Second Annual Phoenix Arts Festival In Nyack Starts Sept. 28

Photos: Gerry Goodstein

NEW YORK — Building on the success of its critically-acclaimed inaugural festival in 2022, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, led by Artistic Director Elise Stone and Executive Director Craig Smith, will present its Second Annual Phoenix Live Arts Festival ( from September 28 to October 21, 2023 in and around Nyack, NY.  The festival features world-class theater, music, dance, family shows and one-of-a-kind performances. There will be four indoor and outdoor productions, partnerships with Children’s Shakespeare Company and Emotions Physical Theatre, and special events all over downtown Nyack.  Phoenix Theatre Ensemble is a prominent producer of classical theater which was founded in NYC in 2004 and now makes Rockland County its second artistic home.  

The presenters aspire to create an arts festival to rival the national arts festivals, celebrating classical theater, classical music and the community of Nyack.  Presented during the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage season, the festival features immersive theater and live performance programs, all in nontraditional spaces.  These include a stage version of “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoevsky, four solo plays, one dance work, an improvised Regency Era production, two plays by and for kids, a staged reading, a musical concert, a poetry slam and a community theater “Dracula.”  Dates and details of all events of the festival are listed below.

Over 25 local businesses are participating as festival sponsors.  Beside individual promotions, they are providing over $5,000 in prizes for a drawing (no purchase necessary) to be held at the end of the festival.  Prizes will include dinners, merchandise and a night in a Nyack hotel.

Festival goers will be urged to try out at Nyack’s many first rate restaurants and shopping boutiques, visit local businesses and enjoy the town’s vibrant night-life.  Covering just a little over one walkable square mile, Nyack packs in an array of first-class restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, lively night spots, and hiking, biking and river recreation opportunities.  The town is accessible to the Governor Mario Cuomo bridge pathway, with its majestic vistas of the Hudson River.

For all tickets and further info, go to the Festival’s website,  Flexible pass:




“Phoenix Theatre Ensemble is doing something wonderful up there!” ( “Phoenix Festival is nothing short of SPECTACULAR!” (Nyack Business owner) “World Class Performances” (Hi Drama) “An EZ pass to outdoor theatre Heaven!”(InsidePress) “The Festival is a substantial tour de force!” (W Cataldi, HiDrama)



Info as of August 24, 2023.  Subject to change.



“Crime and Punishment,” based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, adapted by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus, directed by Karen Case Cook

Nyack Center, 58 Depew Ave.

Thursday Sept 28 @ 7:30 PM Friday Sept 29 @ 7:30 PM, Saturday Sept 30 @ 7:30 PM, Sunday October 1 @ 2:00 PM.

 A taut, thrilling adaptation that compresses all the tension and pathos of the novel into a powerful 90 minutes of theater that is at once fresh and faithful to the original. Often spoken of as the greatest crime story ever written, it is a tale of murder, motive and redemption that plumbs the depths of the human soul. For modern audiences, imagine a 19th-century Tony Soprano named Raskolnikov who fancies himself above the law – entitled to such an extent that he may decide who is worthy of life and of death. But that all ends when he meets his match in Inspector Porfiry, a master of mind games who is determined to elicit a confession from the ever-more-demented Raskolnikov.

REVIEWS:  “Crime and Punishment, in a feat that rivals the construction of the Hoover Dam, has been distilled into a taut 90-minute play by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus.  Just three actors tell the tale and may have you confessing to some murders yourself by the play’s end.”   — Neil Genzlinger, New York Times (2007)
Running time :90. Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actors, gift bag) $75.  Box Office:


“Drinks With Dead Poets” by Glyn Maxwell, directed by Attilio Rigotti

Wednesday, October 11 @ 7:00 PM, Thursday, October 12, @ 7:00 PM, Friday, October 13, @ 7:00 PM, Saturday, October 14 @ 7:00 PM.

The Hudson House of Nyack, 134 Main St.

Olivier Award-nominated author, playwright, and poet Glyn Maxwell adapts his celebrated novel into a site-specific theater production.  On a strange day in Nyack, NY, America’s last library is being demolished and the last votes are being counted in the last election ever, with Rockland County the last to declare. Meanwhile Glyn Maxwell, an English Professor – well, a professor who is English – wanders into a pub and thinks he recognizes certain dead poets at the bar.  Will he get served? Will America get saved? At this point in history, he’ll settle for either one. Pass a pleasant evening with poets, ghosts, and the end of the world.
Running time :90. Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actors, gift bag) $75. Box Office:


“Honduras” by Sara Farrington, performed by Valeria A. Avina

Saturday, October 7 @ 4:30 PM

Marydell Faith & Life Center, 640 N. Midland Ave., Nyack

In the summer of 2018,
one mom hid in the mountains,
while one mom was extorted,
while one mom was killed,
while one mom made it,
while one mom lost her kids,
while one mom heard about it on the radio,
while one mom drove across country,
while one mom waited at the bus station…

A solo piece based on true events, accounts from the Honduran mothers in the NY/NJ area, by Drama-Desk nominated playwright Sara Farrington, developed while she was volunteering with the group that she helped found, Immigrant Families Together. Each mother and child in this story crossed the border seeking asylum in the summer of 2018. All names are changed. Some characters in this play are composites or interpreted versions of people interviewed, some scenarios are condensed, consolidated and dramatized, but nothing has been exaggerated.

