University of Washington School of Drama's CINO NIGHTS Revives the Early Days of Off -Off Broadway in Seattle's U-District

For three nights in March, a former medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle's University District will transform into a makeshift theatre café. Inspired by Joe Cino's legendary Greenwich Village performance space, Caffé Cino, the space will house performances of six short plays from the early days of Off Off Broadway.

Guest artist Daniel Talbott, Artistic Director of New York's Rising Phoenix Rep, will direct the project, as well as three of the plays. The other plays will be directed by Rising Phoenix Artistic Associate Addie Johnson, third-year MFA director Sean Ryan, and UW Drama alumna Bobbin Ramsey. The Acting Company is comprised of members of UW Drama's Professional Actor Training Program. Each play will be rehearsed for just one week and presented only once, and for free.

"All you really need to create theatre is action, space, courage, a play, heart, and someone to show it to or share it with," says Talbott, who rebirthed Caffé Cino in 2010 by commissioning 24 playwrights to write new, full-length plays for the back room space at Jimmy's No. 43 in New York's East Village. Those plays have now been collected into two volumes, Cino Nights and Cino Nights II, published by New York Theatre Experience.

For the UW version of Cino Nights, plays have been selected from those performed at Caffé Cino and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, another originator of Off Off Broadway. The plays are: Lanford Wilson's The Madness of Lady Bright, William Hoffman's Goodnight, I Love You, Megan Terry's Comings and Goings, Maria Irene Fornes' A Vietnamese Wedding, Robert Patrick's The Richest Girl in the World Finds Happiness, and Adrienne Kennedy's A Rat's Mass. For the full schedule, see below.

School of Drama Executive Director Todd London says, "Theatre can get made slowly, or it can get made quickly. Fast theatre-down and dirty-requires artists to bring all their talent to bear instinctively, muscularly. That kind of leap-before-you-look energy was the spirit of Off Off Broadway in its beginnings. That's the spirit the Cino Nights will try to capture."

All performances will take place at: Caffé Cino: U-District, 5267 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

All performances are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available on a donation basis.

Reservations are not required but are strongly encouraged due to space limitations. Reserve spots at

CONTENT NOTE: These plays contain mature content and are not suitable for young audiences.

Evening One
Saturday, March 4, 2017
7:30 PM
The Madness of Lady Bright [First presented in 1964 at Caffé Cino]
Alone in his room on a hot summer's day, an aging drag queen descends gradually into madness. The Madness of Lady Bright is widely considered one of the first plays of the gay theatre movement.

Written by Lanford Wilson
Directed by Daniel Talbott
Performed by Taylor Jones (1st year PATP), Phillip Ray Guevara (1st year PATP), and Tamsen Glaser (2nd year PATP)

A talk by Robert Patrick, playwright and Caffé Cino historian

Evening Two
Saturday, March 11, 2017
7:30 PM

Goodnight, I Love You [First presented in 1965 at Caffé Cino]
A gay man and his "fag hag" girlfriend have a phone conversation about his fantasy of having his lover's baby. The play is based on a real phone call between William Hoffman and his friend Lucy Silvay.

Written by William Hoffman
Directed by Daniel Talbott
Performed by Bridget McKevitt (2nd year PATP) and Phillip Ray Guevara (1st year PATP)

Comings and Goings: A Theatre Game [First presented in 1966 at La Mama E.T.C.]
Comings and Goings is a series of two-person scenes that actors rotate into and out of every ninety seconds. Playwright Megan Terry is a graduate of the University of Washington who went on to write Viet Rock, the first rock opera.

Written by Megan Terry
Directed by Bobbin Ramsey
Performed by Allen Miller (2nd year PATP), Adrian Tafesh (1st year PATP), Bria Henderson (2nd year PATP), and Hazel Lozano (3rd year PATP)

A Vietnamese Wedding [First presented in 1967 at Washington Square Methodist Church, then produced at La Mama E.T.C. in 1969]
A Vietnamese Wedding is a ritual constructed in the form of a Vietnamese betrothal and wedding. Maria Irene Fornés is the winner of nine Obie awards, and is considered one of the parents of contemporary avant-garde theatre.

Written by Maria Irene Fornés
Directed by Addie Johnson
Performed by Porscha Shaw (2nd year PATP), Alana Cheshire (1st year PATP), Tricia Castañeda-Gonzales (1st year PATP), and Taylor Jones (1st year PATP)

Evening Three
Saturday, March 18, 2017
7:30 PM

The Richest Girl in the World Finds Happiness [First presented in 1970 at La Mama E.T.C.]

Madalayna, a maid, chases Geraldine, the Richest Girl in the World, through a twelve hundred room mansion, desperate to deliver the news that Geraldine has been elected Miss America. Geraldine is very busy being wooed by the Handsomest Movie Star.

Written by Robert Patrick
Directed by Sean Ryan (3rd year MFA Director)
Performed by Bria Henderson (2nd year PATP), Tricia Castañeda -Gonzales (1st year PATP), Adrian Tafesh (1st year PATP), Alana Cheshire (1st year PATP)

A Rat's Mass [First presented in 1966 at the Theater Company of Boston, then produced at La Mama E.T.C. in 1969]
In this poetic ritual, two African American children, represented by the half-human characters Brother Rat and Sister Rat, try and fail to find atonement for an act of sexual violence they committed at the behest of a Rosemary, a white girl with worms in her hair, whom they adore.

