Caffe Cino’s Comic Book Plays

Caffe Cino’s Comic Book Plays

Eventually, Caffe Cino became known for staging plays based on comic books. This tradition began when someone suggested that they perform scenes from a Wonder Woman comic that was lying around the Cino. Great idea, Robert Patrick thought, so he sent someone out to buy extra copies of the comic at the corner store. “You’re Steve Trevor,” Patrick said, grabbing anyone who was available. “You’re Woozy Winks. You’re Etta Candy.” Diana Prince—aka Wonder Woman—was played by Harry Koutoukas (he eventually put the name “Diana Prince” on his mailbox at 87 Christopher Street). “Within the hour,” Patrick said, “we had The Secret of Taboo Mountain, the Cino’s first comic book play. There were four comic book shows: Wonder Woman, Snow White, Archie and His Friends, and a ‘Classic Comics’ version of Faust.” Koutoukas also appeared in Snow White, where friends and audience members were sometimes recruited minutes before a performance. Robert Shields, the actor who played Grumpy, recalled that the number of dwarves fluctuated from evening to evening. “One night we had something like eighteen to twenty dwarves running back and forth,” he said. “Fred Willard did it one night. Whoever was there, they’d just say ‘Okay, yeah, I’ll do that.’ So occasionally we had more dwarves than we had audience.”

From Chapter 9 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Caffe Cino
31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014