Annual Appeal - 2019As a flagship professional theatre in Westchester County, N.Y. Hudson Stage is dedicated to collaborating with top-flight actors, writers, directors and designers pooled from our area as well as NYC. The company presents a combination of world premieres and contemporary plays – with mainstage productions and several staged readings of new works presented throughout the year. One of the reading slots is dedicated to the educational outreach at local high schools. It showcases an evening of original works written and performed by the students. Founded in 1999 by Denise Bessette, Dan Foster, and Olivia Sklar Hudson Stage Company is the professional company in-residence at Whippoorwill Hall Theatre in Armonk, NY. Operating as a 501(c)(3) professional non-profit since its inception, HSC originally started doing staged readings of new works at the Croton Free Library in Croton-on-Hudson. Its first productions were staged at The Julie Harris Theatre at the Clearview School located in Briarcliff Manor. From 2005 through early 2014 the company was hosted by Pace University in the more intimate Woodward Hall Theatre also in Briarcliff Manor. The company has been in residence at the Whippoorwill Hall Theatre in Armonk, NY since July 2014. We are proud of our loyal supporters who have helped sustain our commitment to excellence in providing the powerful, transformative experience of live theatre to our audiences.

To accomplish our mission Hudson Stage Company strives to:

    • Dedicate ourselves to discovering, developing and producing bold and unique plays with an emphasis on original works – both unpublished and/or new to our audience.
    • Offer a professional Off-Broadway experience to our suburban Westchester audience at an affordable cost.
    • Provide an artistic home in our community for the creative and professional development of actors, writers, directors and designers.
    • Encourage new talent in the community by providing a Young Playwrights Program for high school students, as well as internships in professional theater for university students.
  • Serve our audience by continuing to provide a stimulating, entertaining, inspirational choice of material with the highest of professional standards.

Co-Founders/Artistic Producers:

Denise Bessette is a co-founder and an Artistic Producer with Hudson Stage. She has co-produced all of its mainstage productions plus the staged reading series. As an actress, she most recently appeared in HSC’s God of Carnage, and previously in The Pursuit of Happiness, Kimberly Akimbo, and Full Bloom. She has worked regionally at Long Wharf Theatre, Huntington Theatre, the NJ Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In NY she was seen Off-Broadway in many shows and with Interact Theatre Company in LA, she co-produced and appeared in Burkie, Into the Woods, and Elmer Rice’s Counsellor-at-Law. Several years in script development were with the PBS series American Playhouse, the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, NY Stage and Film and the Writers’ Theatre. TV/Film appearances include Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Seinfeld. She holds a BA in Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College and trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, with Bill Esper in NYC and Milton Katselas in Los Angeles. An adjunct acting professor at Pace University, where HSC is in residence, she also teaches with the Purchase College summer acting program and private classes.

Olivia Sklar is a co-founder and Artistic Producer with Hudson Stage. She has co-produced all of its productions and staged readings along with her two partners. She appeared in its production of Baltimore Star and several of the company’s staged readings. A native New Yorker whose passion for the theatre began at an early age, she studied as a teen in London and went on to receive her BFA in Acting from the SUNY Purchase Theatre Program. She worked as an actress on-stage in NYC and regionally and spent many years in daytime television most recently on ABC-TV’s One Life to Live. She played Helen Bell in German Public Television’s Anton Webern. Her film credits include roles in the Cannes festival award-winning Sidewalk Stories and Disney Touchstone’s True Identity.

Honorary Advisory Board:
Glenn Close
Blythe Danner
Austin Pendleton
Bill Pullman
Mercedes Ruehl
Frances Sternhagen

Board of Directors:
Denise Bessette
Barbara Doctor
Olivia Sklar
Jon Stern
Elise Trainor
Steven Wittels

Programming for Hudson Stage is made possible by funding from Arts Westchester.