Running time 55.  Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actor, gift bag) $75. Box Office:


“Now I Am Alone” by William Shakespeare, performed by Geoffrey Owens
Sunday, October 15 @ 2:00 PM

Nyack Library, 59 S. Broadway, Community Room

Shakespeare’s complex creations — men and women, kings and beggars, villains and heroes — stand alone and speak aloud their inmost thoughts. Join us for this limited run engagement featuring acclaimed actor Geoffrey Owens performing the works of the Bard of Avon.  Fondly known for playing Elvin Tibideaux on NBC’s “The Cosby Show,” Owens has played several Shakespearean roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway and at regional theaters around the country, including “Romeo and Juiet” starring Orlando Bloom, and as the understudy for the late, great Raul Julia as “Othello” in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park. On film, Mr. Owens has appeared in “Stonebrook” (with Seth Green), “The Paper” (directed by Ron Howard), and others. His television credits include “The Cosby Show,” “Boston Legal,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Law and Order” and others. He has recently been seen as Gerald on HBO’s “Divorce” and on episodes of “Blue Bloods” and “Lucifer.”
Running time :90 without intermission.  Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actor, gift bag) $75. Box Office:


“Scandalton,” conceived and directed by Leo Lion

Wednesday, October 4 @ 7:00 PM

Maureen’s Jazz Cellar, 21 N. Broadway

Ever wanted courtside seats to a courtship? Welcome to “Scandalton,” a regency role playing show, where five all-star storytellers improvise an original period piece before your very eyes.  No gentle romance or raucous farce is complete without the judgment of genteel society, which is why at Scandalton, the audience will supply the rumors which threaten our heart’s desires. You bring the tea and we spill it.

Running time :70.  Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actors, gift bag) $75. Box Office:


“Reflections from the Shallow End of the Dating Pool,” written and performed by Debbi Hobson, directed by Karen Case Cook

Thursday, October 19 @ 7:00 pm, Friday, October 20 @ 7:00 pm, Saturday, October 21 @ 7:00 pm.

The Little Theatre, Rockland Community College Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center, 70 Main St., Nyack (corner of Broadway & Main St.)

What happens when a woman turns fifty and decides to enter the murky waters of online dating? She finds herself turning to social media to keep her laughing about the ridiculousness of it all, and discovers a sisterhood in shared experiences. Born out of a desire to find solid ground through humor, “Reflections from the Shallow End of the Dating Pool” shines a light on the farcical experience of midlife dating.

Running time :80.  Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actor, gift bag) $75. Box Office:




“The Wind in the Willows,” adapted and directed by Leo Lion

Based on the beloved children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame

Friday, October 6 @ 4:00 PM, Saturday, October 7 @ 2:00 PM, Sunday, October 8 @ 2:00 PM, Monday, October 9 @ 2:00 PM (Indigenous Peoples Day,  no school).

Marydell Faith & Life Center, 640 N. Midland Ave., Nyack

Performances Under the Canopy Tent – Sheltered Rain or Shine

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s new interactive adaptation of the beloved novel by Kenneth Grahame that follows the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger in the English countryside, highlighting friendship, bravery, and the joys of a simpler life.

Running time :60.  Adults $25, Students $15, kids under twelve $12. Box Office:


Children’s Shakespeare Theatre in Anouilh’s “Antigone”

Sunday, October 8 @ 11:00 AM, Monday, October 9 @ 11:00 AM.

Marydell Faith & Life Center, 640 N. Midland Ave., Nyack

Performances Under the Canopy Tent – Sheltered Rain or Shine

This children’s theater company in Rockland County in Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” a modern adaptation of the Sophoclean tragedy. In wartime France, Antigone courageously defies a tyrannical regime to honor her brother’s burial rights, highlighting the clash between individual morality and oppressive state power.

Running time :90.  Adults $25, Students $15, kids under twelve $12  Tickets:





“Pan and the Lost Boys,” presented by Emotions Physical Theatre, choreographed by Shawn Rawls

Thursday, October 5 @ 7:30 PM, Friday, October 6 @ 7:30 PM, Saturday, October 7 @ 7:30 PM.

Nyack Center, 58 Depew Ave.

Emotions Physical Theatre combines theater and dance to tell thought-provoking stories that expand imagination and empathy.  “Pan and the Lost Boys” is a new work which examines contemporary Black masculinity through Hip Hop and more.

Choreographed by Artistic Director Shawn Rawls (Alvin Ailey, Roxey Ballet), it is a theatrical dance spiritual concert fable about a boy resisting the call to grow up too soon for reasons we all know but refuse to fix. Reflecting the all-too often real-life stories of young black boys dying before reaching adulthood, “Pan” will deliver an experience that highlights the question “What are the reasons a black boy might not want to grow up?” through an interdisciplinary devised theatrical experience focused on movement, and dance.

