The Palace Brings Original Works to Life for Local High School Playwrights

From left: Marco Greco (of White Plains), winner of The Palace Theatre’s 2021 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Award; Chris Israel (of Stamford), winner of The Palace Theatre’s 2021 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Award; Nicole Talamo (of New Canaan), winner of The Palace Theatre’s 2021 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Award (contributed photos)

Stamford, CT – On March 14, three high school students from Fairfield and Westchester County will experience the joy of live theatre in a whole new way – as playwrights. Chris Israel (of Stamford), Nicole Talamo (of New Canaan) and Marco Greco (of White Plains)were named winners of The Palace Theatre’s 2021 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Awards for their writing of an original one-act play. All three will witness their visions come to life with a virtual reading by professional actors led by Broadway veteran Luis Salgado.

This year, The Palace selected three winners, Marco Greco, a senior at White Plains High School, for his play, “Bang;” Chris Israel, a junior at Brunswick High School, for his play, “The Elevator Play;” and Nicole Talamo, a sophomore at New Canaan High School, for her play, “Cultural Reset.” Each student was awarded $500.

The Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist virtual reading will take place on Zoom on Sunday, March 14 at 4:00pm. The event is free and open to the public and may be viewed at (Meeting ID: 922 4821 7325 | Passcode: 115718).

“I am extremely excited about joining The Palace Theatre to share the work of young playwrights once again this year,” said Luis Salgado, Director of Play Readings. “The amount of talent that we at Salgado Productions experienced through reading the submissions this year was unbelievable. All the plays brought unique storytelling that was easily relatable.”

A well-known performer, director, choreographer and producer, Luis Salgado’s 20-year career spans Broadway, film, television, and stages around the world. Broadway credits include In The Heights, Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Rocky and On Your Feet. Most recently he served as the Associate Director to 2019 Tony Award winner for Choreography Sergio Trujillo in a production of Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour in Hamburg, Germany. Salgado was also the director and choreographer for a production of In The Heights at The Axelrod Theater in Asbury Park and an all Spanish production at The Gala Theater in Washington D.C.

Salgado continued, “The play ‘Bang,’ written by Marco Greco, created a world and characters through metaphors and language that is inspiring coming from such a young playwright. ‘The Elevator Play,’ written by Chris Israel, was easily relatable to me as an artist, especially in a time like this when so much is unknown and we desire to be able to do our art again. The comedy is smart and the conclusion leaves you guessing. ‘Cultural Reset,’ written by Nicole Talamo, highlights the generational differences in the world of communication and technology in society today. I applaud The Palace Theatre for their ongoing commitment to young artists like Chris, Marco and Nicole year after year.”

“Congratulations to Chris, Marco and Nicole,” said Michael Moran, President & CEO of The Palace. “At a time when students have lost so many valuable experiences, we’re working hard to provide opportunities for meaningful growth and connection – bringing the joy of arts education to students of all ages. Thank you to Luis and Salgado Productions for bringing the works of these talented youth to life.”

The Emerging Young Artist Award was established in 2010 and is open to all high school students from Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Winners have included instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, actors and playwrights. In 2015, the award was renamed for Ernie DiMattia, former president of The Ferguson Library in Stamford and a longtime Stamford Center for the Arts board member.

The Palace’s Arts in Education programs are held year round and strive to educate, challenge and inspire area youth by offering opportunities in performing, choreography, master classes and intensives in circus arts, acting, voice, dance, playwriting and scene study. Students learn skills that are important in academic and life success such as confidence, problem-solving, teamwork, perseverance and focus.

The Palace Theatre is located at 61 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. They can be reached at (203) 325-4466 or by visiting For the latest news and updates, follow @ThePalaceTheatreStamford on Facebook and @PalaceStamford on Twitter.

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