Phoenix Festival Has a Successful First Flight in Nyack

It was just a few weeks ago that Phoenix Festival: Live Arts in Nyack delivered its final performance in its first annual five-week celebration of arts and culture in our beautiful Hudson River village. The Festival was hosted and produced by the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble (PTE), an internationally recognized leader in the world of contemporary theater and winner of multiple awards for excellence in theater arts.

Phoenix Marydell 1
Audience enjoying a performance at Upper Nyack’s Marydell Faith & Life Center (Photo Courtesy of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble)

The vision of PTE was to create a celebration of theater, arts and community culture rivaling that of national arts festivals – with Nyack providing the stage for it all. Despite having to become amateur meteorologists at times (outdoor theatre during hurricane season is no small undertaking!), the organizers of the event were able to do just that.

Running from mid-September to mid-October, the festival took place during the Hudson Valley region’s beautiful fall season and featured over a dozen live, outdoor performance programs in both downtown Nyack’s Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center and at Upper Nyack’s Marydell Faith & Life Center at the foot of majestic Hook Mountain.

Phoenix Deer in background
Live theatre and wildlife coexisted on Nyack’s stage for the Phoenix Festival. (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble)

Productions included three iconic plays revisited by PTE in the context of our current world: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth and Anton Chekov’s The Harmfulness of Tobacco. There were also performances by, Rockland’s Children’s Shakespeare Theatre, tributes to Nyack resident Helen Hayes, walking tours of Nyack village and more.

“A big bonus for Festival goers was Nyack village itself,” said Craig Smith, Phoenix Festival Executive Director. “Nyack was the perfect anchor for this unique festival that blended classic theater and local history with breathtaking natural beauty in a jazzy, upbeat river town setting,”

Community arts organizations like Arts Rock, Rivertown Film, Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center, Rockland Poets, Nyack Library, and the Historical Society of Rockland also created and hosted a variety of events throughout the month for people looking to keep the magic going between shows.

The Festival invested over $200,000 in the local economy. More than 80% of production dollars went to local businesses, e.g., sound engineering, scenery and set building, bus and limo services, housing, and catering.

Phoenix Festival 2
Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

Community support exceeded expectations. Over 30 local businesses contributed more than $30,000 in direct funding and raffle prizes valued at over $3,500, including dining, merchandise, and hotel stays for theatre-goers. In addition to local funding and support from national institutions, Rockland County Office of Economic Development and Tourism was a major contributor

“Tourism is important for Rockland,” said Smith. “The Festival attracted a broad audience – nearly 60% came from outside of local communities – New York City and boroughs, plus Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey.”

Now that a successful first run at an arts festival has concluded, the ensemble is looking forward to returning to town in 2023.

“Taking a step into a completely new endeavor takes faith,” Smith stated. “This magic could never have been possible without generous contributions and unflagging support from the Rockland community. Building on the faith placed in us this year, we’re looking forward to an even more successful Festival in 2023, and to many years of collaboration that will bring continuing joy, growth and prosperity to our special community.”


The Phoenix Festival and the villages of Nyack and Upper Nyack gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of the public institutions, foundations, businesses and individuals who have made this event possible.

Public Support

Humanities New York (affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities) The National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Rockland County Office of Economic Development and Tourism


Sustaining Sponsors 

MR Bonner

Orange and Rockland Utilities
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Board of Trustees
The Sheree Stone Trust

SmithStone Family Trust

The Zisson Foundation


Corporate Sponsors


Hotel Nyack

Howard Hanna Rand Realty

Palisades Center Mall

Windsor Hills Wine & Spirits



Creative Financial Planning



Audi Nyack | Don Thompson

DPNB Pasta & Provisions

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty

Rosemarie Pelatti, Peter Garruba and Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty

The Greekish Nyack

Metal and Stone Jewelers

Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Munn and Associates, Ameriprise Financial Services

Robert Panzera and CCSD Sport Events

Weld Realty



Cane and Boniface P.C

Creative Arts Workshop | Joseph Garreffa

El Cuñao Deli

Modern Druid

Pickwick Bookshop

Punta Cana Latin Fusion

The Rock Shop Nyack

Sniff A Pickle

Trilogy Consignment



Allstate Insurance | Don Dietrich

Arts Council of Rockland

Broadway Bistro

The Breakfast & Burger Club

The Corner Frame Shop

Patisserie Didier Dumas


Somos Designer Jewelry Gallery

Today’s Outfit Band


Individual Patrons and Friends 


Monica R. BIonner

David Duke Burger

Kevin Confoy and Jodi Wright

Patrick Hall

John Lenartz

Michael Miller

Barrie Peterson and Bea Pohl

Linie and Joe Rand

Yasser Rathore

Thomas Schneck and Susan Wilmink

The Estate of Sheree Stone

Dan Zisson



Karen C. Cook

Cricket Jeranick

Robert and Carole Koros

Drake Mann

Derek Tarson

Joan Weingarten and Bob Donnalley



Harris Berlinsky

John Bower

Harriet Cornell

Kathleen and Tom Dallessio

Dick Donovan and Susan Fawcett

Peter Garruba

Andrew Horn and Joe Brancato

Marlene May

Tony Mulanix

Thomas and Mana Nassisi

Robert Scotto

Marion Shaw

Narelle Sissons

Michael Surabian

David Wagner


Community Partners


Children’s Shakespeare Theatre

Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center

Elmwood Playhouse

Historical Society of Rockland

Marydell Faith and Life Center

Nyack Chamber of Commerce

Nyack Center

Nyack Library

Rivertown Film Society

Rockland County Community College

Rockland Poets

Village of Nyack

Village of Upper Nyack

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