Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Year-End Message about and NYTE

Today, I share some thoughts about the first 10 years of The New York Theatre Experience, Inc...

25 years ago, New York theatre pretty much meant Manhattan theatre. Today, there are thriving epicenters of theatrical activity in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City, downtown Brooklyn, Astoria, the Bronx and other spots in what we used to call the “outer boroughs.”

Back then, you could tell someone you were going to see a play or a musical and they’d have a pretty good idea of what you were talking about. In 2009, the lines between those traditional forms have blurred, and new and re-imagined genres like performance art, multimedia, burlesque, improv, dance, physical theater, puppetry, mask, vaudeville, and even opera can all coalesce within a single production. Home-grown companies intermix with artists from all over the world, and theatre created from every conceivable point-of-view finds its way to the stage here in the Big Apple.

This is why I love living where I live and doing what I do. But it’s also why our mission here at The New York Theatre Experience, Inc., becomes more challenging every year. When we launched NYTE as a nonprofit corporation ten years ago, our vision was pretty straightforward: to help theatergoers navigate the NYC theatre scene via our website,

Since then, we’ve expanded the scope of our mission. Today, NYTE is committed to using new and traditional media to highlight, nurture, promote, and advance the work of thousands of indie/nonprofit theatre practitioners who make groundbreaking and foundational art in New York City. We do this by giving thousands of artists free space to list and explain their work on and our other websites and on our nytheatrecast podcast series. We do this by reviewing more productions than any other media outlet every year—917 so far in 2009. And we do this by providing the first publication for worthy emerging and/or unheralded playwrights—144 of them in our first ten years.

As the community we serve keeps growing and morphing in unpredictable ways, so too has our bailiwick. The world of 2010 is a world of e-books and Kindles, iPhones and Droids. Our #1 focus is to keep providing our community of readers and listeners with the content they need to stay on top of the NYC theatre scene, to know what’s playing, what’s coming, what’s hot, what’s cool; all of the who-what-where-when-why-and-how details, in a format and style that’s easy to deal with and fun to engage with. I will be writing in detail about our plans in upcoming blog posts, right here on the nytheatre i.

Meanwhile, today I ask you to help us make this happen. There are two important actions you can take. And please know that both are very very important.

First, please make a contribution to NYTE. This year we were recognized by Microsoft Corporation with a $5,000 grant for our “promotion of the work of hundreds of nonprofit theatre companies to an audience of 3 million people annually, and all at no cost to the nonprofit theatres themselves.” This extraordinary gift has helped us lay the groundwork for the complicated yet exciting new-tech goodies we are building to make sure we can keep achieving our mission. Your gift of $5, $25, $50 will enable us to enter the world of ebook publishing in 2010, and thereby to bring the works of even more gifted playwrights to a broad, deep, diverse audience. Your gift of $10, $35, $75 will allow us to continue development, testing, and implementation of new features on our websites and a whole new kind of theatre information resource designed for mobile devices like the iPhone.

Any amount—one dollar or one hundred dollars or anything in between—will be greatly appreciated and is in fact essential to make sure we can continue to provide and grow the services we’ve built during our first ten years. NYTE is a nonprofit corporation, and so your donation is tax-deductible in accordance with federal and state laws. You can use your credit card or you can send a check to:

The New York Theatre Experience, Inc.
P.O. Box 1606
Murray Hill Station
New York, NY 10156

If you have already recently made a contribution, thank you very much!

The second action you can take is to stay in touch with us. Your show listings and company updates help make interesting and comprehensive. Your opinions, ideas, and feedback keep us on track. Post your comments anytime, right here on the nytheatre i. And email me your thoughts about, NYTE’s publication program, and what we can do to make them more responsive to your needs as a theatre-maker and/or theatre-goer.

I am lucky to be able to work in a field that is so rich and rewarding, and to do that work for people who care deeply about our common culture, our values, and our future. So thank you for reading this, and thank you for being an active part of NYTE’s community, and supporting us.

Here's to a successful, peaceful, and beautiful 2010!

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