tech side of thing, Kia Rogers won the NYIT for Outstanding Lighting Design for her work on Jane the Plain at Flux Theatre Ensemble, while  Gail Cooper-Hecht won the award for Outstanding Costuem Design for her work on The Importance of Being Earnest from Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc. The award for Outstanding Set Design went to Travis McHale for Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, from Ground Up Productions, while Outstanding Sound Design went to Christian Frederickson for The Awake from kef theatrical productions. Outstanding Innovative Design went to Nicole Hill for her Puppet Design for Mute from the New York Neo-Futurists. Allegro, from the Astoria Performing Arts Center won Outstanding Production of a Musical and Pirra from Theare 167 earned the Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play.

THE NEW YORK INNOVATION THEATRE FOUNDATION 10TH ANNIVERSARY AWARD CEREMONY

New York, NY: On Monday, September 22, 2014, The Innovative Theatre Foundation, the organization who for the past 10 years has been dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway, announced the 2014 recipients at its annual event. Celebrating ten years and thousands of nominees, the New York Innovative Theatre awards took place at Mason Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 17 Lexington Avenue. Photos are here: http://bit.ly/NYITPhotos14. If you missed the show, you can watch it here: www.nyitawards.com/live

Over the past ten years, the IT Awards has honored over 1,800 individual artists, over 500 productions, and 420 theatre companies; having collected over 50,000 ballots and disseminated more than 7,000 judges. The 2014 Nominees include 133 individual artists, 59 different productions and 56 Off-Off-Broadway theatre companies.

The exciting and always entertaining event was open to the entire community, celebrating the best and the brightest in OOBR/Indie Theater. The opening number was created and choreographed by Rachel Klein (Around the World in 80 Days and The Anthem), Musical Arrangement by Mike Lunoe (The Anthem; Percussionist for the 2014 Tony Awards), starring on vocals: Broadway's Ashley Kate Adams (La Cage Aux Folles), American Idol's Ashanti J'Aria (Saturday Night Fever on Broadway), Erik J. Ransom (My Big Gay Italian Wedding); and starring as dancers: Jennifer Harder (Innovative Theater Awards winner of Outstanding Actress in a Play), Danielle Marie Fusco (Martha Graham Dance Company), Patch David (Paper Mill's Thoroughly Modern Millie), Aurora Black (The Prima Ballerina of Burlesque), Joey Kipp (Damn Yankees National Tour; Seán Curran Company), Avery Royal (42nd Street National Tour), Nobuya Nagahama (Hip-Hop, Pop in Lock, Voguer and Break Dancer from Tokyo), Marcela Corbellini (Brazilian Ballroom and Salsa Dancer and aerialist), Katie Lee Hill (The Anthem), Stephanie Noble (Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance), Robyn Nielsen (The Rachel Klein Theater Ensemble), Michael Porsche (The Rachel Klein Theater Ensemble).

Host was Jason Kravits (ADA Richard Bay on ABC's Emmy Award Winning Drama "The Practice”), presenters including luminaries from the theatre community: Tracee Chimo (Lucille Lortel Award recipient for Bad Jews and currently on Orange is the New Black); Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical, Legally Blonde: The Musical, Heathers: The Musical); Mariah MacCarthy (Executive Artistic Director of Caps Lock Theatre and 2013 recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award); Craig Lucas (Award winning playwright of Prelude to a Kiss, Blue Window; The Light in the Piazza among many others); Andre De Shields (Actor, Director and Choreographer best known for his work in The Full Monty, Play On!, Ain't Misbehavin' and The Wiz); Paul Kieve (Harry Potter Films); Stephen Cabral (Director of TDF's Costume Collection); Jen Schriever (Award winning lighting designer who has worked with MET Opera, Center Stage and the Public); Andy Lang (Sound Designer and Composer who works with the QLab team); Jim Rado (Actor and Composer, Co-Author the rock musical Hair); Elizabeth A. Davis (Tony nominated actress for Once and recipient of the 2011 NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role); Terry Schreiber(Award winning director and founder of the T. Schreiber Studio); Jennifer Conley Darling (Producing Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective); Robert Gore (member of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Honorary Awards Committee); Marshall Mason (one of the original Off-Off-Broadway directors and Founding Artistic Director of Circle Repertory Company); Omar Sangare (United Solo Theatre Festival); Tim McMath (scenic designer); Arthur Aviles (choreographer); Meghan Finn (director); Dan Markley (New York Musical Theatre Festival) ..and more...

