NYTE Small Press Is Relaunching

Indie Theater Now has its roots in NYTE Small Press, the publishing arm of our parent nonprofit that began in 2000. Back then, the only way to get a play script out into the world was to put it inside an actual (as opposed to virtual) book. In April 1999, after I saw Garth Wingfield’s terrific play Are We There Yet? at the now-long-gone Synchronicity Space in SoHo, I said to Rochelle something like, “Somebody ought to publish that play. Because it was really good, and yet after its 16 performance showcase run is over, it is probably going to be forgotten about.”

A few months later, Rochelle and I decided that NYTE would be that somebody…that we would publish Garth’s play. We decided to create an anthology of work from the NYC indie theater world, and along with Are We There Yet? we published new innovative works by Kirk Wood Bromley, Lynn Marie Macy, Edmund De Santis, Robert Simonson, Gary Rudoren & David Summers, David Dannenfelser, and C.J. Hopkins. We called the anthology Plays and Playwrights for the New Millennium. At the launch party for the book, at the Present Company Theatorium in January 2000, John Clancy said it legitimized the new indie theater movement by giving it physical rather than ephemeral form–which was exactly what we were going for.

Several of the plays in PPNM got productions outside of NYC within a year or so of the book’s publication: Kirk got one in San Francisco, Robert got one in Boston, Garth got one in London, C.J. got one in Philadelphia. And more followed. These playwrights were paid royalties for their work, for the first times in their careers.

So…we were on to something.

Eleven more Plays and Playwrights anthologies followed, one each year through 2011. We also created an anthology of new plays inspired by classic literature (Playing with Canons), another featuring works by Mario Fratti (Unexpected Plays), and most recently, two volumes of new work from Rising Phoenix Theatre entitled Cino Nights.

In 2010 we started moving some of the out-of-print anthologies to the Kindle and Nook stores online. (Plays and Playwrights for the New Millennium is only available as an ebook, sans the Hopkins play but with a bunch of new bonus material by the other playwrights.)

And then came the realization that, instead of spending literally thousands of dollars each year to highlight the work of eight to ten playwrights in a print anthology, we could take that money and bring hundreds of new plays online in digital format. And Indie Theater Now was born.

We are enormously proud of the Plays and Playwrights books.  They’re recognized by the U.S. Library of Congress as a bona fide series; they’re in libraries around the world and have been used as texts in colleges and universities. They helped to launch the careers of many noteworthy indie playwrights, representing first publication for  folks like Qui Nguyen, Ken Urban, Crystal Skillman, Kelly McAllister, Kevin Doyle, Josh Fox, James Comtois, Daniel Talbott, Mac Rogers, Randy Sharp, Ellen Maddow, Nat Cassidy, Amy E. Witting, Taylor Mac, and dozens of others.

For years, Amazon was the primary distribution channel for our print books. Unfortunately, earlier this year Amazon raised the participation fee to $99/year — which is a lot of money when you sell only a few books per month, as we do. So we’ve moved our print books off of Amazon and we are now selling them on the new and improved and relaunched NYTE Small Press website. All of the volumes that are still in print — 10 titles in all– are available here at a discounted price, and shipping is free. I hope you’ll check the new website out!

You’ll also find links to our ebooks which include, in addition to the anthologies, Terry Schreiber’s theater memoir Producing on a Short Shoelace.

I’ll have some more news about NYTE Small Press in the near future!