By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council candidate John Quaglione— who’s running in District 43, consisting of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst— proposed the establishment of a New York City Independent Theater Week to be organized and promoted by the city's official marketing organization known as NYC & Company.
Quaglione announced the proposal during his remarks at a "Meet the Candidates" forum sponsored by The League of Independent Theater on Wednesday night at Manhattan's Kraine Theater. The League is an organization for the independent theater and performing arts population of NYC, serving more than 50,000 independent performing artists.
The keynote address at the meeting was delivered by Julie Menin, commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
Also attending were Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, City Council hopefuls Jabari Brisport and Ede Fox, from District 35 (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant); John Joyner from District 36 (Bedford-Stuyvesant, northern Crown Heights); Kathleen Daniel from District 41 (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Ocean Hill); and Quaglione and Rev. Khader El-Yateem from District 43.
"We need to do more to support and encourage folks to embrace the talent that is on the stages of our independent theaters throughout the five boroughs,” Quaglione said. “What better way to promote these shows and actors than to mirror NYC Broadway Week and officially dedicate a time period that celebrates and highlights Independent Theater in our city? I look forward to working with The League of Independent Theaters when I am elected to the City Council to see this happen.”
Since 1958, the Off-Off Broadway scene has played a role in the culture of New York City. This forum offered the opportunity to bring together city politicians and theater artists to discuss key community issues such as sustainable rehearsal and performance space, housing and health care.
"I also look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with the League and presenting the industry's economic impact study to City Hall,” he added. “The industry features the work of over 40,000 artists and entertains more than 1.5 million people each year. This live performance theater network is generating many jobs, significant tax revenue and creating opportunities for many families and people in Brooklyn. New York City government must do more to rightly recognize these important contributions.”