Special awards were presented in the following categories:

Artistic Achievement Award Recipient: Dan Bianchi (RadioTheatre)

Ellen Stewart Award: Woodie King, Jr. (New Federal Theatre)

Caffé Cino Fellowship Award: Blessed Unrest

Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award: Kevin R. Free (The Fantasticks)

Outstanding Stage Manager: Haejin Han (Don Juan in Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble)

2014 ** Recipients ** (includes Nominees in each category):

Outstanding Ensemble:
** At First Sight (and Other Stories), Broken Box Mime Theater: Becky Baumwoll, Dinah Berkeley, Seikai Ishizuka, David Jenkins, Meera Kumbhani, Tasha Milkman, Marissa Molnar, Dan Reckart, Joe Tuttle, Leah Wagner **
As You Like It, Happy Few Theatre Company: Ellen Adair, Nat Cassidy, Eric Gilde, Patrick Mulryan, Anna O'Donoghue, Christopher Seiler, Alexander Sovronsky
The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill Vol 2, New York Neo-Futurists: Cecil Baldwin, Christopher Borg, Roberta Colindrez, Cara Francis, Dylan Marron, Martina Potratz
Magic Bullets, Buran Theatre Company: Caitlin Bebb, Abigail Blueher, Donna Jewell, Jud Knudsen, Catrin Lloyd-Bollard, Erin Mallon, Michael McKim Karp, Kate Schroeder, Mari Yamamoto
Old Familiar Faces, Tin Drum Productions: Tandy Cronyn, Marianne Miller, James Patrick Nelson, Sam Tsoutsouvas
Pirira, Theatre 167: Adrian Baidoo, J.Stephen Brantley, Todd Flaherty, Flor De Liz Perez

Outstanding Solo Performance:
** Sandy Moore: The Simple Stories, WorkShop Theater Company **
Adam Boncz: Fatelessness, SceneHouse Productions and Gia Forakis & Company
J. Stephen Brantley: Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation, Hard Sparks
Aizzah Fatima: Dirty Paki Lingerie, Aizzah Fatima
Kim Katzberg: Darkling, Eat a Radish Productions in association with IRT Theater
Nora Woolley: Hip, Nora Woolley
Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role:
** Noel Joseph Allain: Luft Gangster, Nylon Fusion Collective **
Joshua Levine: Wild, Sanguine Theatre Company
Brendan McDonough: Beckett in Benghazi, Less Than Rent Theatre in association with Horse Trade Theater Group
Tony Naumovski: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC
Lyonel Reneau: Wild, Sanguine Theatre Company
Dwayne Washington: Rent, The Gallery Players

Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role:
** Jenny Seastone: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions and Mermaid Sands Productions **
Milee Bang: My Father's Ashes, Original Binding Productions
Manna Nichols: Allegro, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Diana Oh: Frankenstein Upstairs, Gideon Productions
Alyssa Simon: Within Arm's Reach, Going to Tahiti Productions
Jenne Vath: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC

Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role:
** Jason O'Connell: Don Juan In Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble **
Goran Ivanovski: The Lonesome West, Mark Forlenza Productions
James Patrick Nelson: Old Familiar Faces, Tin Drum Productions
Tom Pavey: The Lonesome West, Mark Forlenza Productions
Brian Silliman: Dark Water, Manhattan Theatre Works (MTWorks)
J. Stephen Brantley: Pirira, Theatre 167

Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role:
** Heather E. Cunningham: An Appeal to the Woman of the House, Retro Productions **
Debra Ann Byrd: The Importance of Being Earnest, Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc.
Tandy Cronyn: Old Familiar Faces, Tin Drum Productions
Christina Pumariega: Sousepaw: 'A Baseball Story', Shelby Company
Lesley Shires: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions
Hannah Sloat: The Glory of Living, Revolve Productions

Outstanding Choreography/Movement:
** Carlos Neto: Gymnos: A Geek's Tragedy, Ticket 2 Eternity Productions **
Jim Cooney & Greg Zane: Nothing But Trash, Theater For The New City
Thiago Felix: Infinite While it Lasts, Group .BR
Grasshopper Mitch: David's RedHaired Death, One Old Crow Productions
David Norwood & Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj: Salome: Da Voodoo Princess of Nawlins, Rebel Theater
Christine O'Grady: Allegro, Astoria Performing Arts Center

Outstanding Director:
** DeLisa M. White: Lights Narrow, Teatro Oscuro **
Kevin Augustine & Edward Einhorn: The God Projekt, La MaMa in association with Lone Wolf Tribe
Karen Case Cook: Don Juan In Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
Tyrus Holden: The Pregnancy of Angela Freak, AqUa MeRcUrY Creations
Kelly O'Donnell: Jane the Plain, Flux Theatre Ensemble
Tazewell Thompson: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC

Outstanding Lighting Design:
** Kia Rogers: Jane the Plain, Flux Theatre Ensemble **
Joshua Benghiat: Pirira, Theatre 167
Joan Racho-Jansen: The Lonesome West, Mark Forlenza Productions
Evan Roby: The Cottage, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Kia Rogers: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions and Mermaid Sands Productions
Alexandra Mannix: Within Arm's Reach, Going to Tahiti Productions

Outstanding Costume Design:
** Gail Cooper-Hecht: The Importance of Being Earnest, Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc. **
Sidney Fortner: A Man's World, Metropolitan Playhouse
Amanda Jenks: Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Ground Up Productions
Thomas Kleinert: The Pregnancy of Angela Freak, AqUa MeRcUrY Creations
Ryan Moller: The Cottage, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Carrie Robbins: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC

