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Mission Statement - It is the mission of Retro Productions to present works of retro theatre. Retro is defined as "involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past (American Heritage Dictionary)." At Retro Productions we will strive to tell good theatrical stories which have an historical perspective -with an emphasis on the 20th century- in order to broaden our own understanding of the world we live in. We believe through stories of human lives and struggles, both dramatic and comedic, we can understand social history and culture and how it affects us today.
History - Retro Productions, originally known as River Heights Productions, started producing "retro theater" in 2005 by studying the 60s through the eyes of children with Catholic School Girls by Casey Kurtti, and in 2006, the housewife movement of the 50s in Mrs. California by Doris Baizley. In 2007, the effects of the war in Vietnam were on tap in the documentary play Still Life by Emily Mann, which garnered a 2007 Back Stage "Performance to Remember." Moving to it's four year home as a resident company at The Spoon Theater for the '07-'08 season, Retro received a total of six 2008 New York Innovative Theatre Awards (NYITAwards) nominations for What I Did Last Summer by A. R. Gurney, a WWII coming of age story, and Mill Fire by Sally Nemeth, about a small towns grief when an explosion at a steel mill kills several men in the late 70s. The '08-'09 season brought the 50s sex comedy The Tender Trap by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith and Mark Medoff's When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? about a hold up gone wrong in a run down southwestern diner at the end of the 60s. For it's 5th birthday season ('09-'10) Retro presented the New York City premiere of Holy Days by Sally Nemeth, a dustbowl depression era drama, the world premiere production of Women and War by Jack H. Cunningham, a readers theater piece that explores the effects of war on American women; and the 50s office comedy The Desk Set by William Marchant about the first computers in the workplace - which was nominated for a total of six 2010 NYITAwards including Outstanding Production of a Play. Season six ('10-'11) started with Benefactors by Michael Frayn, set against the London council housing boom of the late 60s, an encore presentation of Women and War, and the WWII screwball romantic comedy Dear Ruth by Norman Krasna, which combined earned Retro five 2011 NYITAwards nominations including Outstanding Production of a Play and Outstanding Ensemble and won Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for Kristen Vaughan in Benefactors. In the '11-'12 season Retro started with a tale inspired by the true story of the murder of a nun in the Nineteen Teens, The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt (which garnered one 2012 NYITAward nomination), and in a very exciting turn, moved this production to an off-Broadway run in May 2012. After taking the following fall off Retro returned in May of 2013 with A Day in the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols, about a couples struggle to raise their daughter, so severly afflicted with Cerebral Palsy that she can not speak, in London in the early 60s. The 2013-2014 season began with The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel, a comedic allegory for the AIDS crisis during which Retro raised money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and held several talkbacks about the crisis during the run. Finally in May of 2014 Retro presented a world premiere production, An Appeal to the Woman of the House by Christie Perfetti Williams, about the ripple effect a group of Freedom Riders have on a farmer and his wife in rural Alabama in 1961. For our 10th Anniversary season we presented George S. Kaufman's 1920s comedy about producing theater, The Butter and Egg Man. In 2016, the story of a sex scandle on video tape was the subject of Roberto Aguirre - Secassa's Good Boys and True and in 2017 we watched a family of sisters navigate the late 60s in And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little by Paul Zindel. Our 50th Anniversary revival of this work received 4 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations including Outstanding Production of a Revival. Our 2018 production was the world premiere of Gina Femia's We Are A Masterpiece - the play is set at the dawn of the AIDS crisis and follows a nurse, Joan, as she becomes a sort of guardian angel to the gay community in her town.
In 2017 Retro Productions was honored to receive the Caffe Cino Fellowship Award for consistantly producing outstand work by the New York Innovative Theatre Awards.