John Chatterton creator and executive producer of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, announced today that he will be retiring the MITF until further notice. The festival had a run of 18 years. Chatterton was the creator of OOBR (“the off-off-broadway review”), which for many years was the only publication exclusively devoted to covering the Off-Off-Broadway. He also produced the Short Play Lab and the Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival.
In a statement to the press, Chatterton said:
When you get to be 71, you accumulate a few dings on your person — with some people, more dings than others, some dings going deeper than others. When you start to feel like my first car, a ’65 Dodge Dart (this was in ’79), you know it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.
The financial situation has also grown more parlous. When I started the MITF (in 2000), I was making $65 an hour as a tech writer on Wall Street. Now I’m on Social Security. I can no longer underwrite the Festival budget out of my own pocket.
(A few years ago I moved back to Massachusetts, for personal reasons, and the strains of commuting to NYC also take their toll.)
The last straw was recent lawsuit. It was one of those cases where you’re damned if you win and damned if you lose, because either way you have to pay legal costs.
I have lots of energy and ideas left. Also an increasing urge to travel the world, starting with a farewell tour (in a much better car) down the East Coast to Florida. So, as the Governator said, “I’ll be b-a-a-a-c-k!”
Thank you, New York, for giving my life meaning for 24 years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve that occasionally fickle muse, the Theatre, in all the roles I’ve experienced. Good luck and God bless. We’ll be in touch!