The Palace Theatre Names Winners of the 2024 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Awards

Winners will witness their voices and visions come to life with a staged reading by professional actors at The Palace in Stamford.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
The Palace Theatre Names Winners of the 2024 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Awards
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On April 22, three high school students will experience the joy of live theatre in a whole new way - as playwrights. Dylan Alter (of Ossining, NY), Myli Bruno (of Mamaroneck, NY), and Ben Souza (of Shelton, CT) were named winners of The Palace Theatre's 2024 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Awards for their writing of an original one-act play. All three will witness their voices and visions come to life with a staged reading by professional actors at The Palace in Stamford.

Ben Souza, a junior at Shelton High School, was awarded $500 for his play, "Casual Sex in a College Dorm," becoming the first student in the program's fifteen-year history to be selected twice as a winner. The Palace also recognized Ossining High School sophomore Dylan Alter for his play, "The Definition of Bravery," and Myli Bruno, a sophomore at Rye Neck High School, for "The Dream Experiment." Alter and Bruno also both received $500 for their winning submissions.

The Palace brought in award-winning international director, choreographer, and educator Luis Salgado to serve as artistic coordinator and mentor for the Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Awards. He, along with a panel of nine additional adjudicators, evaluated all submissions before selecting Alter, Bruno, and Souza's work.

"This program is not only about the young playwrights, but the ongoing commitment to new voices and leaders among our community," said Salgado. "I am grateful to Carol Bryan and The Palace Theatre for the commitment to it and I am thrilled to have selected the winners with an intense debate process between our upcoming female directors and the Salgado Productions Art with a Purpose scope in mind."

Three guest directors from Salgado Productions, Frances Tirado, Claudia Mulet, and Thalia Ranjbar, will direct the staged readings, which will be attended by the playwrights' parents, teachers, and friends as well as Stamford Center for the Arts board members. The three plays will feature professional actors Aimara Torres, Juanita Dilia Olivo, Andrés Gallardo Bustillo, Jeremy Fuentes. This year's stage manager is Majo Ferrucho.

"Congratulations to Dylan, Myli, and Ben on their outstanding achievements," said Michael Moran, President and CEO of The Palace. "We are delighted to welcome Luis Salgado, our three amazing guest directors, and five talented actors, as they collaborate to bring the unique vision of each young playwright 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 year-round and strive to educate, challenge and inspire area youth by offering opportunities in performing, choreography, master classes and intensives in acting, voice, writing, music and dance. Students learn skills that are important in academic and life success such as confidence, problem solving, teamwork, perseverance and focus.

The staged reading on April 22 will begin with beverages and charcuterie at 6:00pm followed by the performance at 6:30pm. It is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Maggie Brennan at

About The Palace Theatre

The 1,600-seat Palace Theatre is dedicated to performing arts of all genres - music, dance, theatre and comedy. In addition to hosting world-renowned performers in each of those fields, the Palace partners with arts organizations like Orchestra Lumos and the Connecticut Ballet for their performances. The Theatre's three floors encompass a deeper-than-typical Broadway-size stage, a café, a Learning Center, a theatre-long art gallery and a magnificent glass-walled promenade. The Palace is dedicated to providing exciting entertainment that enriches the cultural, educational, economic, and social life of the community.


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