Written by Adrienne Kennedy
Directed by Daniel Talbott
Performed by Porscha Shaw (2nd year PATP), Allen Miller (2nd year PATP), and Tamsen Glaser (2nd year PATP)

In 1958, a retired dancer named Joe Cino rented a storefront at 31 Cornelia Street in New York's Greenwich Village and opened it as a coffee shop. Originally conceived as a café with poetry readings, folk music concerts, and art exhibits, Caffé Cino evolved into a theatre performance venue that launched both the Off Off Broadway Theatre movement and the careers of playwrights John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation), Sam Shepherd (True West), and Lanford Wilson (Burn This), directors Tom O'Horgan (Hair) and Marshall W. Mason (Talley's Folley), and performers Bernadette Peters and Al Pacino. Read more about Caffé Cino here, here, and here.

daniel-talbottMORE ABOUT Daniel Talbott
Daniel Talbott is an actor, director, writer, artistic associate of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the artistic director of the Lucille Lortel and NYIT Award-winning Rising Phoenix Rep. His plays include Slipping (Rattlestick, The Side Project), Yosemite (Rattlestick), Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait (Rattlestick/piece by piece, Encore), What Happened When (Rattlestick West, Rising Phoenix Rep/HERE), Someone Brought Me (Quince Productions), Mike and Seth (Quince, Encore, The Side Project), Extraordinary Things (RPR), Gray (Your Name Here, Rattlestick), and F**king Immaculate (RPR). Recent directing work includes Thieves (Weathervane/RPR/Rattlestick), Gray (Your Name Here), A Fable (piece by piece/RPR/Rattlestick), Gin Baby (IRT), Scarcity (Rattlestick/Hill Town Plays), Mike and Seth (Encore), Slipping (Rattlestick), Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait (Rattlestick/piece by piece, Encore), Lake Water (Neighborhood Productions), Eightythree Down (Hard Sparks), Much Ado About Nothing (Boomerang), Squealer (Lesser America), and The Umbrella Plays (the teacup company/FringeNYC - Overall Excellence Award: Outstanding Play). Upcoming productions include his play Gray at Rattlestick, and directing the world premiere of Selkie by Sarah Shaefer as well as a new play by Lyle Kessler at The Actors Studio. He received a 2011 Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship, a 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for directing, a Drama-Logue Award, two Dean Goodman Choice Awards and a Judy Award for acting, and was also named one of the 15 People of the Year 2006 by He is a graduate of Juilliard and teaches at NYU Strasberg and Primary Stages/ESPA. He is a proud member of {Your Name Here}, Lesser America, and a member of The Actors Studio.

Robert Patrick is a 74-year-old, single, gay, Libran writer and ghostwriter living in Los Angeles strictly for the sunshine. Robert Patrick abides in good-natured despair about the failure of the ideals of the 60s revolution. He stumbled into Caffé Cino as a poet in 1961, and began writing plays in 1964. He is the author of over 60 published plays, including Kennedy's Children, My Cup Ranneth Over, T-Shirts, Blue is For Boys (thought to be the first American play about gay teenagers), and The Haunted House, the 1974 production of which marked the first time Harvey Fierstein appeared on the legitimate stage as a male character. In 2010, Patrick published a DVD of his lecture, Caffé Cino: Birthplace of Gay Theatre.

Robert Patrick will join us on Saturday, March 4th to regale us with tales of Caffé Cino.


Cino Nights is part of a larger effort to incorporate more laboratory activities and performance research into the School of Drama's pedagogy. Qui Nguyen's The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, directed by Intiman Theatre Festival Casting Director Ali el-Gasseir, was our first lab project of the 2016-2017 academic year. Anne Washburn's residency and our day-long staged reading of her new epic, The Octavia, was the second.

This year the school, in collaboration with the Schools of Music and DXArts, the UW World Series, and the Dance Program, will also host four fellows funded through a $750,000, three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation called the Creative Fellowships Initiative. Fellow Erik Ehn-who is the head of playwriting at Brown University-will investigate the role of contemplation as the bedrock of the aesthetic encounter. Fellow Daniel Alexander Jones-who performs as his alter-ago, Jomama Jones, and is a professor of playwriting and solo performance at Fordham University-will explore mysticism in the African American avant-garde theatrical tradition. In January, playwrights from New York's Ma-Yi Writers Lab were be in residence creating work with Drama undergraduates. Producer, curator, and director Meiyin Wang, who most recently co-produced New York's Under the Radar Festival, will use her fellowship to conduct an exploration of space, with a particular focus on new notions of space made possible by virtual reality and augmented reality.

Commenting on the School of Drama's renewed focus on research, Executive Director Todd London says, "In the STEM world we inhabit, research and innovation are seen as the domain of the sciences and technology, even as the values of art-creativity, collaboration and imaginative engagement with the unknown-are prized. This culture is both our challenge and opportunity, and we see these research-directed creative residencies as a way forward, both to serve our fields and to champion the values of art in the culture at large."

Learn more about UW Drama Labs are

Related Articles View More Seattle Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You