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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – Caffe Cino

The Birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway


“It’s Magic Time!” That colorful promise began each performance at the Caffe Cino, the storied Greenwich Village coffeehouse that fostered the gay and alternative theatre movements of the 1960s and launched the careers of such stage mainstays as Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, Robert Heide, Harry Koutoukas, Robert Patrick, Robert Dahdah, Helen Hanft, Al Pacino, and Bernadette Peters. As Off-Off-Broadway productions enjoy a deserved resurgence, theatre historian and actor Wendell C. Stone reopens the Cino’s doors in this vibrant look at the earliest days of OOB.

Rife with insider interviews and rich with evocative photographs, Caffe Cino: The Birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway provides the first detailed account of Joe Cino’s iconic café theatre and its influence on American theatre. A hub of artistic innovation and haven for bohemians, beats, hippies, and gays, the café gave a much-sought outlet to voices otherwise shunned by mainstream entertainment. The Cino’s square stage measured only eight feet, but the dynamic ideas that emerged there spawned the numerous alternative theatre spaces that owe their origins to the risky enterprise on Cornelia Street.

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Excerpt from the Introduction

Caffe Cino, 31 Cornelia Street, NYC

Joe Cino (L.) and Edward Albee at a benefit for the Caffe Cino after a fire, 1965, Photo: James D. Gossage.

For more information about Caffe Cino go here!

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Comedy Dance Music Performing Arts Photography Story Teller Theatre 80 St. Marks Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview – Karen Jenson interviews Lorcan Otway @ Theatre 80 St. Marks

2015.08.22_Otway-40Theatre 80 St. Marks Place – Karen Jenson and I visited Lorcan Otway at his historical theater.

2015.08.22_Otway-4880 St. Marks Place was The Jazz Gallery until 1964 when Howard Otway took over. Beginning during Prohibition, 80 Saint Marks Place was a vital destination for performers of all kinds. Jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, Harry “Sweets” Edison, John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra performed here before Theatre 80 was established in the former nightclub.

Lorcan Otway talking at the <a href=Lorcan Otway talking to visitors at the American Gangster Museum. (upstairs from the theatre)

Lorcan shows Karen the remnants of the Jazz Gallery dressing room.Here Lorcan shows Karen and I the jazz albums that decorated the walls in the dressing room when the theater was The Jazz Gallery. (backstage at the theatre)

During our time with Lorcan he talked about his mother and father who were responsible for creating the theater and keeping it working for so many years. His father Howard was an actor and decided it was important to offer a venue for new and exciting work.

Lorcan has established a Not-for-Profit in memory of them.


Howard Otway and Florence Otway Opportunity Project

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He talks with Karen about the theatre’s history and the Opportunity Project.

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“The Jewel of the Off Broadway Theatres” – Clive Barnes, Theater Critic