Artist and memoirist Magie Dominic discusses the early days of Joe Cino’s Caffé Cino, “the birthplace of Off-Off Broadway”

Cast and crew of Tom Eyen's “Why Hannah’s Skirt Won’t Stay Down” at the Caffe Cino, 1965, photo by James D. Gossage

New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections presents “Off-Off Broadway’s Origins at Caffé Cino,” a lecture by Magie Dominic on March 11, 2015 at 6:30pm at the Fales Library, 70 Washington Square South, Third Floor, New York, NY 10012. [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street]. A reception will follow Dominic’s talk.

Dominic, an artist and memoirist, will discuss the origins of Off-Off Broadway and Greenwich Village’s Caffé Cino in the 1960s. Drawing on her own experiences and her reminiscences about the Caffé Cino’s owner, Joe Cino, Dominic will paint a vivid picture of the legendary place commonly referred to as the birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway.

  • WHO & WHAT: Lecture: “Off-Off Broadway’s Origins at Caffé Cino” by Magie Dominic; reception to follow.
  • WHEN & WHERE: March 11, 2015 at 6:30p, Fales Library, 3rd floor, Elmer Holmes
    Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South (at LaGuardia Place). [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street].

Space is limited; the public should please, specifying the event.

The Caffé Cino was located at 31 Cornelia Street in the West Village from 1958 to 1968. The proprietor, Joe Cino, unreservedly provided a venue for emerging playwrights and performers at a time when such venues were not available. Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepard, John Guare, Tom Eyen, Bernadette Peters, Jean-Claude van Itallie all began their work there, and are just a few of the many people who are a part of the Caffé Cino’s legacy. The playwrights and performers who began their careers at the Caffé Cino created the landscape of modern day theater as we know it today.

Joe Cino gave one interview in his life, to theater critic Michael Smith in 1965. Dominic will quote from the interview and show selections from the Cino’s extensive productions as she recounts the Cino's development and its impact on modern day theater, showing why the creative, incubative atmosphere of the legendary cafe was a magnet and refuge for young creative people in New York in the explosive 1960s.

Dominic is author of two memoirs that describe her Newfoundland childhood and her life in New York, The Queen of Peace Room, and the recently released Street Angel. She is co-author of H.M. Koutoukas, a collection of memories and extensive documentation of the OOB playwright. Dominic was an active participant at the Caffé Cino. She is an archivist of the Caffé Cino history and has donated OOB materials to the Fales Library & Special Collections.

About Fales Library and Special Collections:
The Fales Library, comprising nearly 355,000 volumes and over 10,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection and the general special collections of the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection, founded in 1993, documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video. The goal of the Downtown Collection is to comprehensively collect the full range of artistic practices and output of the Downtown scene, regardless of format. This research collection, built on a documentary strategy, supports the research of students and scholars who are interested in the intersection of the contemporary arts with other forms of cultural and artistic expression.

The NYU Division of Libraries comprises five libraries in Manhattan and one each in Brooklyn, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Its flagship, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Washington Square, houses more than four million volumes and receives 2.6 million visits annually. Around the world the Libraries offers access to more than 1.2 million electronic journals, books, and databases. For more information about the NYU Libraries, please visit

Caffe Cino, July 1965, photo by James D. Gossage

Joe Cino with Edward Albee at a benefit for the Caffe, 1965

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