Caffe Cino
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This New York City coffeehouse and later the city’s first café theater, which flourished from 1959 to 1967, spawned the Off-Off Broadway movement in that city. Under founder Joseph Cino, then managers Charles Stanley, Michael Smith, and Albert Zuckerman, Caffé Cino produced over two hundred plays and introduced gay playwrights Doric Wilson (who later founded the first gay theater, T.O.S.O.S.), Lanford Wilson (Talley‘s Folly), William M.Hoffman (As Is), and Robert Patrick (Kennedy’s Children). Other playwrights who were presented include Tom Eyen, H.M.Koutoukas, Paul Foster, Robert Heide, JeanClaude Van Itallie, David Starkweather, Jeff Weiss, Ronald Tavel, Sroen Agenoux, George Birsima, and many others. The Caffé also premiered Dames at Sea and works by Sam Shepard, John Guare, Oliver Haley, and Diane DiPrima. Featured directors included Tom O’Horgan, Marshall Mason, and John Vacarro. In 1985, Lincoln Center Library and Museum of the Performing Arts curators Richard Buck and Magie Dominic mounted an exhibition entitled “Caffé Cino and Its Legacy, an American Cultural Landmark”. Though it did plays of many kinds, Caffé Cino is especially remembered as the first venue for unapologetic plays about gay characters. Robert Patrick


Patrick, Robert. “Caffe Cino.” Los Angeles Theatres (Nov. 1994):12-13, 18, 20-21. ——. “Where Plays Began.” Other Stages 1, no. 10 (Feb. 1979):26-27. See also New York City; Patrick, Robert; Theater; Wilson, Lanford