The New York Innovative Theatre (NYIT) Awards were presented last night at a semi-star-studded event. It was my first time attending the awards and I was quite impressed with the sheer size and grandness of the show. When you think “Off-Off-Broadway” you think theaters that seat fewer than 100, presenting plays with extremely low budgets, so being at FIT’s huge Haft Auditorium – filled almost to capacity – was quite a change.
Production numbers, big-screen video feeds, and beautiful dresses lit up the stage. Julie Halston was the funniest awards show host I’ve seen in some time – which isn’t saying much, actually, so I’ll put it this way: Julie Halston was seriously funny. (Photo credit: Marc Goldberg for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards)
“Off-Off-Broadway” isn’t the best-defined term in the world. You can draw the line between Off- and Off-Off- based on theater size, budget, or other factors. It would be nice to see a list of every production that NYIT considered eligible. I wouldn’t want to be the person tasked with maintaining such a list, though. The NYC small-theater scene is big and seems to sprawl everywhere. The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, for example – which received a Stewardship Award, presented by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – serves almost 400 theater companies, more than half of which count as Off-Off-Broadway. But in any case, judging from the energy and attendance at the awards show last night, the scene is clearly thriving.
Here is the complete list of nominees and winners.