LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Week Four of The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2012 MFA Repertory Season brings scenes from THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE (a young actress who has sworn off love gets stuck entertaining a soldier on leave), ORANGE FLOWER WATER (infidelity and the consequences of a romantic affair) and RED LIGHT WINTER (college buddies take off to the Netherlands and find themselves thrown into a bizarre love triangle). Free admission. Reservations: (212) 501-2099; ASDSRep@pace.edu
The Broadsheet Daily is Lower Manhattan’s daily newspaper covering Downtown news, people, places and events, including the five-week Actors Studio Drama School’s MFA Repertory Season.
The Broadsheet Daily has promoted The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2012 MFA Repertory Season weekly to the Lower Manhattan community in its online event coverage.
(Pictured) Here’s a scene from Week Three “Brilliant Traces” by Cindy Lou Johnson. Directed by Chris Triebel, performed by Amie Lytle and Ollie Oliver. Photo credit: ScottWynn.com
The Repertory Season at Pace University
The Actors Studio Drama School presents its annual Repertory Season at Pace University, in five weeks of theatre designed to introduce our graduating students to the professional world and the public in fully-professional productions of the work they have created during their three years of study. Here you will witness a weekly series of scenes, one-act plays and full-length plays, some of them written by our playwrights, and all of them directed by our directors and acted by our actors. Free. Reservations recommended; call (212) 501-2099 or email: ASDSRep@pace.edu. Through April 28. Wed-Fri 8pm. Sat 3pm & 8pm.
“(Writing plays) really just utilizes my strengths. I had a good ear for dialogue, and for me, it’s just a matter of being able to tell a story through characterizations. Even though I can do short stories or novels, I seem to be more at home when the characters are more engaged in the situation,” Sean Welch explains. “For me, it’s pretty exciting to see a couple of actors go up there and say the words I’ve written, in the moment. I don’t think there’s anything really like that.”
From The Flint Journal, by William E. Ketchum III
FLINT, MI—These days, Flint native Sean Michael Welch is living in New York, writing plays and earning his masters of fine arts (MFA) at Pace University’s prestigious Actors Studio-sanctioned drama school. His new play, “All An Act,” debuts during week five of the university’s Repertory Season, where Welch’s fellow graduating students will present other plays and scenes.
But before he was studying and working with the country’s elite, the Grand Blanc High School Graduate first explored his skills at University of Michigan Flint. He had grown an affinity for penning short stories in previous years, but after taking an acting class, he saw that writing plays was an experience that made even more sense.
“(Writing plays) really just utilizes my strengths. I had a good ear for dialogue, and for me, it’s just a matter of being able to tell a story through characterizations. Even though I can do short stories or novels, I seem to be more at home when the characters are more engaged in the situation,” Welch explains. “For me, it’s pretty exciting to see a couple of actors go up there and say the words I’ve written, in the moment. I don’t think there’s anything really like that.”
He cites U-M Flint professors Carolyn Gillespie and Professor Lauren Friesen as his primary support at U-M Flint, giving productive feedback and introducing him to other playwrights he would admire. Before graduating in 2000, he snatched up the 1999 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF) John Cauble Short Play Award for “Earl the Vampire,” and the 2000 KC/ACTF Region III Ten-Minute Play Competition for “Charleston’s Finger.” The former, which he considers his first complete play, was about a vampire who begins a political movement to bring minority status to vampires in America. In “Charleston’s Finger,” a family has a dinner table discussion about how their son’s finger fell into his soup.
Welch moved to New York City afterward, and worked a regular job for eight years while writing nightly. He finally decided to attend grad school, and he was accepted into Pace University’s drama school sanctioned by The Actors Studio, a decades-old performers organization that, according to its web site, boasts award-winning actors Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and Ellen Burstyn as co-presidents. After head playwright Edward Allan Baker explained the benefits of the school, Welch loved the aspect of students engaging in acting classes.
“I always considered (acting classes) a bonus, as I still enjoy acting and still wanted to act,” Welch said. He lists the curriculum, being surrounded by other talent, and feedback from Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham as high points of the experience. “It hit on all points, and it allowed me to do what I was supposed to be doing and what I wanted to do.”