Outstanding Set Design:
** Travis McHale: Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Ground Up Productions **
Stephen Karoly Dobay: The Cottage, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Donald Eastman: The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions
Brandon McNeel: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC
Jacques Roy: And to the Republic, The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project
Tsubasa Kamaei & Jennifer Stimple Kamei: Don Juan In Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

Outstanding Sound Design:
** Christian Frederickson: The Awake, kef theatrical productions **
Janie Bullard: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions and Mermaid Sands Productions
Janie Bullard: Jane the Plain, Flux Theatre Ensemble
Janie Bullard: Pirira, Theatre 167
Christopher Loar: Mute, New York Neo-Futurists
Tim Schellenbaum & Alice Tolan-Mee: The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions

Outstanding Innovative Design:
** Nicole Hill: For Puppet Design: Mute, New York Neo-Futurists **
Gyda Arber, Brian Fountain, David Gochfeld, and Allen Hahn: For Phone & Text Design: FutureMate, Brick Theater
Laia Cabrera, Isabelle Duverger, and Ildiko Nemeth: For Video Design: Cosmicomics, The New Stage Theatre Company
Kaitlyn Pietras: For Projection Design: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions and Mermaid Sands Productions
Matt Reeves: For Projection Design: And to the Republic, The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project
Jane Catherine Shaw & Theodora Skipitares: For Puppet Design: The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions

Outstanding Original Music:
** Scott Munson: Sawbones & the Diamond Eater, Days of the Giants LLC **
Scott Allen Klopfenstein: Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Ground Up Productions
Jennifer Makholm & Ian Wehrle: Relent, an Indie Musical, WorkShop Theater Company
Ellen Mandel: Don Juan In Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
Alexander Sovronsky: As You Like It, Happy Few Theatre Company
Alla Zagaykevych: Fire Water Night, Yara Arts Group in Association with LaMaMa

Outstanding Original Short Script:
** Lenore Wolf: April March, Fragments from an Unintegrated Life from East Side Stories: Movers, Metropolitan Playhouse **
J. Stephen Brantley: Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation, Hard Sparks
Kate Gersten: First Love from The Spring Fling, F*It Club
Kate Kertez: Dumbo from Brooklyn Labyrinth, Oracle Theatre Inc
Mark Loewenstern: One is the Road fromSuper Shorts 2013, WorkShop Theater Company
Nora Woolley: Hip, Nora Woolley

Outstanding Original Full-length Script:
** David Stallings: Dark Water, Manhattan Theatre Works (MTWorks) **
Nat Cassidy: Old Familiar Faces, Tin Drum Productions
Vincent Marano: Lights Narrow, Teatro Oscuro
Christie Perfetti Williams: An Appeal to the Woman of the House, Retro Productions
Sarah Shaefer: The Gin Baby, Kid Brooklyn Productions and Mermaid Sands Productions
J.Stephen Brantley: Pirira, Theatre 167
Outstanding Performance Art Production:
** The God Projekt, La MaMa in association with Lone Wolf Tribe **
At First Sight (and Other Stories), Broken Box Mime Theater
FutureMate, Brick Theater
Magic Bullets, Buran Theatre Company
The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions
The Maiden, The Nerve Tank

Outstanding Production of a Musical:
** Allegro, Astoria Performing Arts Center **
A Little Night Music, The Gallery Players
Candide - The Musical, Theater 2020
Fire Water Night, Yara Arts Group in Association with LaMaMa
Life on the Mississippi: A New Musical Play, WorkShop Theater Company
The Pregnancy of Angela Freak, AqUa MeRcUrY Creations

Outstanding Premiere Production of A Play:
** Pirira, Theatre 167 **
An Appeal to the Woman of the House, Retro Productions
Dark Water, Manhattan Theatre Works (MTWorks)
Frankenstein Upstairs, Gideon Productions
Lights Narrow, Teatro Oscuro
The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill Vol 2, New York Neo-Futurists

Outstanding Revival of A Play:
** Don Juan In Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble **
A Man's World, Metropolitan Playhouse
As You Like It, Happy Few Theatre Company
Julius Caesar, Smith Street Stage
R+J: Star-Cross'd Death Match, Three Day Hangover
Wild, Sanguine Theatre Company

The Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and 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. www.nyitawards.com.

Each New York Innovative Theatre Award weighs 4.5lbs and is made of black anodized aluminum. They are custom made each year by Kyden Machine Inc.

Sponsors: Kampfire Films PR www.kampfirefilmspr.com; United Stages www.unitedstages.com; Kyden Machine Inc. www.kydeninc.com; Theatre Development Fund (TDF) www.tdf.org; Drew & Rogers Promotions, Live X, Smarttix, The Stand Box

With support from: NYSCA, Starr Associates & Donn Russell