They shaped the indie theater landscape

2012’s most innovative 15

BY MARTIN DENTON & MICHAEL CRISCUOLO  (of, and   |  It’s that time of year again, when celebrates a group of individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to the NYC indie theater landscape. This is the ninth consecutive year that we’ve recognized a group of theater artists in this manner, and we couldn’t be happier to introduce these folks to you. The list is based on nominations made by’s staff of contributors, and then selected by the board of our parent company, The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. Information about our prior honorees is available on the nytheatre blog.

Photo by Monica Simoes
David Nash and Anna Stromberg in The Amoralists’ “The Bad and the Better.”

THE AMORALISTS is a theater company co-founded in 2007 by Derek Ahonen, James Kautz and Matthew Pilieci. They specialize in new plays that are gritty, dangerous, unpredictable and morally ambiguous.

One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: Produced resident playwright Derek Ahonen’s sprawling and ambitious theater noir, “The Bad and the Better” — complete with a 26-member cast.

SPENCER ASTE is a veteran character actor of remarkable versatility.

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Delivered another standout performance as one of the denizens of a Dust Bowl town in AXIS Company’s production of Randy Sharp’s “Last Man Club ” — and from December 7-23, Spencer will be appearing in the annual AXIS holiday play “Seven in One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid.”

FRED BACKUS is a multifaceted actor and director, and a veteran of the indie theater scene.

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Directed the world premiere of Pamela Sabaugh’s funny and moving solo show, “Immaculate Degeneration,” at the New York International Fringe Festival.

ZACK CALHOON is a talented actor and playwright, whose blog “Visible Soul” features the popular “People You Should Know” series (in which he interviews up-and-coming writers, directors and actors).

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He wrote “Rino,” a political comedy inspired by Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 1” — which received its world premiere production at The Brick Theater’s Democracy Festival this past summer.

SOL CRESPO is a skilled actor and playwright. She is also the Company Manager of Barefoot Theatre Company and a company member of Pregones Theater.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: Delivered a pair of memorable performances in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s productions of Eric Browne’s “Menders” and in August Schulenberg’s “Deinde.”

ADYANA DE LA TORRE is a proficient actor and director, as well as the Artistic Director of Ticket 2 Eternity Productions.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: During the summer, she produced two plays by Matthew Ethan Davis simultaneously: “Falling Awake” (which she directed), at the Midtown International Theatre Festival and “Ticket 2 Eternity” (which she starred in), at the New York International Fringe Festival.

RICHARD HINOJOSA is an expert playwright and puppeteer and the Artistic Director of Sick Little Productions.

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He wrote “Awkward Levity,” an evening of three dark comic one-act plays (one of which he directed), which world premiered for Sick Little Productions last winter. This month, Richard performs as a puppeteer in Alphabet Arts’ production of “Sweatshirt Man” at The Bushwick Starr.

JOHN HURLEY is a prolific and accomplished director, and the Artistic Director of Impetuous Theater Group.

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Directed a newly re-imagined version of Jules Feiffer’s “Feiffer’s People” for The Brooklyn Comics & Graphic Festival and The Brick Theater.

MARIAH McCARTHY is a savvy, inventive playwright and the Producing Director of Caps Lock Theatre.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: Wrote and produced “The Foreplay Play” (about a potential foursome between a straight couple and a lesbian couple), which was given an intimate, site-specific production inside an actual Brooklyn apartment.

MICHAEL MRAZ is a gifted and ubiquitous actor.

One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He starred in Serious Theatre Collective’s production of “The Apocalypse of John,” which ran at both this year’s New York International Fringe Festival and Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.

KIA ROGERS is an inventive and omnipresent lighting designer, and a creative partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She designed lights for 59E59’s acclaimed production of Paul David Young’s “In the Summer Pavilion.” Kia’s work can be seen in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s production of Adam Szymkowicz’s “Hearts Like Fists,” currently at The Secret Theatre.

terraNOVA Collective is a theater company founded in 1996 and dedicated to supporting playwrights and the development of new works for the stage.

One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: They produced their 9th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival, which showcases the art of solo performance. This year’s edition featured performers Daniel Irizarry, Avery Pearson, Kelly Kinsella, and David Calvitto, among others. Currently, terraNOVA is presenting two nproductions: the world premiere of Robert Askin’s “P.S. Jones and the Frozen City” at the New Ohio Theatre and a return engagement of Adam Szymkowicz’s solo play “UBU” — directed and performed by Daniel Irizarry, at IRT.

ERIN TREADWAY is an accomplished actor and a company member of Loading Dock.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She gave an outstanding performance as the title character in Leegrid Stevens’ play, “Spaceman,” which received its world premiere at Incubator Arts Project in October.

UNITED SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL is the world’s largest solo theatre festival, led by Artistic Director Omar Sangare.

One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: They presented the third installment of their annual festival, which featured performers Bob Brader, Tim Collins, Anita Hollander, Herb Newsome, Antonio Sacre and Elizabeth Claire Taylor among dozens more.

JORDANA WILLIAMS is an imaginative director and a company member of Gideon Productions.

One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She directed the world premieres of Mac Rogers’ epic science fiction trilogy “Advance Man,” “Blast Radius” and “Sovereign” — for Gideon Productions.

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