It’s not like I don’t get all excited at Tony Awards time, seeing whose careers will be validated and uplifted by overdue recognition. But I’m frankly more fascinated with the Obies and various regional arts awards which honor those for whom Broadway isn’t necessarily the be-all end-all career goal.
The New York Innovative Theatre Awards, dedicated to acknowledging the high standards of Off-Off Broadway, announced its Honorary Awards for 2013. I dig honorary awards; they’re not competitive in the sense of nominations and sports-mentality horserace-calling. They’ve just given to folks who deserve them. The IT Awards has a whole other slate of awards which is nomination-based (in several categories pitting Shakespeare against 20th century standards against modern works); that list is here.
These are those to be honored by Honorary Awards:
• Richard Foreman.
• The Dramatists Guild Fund
• terraNOVA Collective
Foreman, the eternal maverick Ontological-Hysteric artiste, deserves every award he’s ever been up for. His range extends well beyond small dimly lit spaces above churches. He was, for instance, entrusted with Suzan-Lori Parks’ play Venus when that playwright was on the cusp of major glory, in a production which played the Yale Repertory Theatre before moving on to New York’s Public Theatre. Foreman’s getting the IT’s Artistic Achievement Award.
The Dramatists Guild Fund funds non-profit theaters doing plays by American playwrights, and has extended its mission in the last five years or so due to its reclassification as a 501c3 charity. The DGF gets the IT’s Ellen Stewart Award, named for the provocative leader of LaMama.
terraNOVA collective gets the Innovative Theatre Awards’ 2013 Caffe Cino Fellowship Award. In this case, fellowship means “consistently produces outstanding work,” and the award comes with cash to help produce more. terraNOVA, founded by former Abbey Theatre artistic director Ray Yeates, develops new works through multiple strategies, from readings to workshops to festivals.
The Ninth Annual IT Awards Ceremony happens 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in New York City, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center’s Mason Hall (corner of 23rd Street and Lexington). That website again: http://www.nyitawards.com/