Looking for opportunities to act?

Want to hear a play out loud?

Interested in newer plays?

Sign-Up for one or both of Elmwood’s Reading Series!

Those interested in reading or viewing can sign up by emailing [email protected]. Everyone and anyone is invited to participate. Both series are FREE.

Elmwood Playhouse Cold Readings

21st Century Plays

Elmwood Playhouse started the Cold Reading Series in 2018, giving actors the opportunity to continue working on their craft and also allowing us all the chance to hear works published after the year 2000.

Over the last year, due to the global pandemic, readings switched from in-person readings at the Tarson Studio to Zoom. Elmwood Playhouse will now revert back to in-person readings while following CDC guidance.

The readings require no rehearsal, no auditioning. Just the desire to get on your feet and play. Casting is at the discretion of the reading coordinator but mostly first-come, first-cast.

November 20, 2021, 11 AM Sorkin Studio – Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. Despite writing a historical play focused on the cisgender white men who comprised the Powell Geographic Expedition, playwright Jaclyn Backhaus cleverly requires that “the cast should be made up entirely of people who are not.” Contact [email protected] for more information. Elmwood Covid19 policy  is here.

The series is curated by member Tiffany M. Card.

Elmwood Public Domain Players

Public Domain Readings

Elmwood’s Public Domain Players conducts readings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis of plays in the public domain for which there is no longer copyright protection (generally meaning that they were written prior to the mid-1920s). The focus is on presenting plays that were probably well-known long ago, but are lesser-known today. Some plays are familiar (Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen and other great playwrights), Some plays have only familiar titles, and some are revivals of plays that are almost completely unknown. Reading these plays is not only fun, but is a reminder of how many classic yet still relevant plays are out there. Casting is at the discretion of the reading coordinator.
There may be a rehearsal or two for difficult material.

We will continue the in-person readings that we had started with Hedda Gabler in August with our next reading of “She Stoops to Conquer.”  Recordings of our Zoom readings in 2021 are available at https://www.youtube.com/c/ElmwoodPlayhouseNY/videos and recordings of our 2020 readings are available at https://www.youtube.com/user/eldiablo427/videos.

OUR NEXT READING: On December 4, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., the Public Domain Players will present an in-person reading of Oliver Goldsmith’s light-hearted comedy “She Stoops to Conquer, coordinated by Derek Tarson.  The reading will be in the Sorkin Studio at Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack.

She Stoops to Conquer tells the story of a gentleman who is tongue-tied among women of his own class, but speaks without reserve (even arrogantly) to the lower classes.  The protagonist, Kate, disguises herself as a servant to woo him.  And this plot is interwoven with several subplots — characters believing their host is an innkeeper; an avaricious aunt seeking to marry her ward to her loutish and unwilling son to get the ward’s inheritance (and getting a hilarious comeuppance); and the ward’s and her lover’s scheme to marry despite all.  The play is witty and the story of a man outwitted by a woman (and that all classes should be treated equally) makes the play still relevant today.  The cast is:

Sir Charles Marlow – Derek Tarson
Young Marlow – Aaron Newcome
Hardcastle – Arthur Chill
Hastings – Sean Coffey
Tony Lumpkin – Sam Negin
Mrs. Hardcastle – Debbie Buchsbaum
Miss Hardcastle – Pauline Quinones
Miss Neville – Rachel Alt

(Other smaller roles will be doubled by the principal cast).

*COVID Precautions: Seating will be limited to those who can show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time. Capacity will be limited to 15 audience members. Actors will be unmasked during the performance. Masks are required for audience members. Visit http://www.elmwoodplayhouse.com/covid19 to read the theater’s current COVID policies and safety measures.


  • R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek (9m,4f, but genders flexible and transgender actors welcome) – An early science fiction dystopian play (which is where the term “robot” was first coined) that has just recently come into the public domain.

The series is curated by member Derek Tarson.

For more information,
contact our Readings committee via our Contact form