As his graduation nears, this month he participates in the school’s Repertory Season to premier his play “All An Act,” which is about two clowns who have to talk out a drunken night of debauchery to preserve their professional relationship and long-term friendship. After its debut, Welch plans and the play’s crew plan to set their sights on collecting donations to participate in the Edinnburgh French Festival in August.
“I think we’re in a very good place. I have an excellent director and two fine, very skilled actors who…have actually studied clowning, whether while in school or in their own time during the summer months,” Welch says. “I’m anxious to see what an audience makes of it. I think all the work they’ve put into it is worth viewing.”
WEEK THREE (April 11 – 14) from The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2012 MFA Repertory Season brings tales of two brothers who hustle cards and take money from fools (“Topdog/Underdog”); a runaway bride and a recluse who forge a bond during an Alaskan blizzard (“Brilliant Traces”), and two estranged siblings who reunite at their mother’s funeral (“Raised in Captivity”). Free admission. RSVP: 212-501-2099; ASDSRep@pace.edu
Click here to see pictures from this week’s shows on BroadwayWorld.com!
Week Three of The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University’s MFA Repertory Season (April 11 – 14) presents:
Scenes from the 2002 Pulitzer-Winning Drama Topdog/Underdog written by Suzan-Lori Parks. ARTISHA MANN and Crystal Thompson play two brothers, Lincoln and Booth respectively, who hustle cards and take money from fools. Lincoln, a master of the con game three-card monte, has abandoned a life of crime for a more respectable job impersonating Abraham Lincoln at an arcade. Booth is a petty thief who tries to emulate his older brother’s success by learning how to “throw the cards.” The brothers compete against each other, vying for control (think Cain & Abel). At any given moment, one may yield power over the other, only to relinquish it in the next. Directed by Colleen Britt.
The one-act play Brilliant Traces by Cindy Lou Johnson tells the story of Henry Harry (OLLIE OLIVER), a lonely man who has sworn off personal relationships to live an isolated existence in a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska. As a blizzard rages outside, his seclusion is interrupted by Rosannah DeLuce (AMIE LYTLE), a distraught runaway bride from Arizona. Like Henry, she has been wounded and embittered by life, and wants to escape her responsibilities and get as far away from her loved ones as possible. Directed by Chris Triebel.
Scenes from Raised in Captivity by Nicky Silver. The play, which received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Play in 1995, explores the guilt and redemption in the lives of two estranged siblings – Sebastian Bliss (DANIEL J. O’BRIEN) and his twin sister, Bernadette Dixon (HEATHER BURGHER) – when they re-unite at their mother’s funeral. Dr. Hillary MacMahon (MARIANNE VIDAL) is Sebastian’s needy therapist. A convicted murderer on death row, Dylan (ADAM PETHERBRIDGE), is Sebastian’s pen pal and closet relationship in recent years. Kip, Bernadette’s dentist husband (PETER MARCIANO), hates teeth. Directed by Melody Erfani.
Further details: www.pace.edu/asdsrep. The 24-hour reservation line is: (212) 501-2099 and email is ASDSRep@pace.edu. Free admission.
Photos: Scott Wynn, www.scottwynn.com
One of the interesting things about the repertory season is the opportunity to watch the actors and directors work on several plays and scenes. Week Three (April 11 – 14) brings scenes from “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks, “Brilliant Traces” by Cindy Lou Johnson and “Raised in Captivity” by Nicky Silver. The 24-hour reservation line is: (212) 501-2099 and email is ASDSRep@pace.edu
From an article in the Downtown Express
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER
In a five-week repertory season, the graduating M.F.A. class of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is once again showing what this school teaches and what the graduates have learned after three years of study. Anyone with affection for theater would likely find the Actors Studio Drama School productions interesting. Some of the acting is memorable. Sets and costuming are professional. The plays and scenes range from the familiar to the offbeat, giving each of the acting students an opportunity to show their stuff. And it’s all free, though reservations are required.
