The Caffe Cino(Photo courtesy of Doric Wilson)
The Caffe Cino
(Photo courtesy of Doric Wilson)
Nominations for the three honorary awards among the first annual New York Innovative Theatre Awards ("IT Awards") are now being accepted. The awards were founded to recognize the contributions and achievement of individuals and organizations in the Off-Off-Broadway arena and to honor some of the outstanding work being done each year. They are based on a peer evaluation system that allows Off-Off-Broadway to honor excellence within its own community while providing artists with opportunities to see each other's work.

The three honorary awards are:

The Artistic Achievement Award to an individual who has made a significant artistic contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community

The Stewardship Award to an individual or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support, and leadership

The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award to an Off-Off-Broadway theater company that consistently produces outstanding work. This award includes a $1,000-$5,000 grant to be put toward an Off-Off-Broadway production.

The fellowship is named after the Caffe Cino, a coffee house located on Cornelia Street in New York City's Greenwich Village. Opened by Joe Cino in 1958, the venue produced and developed the work of such diverse playwrights as Tom Eyen, John Guare, Robert Heide, William Hoffman, Harry Koutoukas, Robert Patrick, Sam Shepard, Doric Wilson, and Lanford Wilson. The Cino had a major influence on American theater and was the birthplace of what has become known as Off-Off-Broadway.

The honorary awards are decided by the IT Awards Committee, made up of 19 producers and artists from Off-Off-Broadway and from the New York theater community at large. The committee is co-chaired by Leonard Jacobs (Back Stage) and Jeff Riebe (The January Company). Committee members include the three executive directors for the IT Awards -- Jason Bowcutt, Shay Gines, and Nick Micozzi -- as well as Paul Adams (Emerging Artists Theatre), Dan Bacalzo (TheaterMania), Christopher Borg, Tim Errickson (Bommerang Theatre Co.), Thecla Farrell (Castillo Theatre Co.), Brette Goldstein, Ben Hodges (Theatre World Awards, Inc.), Ron Lasko (Spin Cycle), Blake Lawrence (The Themantics Group), Bob Lee (American Opera Projects), Cathy Nanda (Chashama), Nicky Paraiso (La MaMa E.T.C.), Akia Squiterri (Rising Sun Performance Co.), and Doric Wilson (TOSOS II).

Applications are available online at www.nyitawards.com and must be submitted to the IT Awards committee no later than 5pm on April 28th. In addition to the three honorary awards, the ITs recognize individual achievements through production awards adjudicated by the IT judging pool. The honorary award recipients and the nominees for the production awards will be announced in July; for more information, visit the website www.nyitawards.com.