Ralph Cook, Founder of Theater Genesis, a Father of Off-Off Broadway, Dies at 85
The New York Times writes that Ralph Cook, founder of Theater Genesis and one of the pioneers of the off-off Broadway movement, died on September 23, 2013 of Alzheimer's disease. He was 85.
"Here, now, in Lower Manhattan, the phenomenon is taking place; the beginning, the genesis of a cultural revolution," Cook wrote in the early '60s, talking about the artists and work that surrounded him.
Read the original report here.
Theater Genesis launched in 1964 with two one-act plays -- Cowboys and The Rock Garden -- both by a then-unknown, 20-year-old Sam Shepard. The theater began at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, and alongside Caffe Cino, Judson Poets Theater, La MaMa and more, it helped create the foundation of what we know today as the off-off Broadway scene.
After Sam Shepard, Theater Genesis fostered writers such as Leonard Melfi, Murray Mednick and Tony Barsha. After Cook left in 1969, playwrights ran Theater Genesis until 1978, when the theater at St. Marks began hosting the Ontological-Hysteric Theater. Incubator Arts Project now creates in the space.
Cook is survived by his wife, Patricia Larsen, his two sons, Randall and Paul, and seven grandchildren.
Pictured: St. Marks Church