This year’s graduating class consists of 31 actors, four directors and one playwright. They range in age from their early 20s to their late 40s. Their backgrounds are diverse. Among the actors are a U.S. Navy veteran, the daughter of a Japanese martial arts master, a Junior Olympic gymnast who is also a screenwriter and novelist, a Fulbright scholar, an opera singer who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Some have significant acting credits.
The Actors Studio Drama School program dates from 1994 when James Lipton, now Dean Emeritus, developed the curriculum with the assistance of some of the famed actors in the Actors Studio itself. Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino are still mentors to the school and appear in the repertory season program.
Lipton resigned in 2005 and Andreas Manolikakis became the chairman of the school. “This is not training for a specific style. It’s training of the instrument so that the actor will be able to do whatever he’s asked to do,” Manolikakis said.
Everyone in the program takes acting classes. Directors and playwrights have additional instruction.
“You get a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be on stage so when you ask an actor to do something, you know exactly what they’re going through,” said Chris Triebel, one of the directors in this year’s graduating class.
The annual tuition for the program is $35,320. In addition, there are living expenses. “I figure it costs about $57,000 a year to go through the program,” said Michael Crowe, who turned to acting after having spent five years in the Navy, where he worked as a chef, followed by a couple of years in business school. But, he said, “I don’t view this as an expense. I view it as an investment…I feel a better man, artist, human, from being here,” he said. “In order to be an actor, you have to be so vulnerable. It’s a really sacred, safe place here.”
One of the interesting things about the repertory season is the opportunity to watch the actors and directors work on several plays and scenes. This week brings scenes from “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks, “Brilliant Traces” by Cindy Lou Johnson and “Raised in Captivity” by Nicky Silver.
Next week includes “The Voice of the Turtle” by John Van Druten, scenes from “Orange Flower Water” by Craig Wright and a scene from “Red Light Winter” by Adam Rapp.
The repertory season concludes the following week with a scene from “Fallen Angels” by Noël Coward, a new play, “All An Act” by Sean Michael Welch, the sole playwright in this year’s graduating class and already the recipient of several important awards, and scenes from “The Producers,” with a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Mel Brooks.
The performances take place in the theater at Dance New Amsterdam, 53 Chambers St., Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. through April 28. The full schedule and information about plays, actors, directors and playwrights is online at www.Pace.edu/ASDSRep Admission is free, but reservations must be made in advance by phone or email as seating is limited. The 24-hour reservation line is: (212) 501-2099 and email is ASDSRep@pace.edu
From College Gymnast to Off-Broadway Actress. Kara Marie Rosella discusses her incredible three-year journey at The Actors Studio Drama School, James Lipton and how what she’s learned as an athlete transfers over to being an actress.
Ann Arbor Native & UM Gymnast Stars Off-Broadway: Kara Marie Rosella, Actress – After receiving her BA in English with an emphasis in screenwriting from The University of Michigan, where she was also a scholarship athlete on the Women’s Gymnastics team, Kara Marie is now graduating from The Actors Studio Drama School in NYC with a Masters in Fine Arts in Acting. Later this month she will appear Off-Broadway in the play, Orange Flower Water.
Click here, then scroll down to listen to Kara Marie’s 20-minute live radio interview with Lucy Ann Lance.
Actors Studio Drama School MFA Directing Candidate Ken Urso grew up in Sun Prairie and Middleton, Wisconsin. Recalls Urso: “Lynda Sharpe was my high school drama teacher. She really took me under her wing, even allowed me to do an ‘Independent Study’ in Directing with her my senior year, in which I adapted a 15th Century Morality Play, “Everyman,” into a modern day play about bullying in High School. Every morning she would mentor me, and at night I would rehearse. She was the one who took me on my first trip NYC.”
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, native and Master of Fine Arts candidate Ken Urso will be directing four plays during the Repertory season at New York’s Pace University from March 28 – April 28, reported the Sun Prairie Star.
Urso is the son of Kathy Urso of Middleton and Joe Urso of Mazomanie. He grew up in Sun Prairie before moving to Middleton when he was a freshman in high school. Urso graduated from Middleton High School in 2001 and from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting in 2005.
Urso has directed productions throughout the United States, including The Shape of Things, Chicago, The Producers, Everyman and Cabaret.