Utilizing community mentorship “Pan” will utilize cross-generational collaborative developed work that will reflect the disinvested communities it is born in. Stemming from the killings of  Tamir Rice, George Floyd, etc; “Pan” will look at the normalized killing of black men in America and explore the impact of these actions on the health, wellness, and growth of young black men in America.

Running time :60.  Adults $55, Seniors $45, Students $35, VIP (includes reserved seat, post show meet & greet with actors, gift bag) $75. Box Office:




Concert: Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra

Presented by ArtsRock

October 14 @ 2:00 PM

First Reformed Church of Nyack, 18 South Broadway

Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra in a single 75 minute Jazz set.  NPR’s All Things Considered described Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra like this: “MTO slides between the old and the new, taking musical cues from talented but little-known jazz bands from the 1920s and ’30s that worked the juke joints and ballrooms of the Cotton Belt and the Midwest.”  The presenter, ArtsRock, provides increased access to professional arts and multi-cultural programs for underserved, diverse audiences in and around Rockland County. 

Running time :75.  Tickets $45-30.  Box office:



S P E C I A L   E V E N T S


“Digital Dreaming: AR Adventures”

September 28 to October 21 every day, all day.

Download free app:

“Digital Dreaming” is an augmented reality audio adventure walking tour to discover Nyack.  Explore the lore of this jazzy river-town community, from its 19th Century Industrialists to its place on the Underground Railroad, by following immersive recorded narratives by William Batson, an artist, activist and community leader. Created and directed by Clara Francesca of Nyack, the tour contains commissioned augmented reality images designed exclusively for the Festival.  Audiences interact with images of local stories and become immersed in the journey. For example, one story is that of Toni Morrison and Cynthia Hesdaras. Audience members arrive at the Toni Morrison bench at Memorial Park in Nyack and open an AR filter on their phones. They then learn about Cynthia Hesdras, who was born a slave in nearby Tappan NY and became one of the most successful African-American women entrepeneurs of the 19th century.  She set up the Underground Railroad stop in Nyack and helped establish a strong, vital Black community what is now a diverse village of 7,000.

Running time  :45, FREE


Staged reading: “Remembering Good Harbor Beach” by Debra Wiess, directed by Kevin Confoy

Saturday, September 30 @ 2:00 PM

Garden of the Hopper House at 82 North Broadway

A one-act play about husband and wife Edward and Jo Hopper, with Jessica Crandall as Jo Hopper and Joris Stuyck as Edward Hopper.  Followed by talkback.

Running time :60.  Info: 


Rockland Poets Monthly Poetry Slam

Saturday, October 7 @ 7:30 PM

X House, 48 South Franklin Street, Suite 100, Nyack

Rockland Poets holds a poetry slam on the first Saturday of each month at X House on South Franklin in Nyack. Anyone can come and sign up to share their own poetry — or come and listen! Poetry shared at these events varies widely in theme, writing style, and delivery.  The event consists of a short open sharing time, followed by the poetry slam itself. A poetry slam is a read/performed poetry competition judged by the audience. If the audience likes a poem, the poet’s author advances to the next round and shares another poem. The top three most favored poets that evening win some money (usually $75-$125 or so for first place).  Doors open and sign-up list goes up at 7:30 PM; event ends at 10:00 PM. If you want to complete in the slam, bring at least three original poems, each of duration five minutes or less.

Admission: $10 general; $5 for students, seniors, and anyone who can’t afford $10 right now. Info:


Elmwood Playhouse presents “Dracula”

written by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, directed by Michael Edan

September 8 – October 7:  Fri & Sat @ 8:00 PM, Sun @ 2:00 PM
Elmwood Playhouse, 10 Park Street, Nyack

Experience the terrifyingly seductive power of evil in this supernatural tale of the infamous Count Dracula. The quintessential stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, this Dracula is chilling, suspenseful, and satisfyingly scary. It’s bloody good!

Info:  Tickets: $30 gen. adm., Senior/Military/Youth: $27 Buy tickets:


Phoenix Festival Opening Gala

Friday, September 22 at 4:00 PM

Garden at Hopper House, 82 N Broadway, Nyack

Enjoy an afternoon of wine, soft drinks and the Phoenix Signature Cocktail created by Nyack’s Black Parakeetz.

There will be live music and performances, Hosted by Phoenix Theatre Enseble Artistic Director Elise Stone and Managing Director Craig Smith, along with PTE Festival artists, ambassadors, board members and sponsors.

Tickets: $50 tax-deductible contribution for Free Admission to the Gala Party; $75 Admission and receive a Phoenix Festival Polo; $250 or more, all the above and receive two tickets to a Festival performance of your choice.



Convenient parking downtown is available in downtown Nyack at Veterans Municipal Parking Lot, 111 Main Street, Nyack at the rate of 75 cents/hour Max 9 hours.  Parking is free at Marydell Center, 640 North Midland Avenue, which is a three-minute drive from downtown Nyack.



For discounts on tours and groups of 10 or more, email [email protected]. or call 833-681-4800 (2:00 – 6:00 PM).



For other info, write the Festival staff at [email protected] or leave a message at 212-465-3446.

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