Irvington Theater to premiere 6 new plays and a musical this month as part of 3rd annual Arts Incubator Short Play Fest

IRVINGTON, NY — For the 3rd consecutive year, Irvington Theater will once again present the Arts Incubator Short Play Fest: a free celebration of short, new, in-development works of theater and the playwrights behind them! This year’s fest will exist — for the first time ever — in a hybrid format of online events and in-person readings from March 18-26.

As part of the online component, Irvington Theater will stream The Cruise by Anna Esaki-Smith, This, Madame, Is Versailles by Aidan La Poche, and Star Quality by Evelyn Mertens from March 18-26. During that window, audiences can watch these plays on demand, for free, and as many times as they’d like — at Irvington Theater’s website ( and YouTube channel (

Then, on Saturday, March 25 at 2pm, audiences are invited to gather in-person at the Mercy College Lecture Hall in Dobbs Ferry for script-in-hand readings of Exit Interview by Phoebe Farber, Still Life by Brian Leahy Doyle, Freestyle Hand Entry by Elise Wien, and The Story of a Daughter, a musical with lyrics and a book by Zoe Howard and music and orchestrations by Matthew Nassida.

Anna Esaki-Smith is a Chappaqua-based playwright trained in journalism. Her play The Cruise finds Sunny, an elderly Japanese woman in hospice, and her daughter Gina discussing old family recipes and what it means to die. Sky Smith directs a cast that features Veronica Dang, Nancy Eng, and Rebecca Hoodwin.

Aidan La Poche is an NYC native and multidisciplinary artist currently studying at NYU Tisch’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School. In their play This, Madame, Is Versailles, a real estate agent tours the most expensive single-family property in the United States while navigating (and stumbling over) her deepest desires. La Poche directs the one-person piece, which stars Brennan Keeley.

Evelyn Mertens is a Westchester-based playwright. In Star Quality, two people who barely knew each other thirteen years ago find themselves inside an old diner on a rainy night – on the cusp of discovering an unlikely connection. Michelle Concha and Michael Pennacchio star, Susan Ward directs, and Lukas Arbogast serves as videographer.

Phoebe Farber is a playwright based in Montclair, New Jersey. In her play Exit Interview, one man unravels in front of his boss — and contemplates the consequences of his actions — while departing from a corporate job. Clark Carmichael stars, and Betsy True directs.

Brian Leahy Doyle is a Hastings-based playwright and professor of film and communications at Mercy College. His play Still Life follows an up-and-coming painter in New York as he faces an ultimatum from his agent and copes with a tragic loss. The cast features Lauren Dudley, Anne Glickman, and Tristan Schaffer-Goldman.

Elise Wien hails from New Rochelle and is a recent graduate of Boston University’s Playwriting MFA program. Her one-person play, Freestyle Hand Entry, introduces us to Cy, who recounts their attempts to retrieve a bag of Bugles stuck in the vending machine in the JCC rec room. Milo Longenecker stars, and Liza Couser directs.

Matthew Nassiida and Zoe Howard are current graduate students at New York University, pursuing their MFAs in Musical Theatre Writing. Their musical, The Story of a Daughter, is a modern folk adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Story of a Mother” – told with a change of perspective. The cast features Theresa Alexander, Caroline Game, and Gina Morgigno. Rounding out the team are Nico Raimont as Director, Matt Graham as Music Director, and Addison Herndon as Stage Manager.

The Arts Incubator Short Play Fest takes place from March 18-26, with 3 plays streaming online throughout that week, and in-person readings of 4 Fest selections on Saturday, March 25 at 2:00pm at the Mercy College Lecture Hall, located at 555 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Ample parking is available. For full details and to RSVP for the in-person readings on March 25, visit

Irvington Theater is home to a diverse range of innovative programming that entertains, enlightens, and inspires, establishing itself over its 121-year history as the cultural heart of the Rivertowns. Their theater, located inside of Irvington’s Town Hall, remains temporarily closed as a much-anticipated HVAC system is installed. Until then, IT will continue to offer an exciting combination of in-person, offsite events and virtual programming as part of #IrvingtonAnywhere.

The Arts Incubator Short Play Fest is an off-shoot of Irvington Theater’s completely free YouTube series of new work and works-in-progress. The first Fest in 2021 featured 4 new plays, which grew to 5 in 2022, and now 7 this year. In its 3-year history, the Arts Incubator Short Play Fest has featured the work of over 70 artists throughout the United States.

About Irvington Theater

Irvington Theater is home to a diverse range of innovative cultural programming that entertains, enlightens and inspires.

Irvington Theater is home to a diverse range of innovative cultural programming that entertains, enlightens and inspires. We produce original programming and, in collaboration with our Arts Partners, curate high-quality theater, music, film, comedy, and dance for the greater New York metropolitan area. With the knowledge that our individual differences make us collectively stronger, we are wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, in process, performance, and protocol. Irvington Theater is a community for all.