New York directing credits include Bent, Never the Sinner and the original productions of Kidnapping Laura Linney, Gay Camp and Riverside. He is also an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
During the Repertory season, Urso directed scenes from John Kolvenbach’s Fabuloso from March 28 -31. He will also be directing Amicable Parting from April 4- 7 (by George S. Kaufman and Leueen MacGrath); a scene from Red Light Winter (by Adam Rapp) from April 18 – 21; and a scene from Fallen Angels (by Noel Coward) from April 25 – 28.
James Lipton is more than than just a TV personality. The actor, director, producer, choreographer, playwright and founder of the Actors Studio Drama School is also the author of the novel “Mirrors” (which he adapted for TV) and the nonfiction book “An Exaltation of Larks.”
In mediabistro.com’s So What Do You Do? interview, James Lipton spoke about how he prepares his questions for each episode of his popular Bravo show Inside the Actors Studio and explained why he doesn’t believe in pre-interviews reports Ji Hyun Park on MediaBistro’s GalleyCat.
“Nothing is handed to me. I get raw material from my researcher… and then I watch all the movies, read everything that the person has written about himself or herself, and I go through all the articles that have been written about them, and from that I distill the blue cards, which are approximately 300-500 [cards] for each person,” he told Amanda Ernst.
“And then they come to me and they’re on stage with me for three and a half to four hours, up to five or six hours, because it’s a class. The students would stay all night. I literally threw [the casts of] Mad Men and Glee out of there in the middle of the night.”
To find out which actor just wouldn’t stop crying during his Inside taping, read the full interview here.
Award-winning playwright Sean Michael Welch will premier his new play, “All An Act,” at The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2012 Spring Repertory Season, the only Masters of Fine Arts program officially sanctioned by the Actors Studio.
This month, Former University of Michigan-Flint playwright Sean Michael Welch will present his work with a theatre program that has ties with some of the most accomplished actors, directors and other entertainers in the world.
Welch will premier his new play, All An Act, in week five of the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) Repertory Season at Pace University Actors Studio Drama School. The one-act play takes place in Clown Alley, and is about two clowns’ relationship troubles.
Pace’s program is the only MFA theatre program that is officially sanctioned by The Actors Studio, the decades-old membership organization most known for its Emmy-nominated Bravo TV series “Inside the Actors Studio.” The show’s host, Dean Emeritus James Lipton, has recent interviewed the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, James Cameron, and other Hollywood superstars.
The Spring 2012 Repertory Season, which began on March 28, will host 15 productions in five weeks, acted and directed by the school’s 36 MFA candidates. Welch’s fellow candidates have performed opera at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, acted in Robert DeNiro’s new crime drama series The 2-2, and have achieved a variety of other notable achievements. Still, the Flintstone is accomplished in his own right: he won the 1999 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival John Cauble Short Play Award for Earl the Vampire, and the same festival’s Region III Ten-Minute Play Competition in 2000 for Charleston’s Finger.
Welch’s mentor is Edward Allan Baker, an award-winning associate professor/playwright at Pace who has written for HBO and Showtime. At University of Michigan-Flint, Welch studied under the support of Professor Carolyn Gillespie and Professor Lauren Friesen, reported William E. Ketchum III, Entertainment Reporter for The Flint Journal.
Photos from Week One of The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2012 MFA Repertory Season.
The 2012 MFA candidates of The Actors Studio Drama School are mounting fifteen productions over five weeks for their Repertory Season, all acted and directed by the thirty-six MFA students.
Click here to see pictures of the Week One performances (March 28-31): Scenes from Fabuloso by John Kolvenbach, Scenes from Dying City by Christopher Shinn, and Scenes from Pizza Man (pictured) by Darlene Craviotto.
The season takes place at The Theater at Dance New Amsterdam, 53 Chambers St., just north of City Hall, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. from March 28 through April 28. The full schedule and information about plays, actors, directors and playwrights can be found online at www.Pace.edu/ASDSRep
Admission is free, but reservations must be made in advance by phone or e-mail as seating is limited. The 24-hour reservation line is: (212) 501-2099 and email is ASDSRep@pace.edu