“ALL-STAR” MFA CANDIDATE LINE-UP: 20 ACTORS, 4 DIRECTORS, 3 PLAYWRIGHTS
FREE THEATER PERFORMANCES, GENERAL PUBLIC INVITED
World Premieres: NIGHT GAMES, SHARP EDGES, STARFISHES
Plays, Scenes, Books by: Edward Allan Baker, Maria Irene Fornes, Michael V. Gazzo, Eugene Ionesco, LeRoi Jones, Arthur Laurents, Bryony Lavery, David Lindsay-Abaire, Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan, William Saroyan, Sam Shepard
NEW YORK, NY, April 4, 2011 – This year’s 27 Master of Fine Arts (MFA) candidates of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University includes:
- Young Simba from Broadway’s The Lion King and the originator of the role of Jack Scott in Disney’s stage version of High School Musical
- Reigning Miss Black USA (2010)
- Loud Nanny in The Nanny Diaries (The Weinstein Company)
- Musician featured on the double platinum album The Light & The Shadow, which launched hip hop into Israel’s mainstream
- Grammy award winner, recognized for her outstanding choral and drama programs in a South Carolina high school
- Fulbright Scholar
- Lauded playwright – For the Winter (finalist, 35th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Contest), and Four Sons (winner, Under 20’s Playwriting Contest, Tarragon Theatre).
- Director of Martha and Me: A Musical, which enjoyed a sell-out run at the New York International Fringe Festival
- Winner of the State of Ohio Solo Musical Theatre Thespian Competition at age 16
- Tri-linguist in English, French and Spanish
- Fortune 500 banker turned actor
All are accomplished and have multiple credits on the big screen, small screen, on stage and in the wings. They have founded their own theater companies as well as performed, written and directed for others. But they have collaborated together these last three years in New York City, united as they pursue their dream and refine their craft as actors, director or playwrights in the only Masters’ theater program endorsed by the renowned Actors Studio … two express subway stops from Broadway.
These 27 “rising stars” will make their professional debuts in a five-week repertory season that is open to the public beginning Wednesday, April 13, but are not total unknowns. Since the fall of 2009, they’ve been watched by viewers in 89 million homes and 125 countries around the globe as a result of the telecast of their master craft seminar, “Inside the Actors Studio,” hosted on Bravo TV by the school’s Dean Emeritus James Lipton.
This bird’s-eye view of industry greats also comes with red carpet/Schimmel Theater stage interview privileges, allowing the students to pose questions “one-on-one” to Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy award winners they someday hope to emulate.
One of the most frequent questions James Lipton himself has been asked these past 13 years by interviewers is “Who is the guest you want the most?”
Lipton’s answer is invariable: “Since I’m the founding dean of the Actors Studio Drama School, of which Inside the Actors Studio is a class, the night that one of our graduates has achieved so much that he or she walks out and sits down in that chair facing me will mean more to me than any moment since this journey began.”
Lipton got his wish during this past academic year, when Bradley Cooper, a graduate of the Actors Studio Drama School, Class of 2000, walked across the Schimmel Theater stage and sat in the chair opposite him and his blue cards in an episode which aired Monday, March 14, 2011.
During his graduate school years, Lipton was Cooper’s dean; Elizabeth Kemp and Andreas Manolikakis were his teachers. Lipton, Kemp and Manolikakis are still very much part of the Actors Studio Drama School program today. Along with Bradley’s star, theirs has risen as well with Manolikakis now Chair of the Actors Studio Drama School MFA Program and Kemp currently Director of its Acting Department.
Having Cooper return was not only an exciting experience for current MFA students, but also a powerful testament as to their future capabilities, truly taking “the world is your oyster” to heart.
In addition to Cooper, the MFA candidates have received words of wisdom from Lipton Inside the Actors Studio guests such as: Judd Apatow, Jason Bateman, Halle Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, James Cameron, James Carrey, Sean Combs, Danny DeVito, The Family Guy Cast, Colin Firth, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Kate Hudson, Denis Leary, Laura Linney, Conan O’Brien, Amy Poehler, Daniel Radcliffe, Diana Ross, Mickey Rourke, Richie Sambora, Charlie Sheen, Brooke Shields, Christian Slater, Hilary Swank and Tico Torres.
The 2011 Actors Studio Drama School Repertory Season performances will take 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 April 13 through May 14. 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) 613-6209 and email is ASDSRep@pace.edu
The works are considered educational and may not be reviewed.
Established playwrights with one-act productions or scenes showcased are:
- Week One: Broken Bones by Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan; Springtime by Maria Irene Fornes; Face Divided by Edward Allan Baker
- Week Two: A Hateful of Rain by Michael V. Gazzo; Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire; Gypsy, A Musical Fable with book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
- Week Four: Fool for Love by Sam Shepard; Dolores by Edward Allan Baker; The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco
- Week Five: Frozen by Bryony Lavery; Hello Out There by William Saroyan; Dutchman by LeRoi Jones
A published and frequently produced New York City playwright, with 32 plays to his credit, Edward Allan Baker has written for HBO and Showtime, attended Sundance Film Institute and been a faculty member of the Actors Studio Drama School since 2005 as Associate Professor – Playwriting.
During the 2011 rep season, the following one-acts by Baker’s students will be making their world premiere during Week Three:
- Night Games by Sarah Rachael Jones – Mystery. Bondage. Betrayal. Who will survive these night games?
- Sharp Edges by Alla Ilyasova – A childhood friendship shattered. Can Nate and Carol put the pieces back together or is there nothing left but Sharp Edges?
- Starfishes by Michael Ross Albert – a lonely lighthouse keeper in Nova Scotia who is visited by a mysterious stranger with demands that force him to confront his deepest desires.
“Real” Rep Season: Off-Broadway, Practical Level Experience
“The season is produced, managed, and designed by union member industry professionals, creating an actual Off-Broadway experience that prepares our graduates with practical experience as working professionals before graduation,” said Manolikakis, a Lifetime Member and a member of the Board of Directors of the Actors Studio.
Among the industry professionals who will be supporting the Actors Studio Drama School 2011 MFA candidates during repertory season:
- Peter Dean (Production Manager) Off-Broadway credits include The American Dream and The Sandbox directed by Edward Albee (Cherry Lane) and Women Beware Women, (Red Bull Theater). He also serves as the Lead Ride Manager for The Ride New York, a 4.5 mile theatrical tour that runs throughout midtown Manhattan.
- Lara de Bruijn (Costume Designer) Recent projects include: Three Penny Opera (Trinity Rep Consortium), Lysistrata (La MaMa), Dog Act (Flux Theatre), The Torch-Bearers (Peterborough Players), and All She Can Carry (White Wave).
- Paul Hudson (Lighting Designer) has designed scenery and lighting for theater, dance, and television in New York City for ten years. Highlights include scenery for the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Tommy; lighting on Full Frontal Fashion for the WE channel, and the Tribeca Film Festival ‘03’s World Premiere Venue.
- Melissa Jernigan (Assistant Stage Manager) Broadway: Lennon (production assistant).
- Shawn Lewis (Set Designer, Supervising Director) has worked as a set designer for more than 50 productions throughout the United States and abroad, designing plays, musicals, opera and film. Currently designing Frankenstein: The Rock Musical and Forever Plaid in Canada.
- Brittany Loesch (Properties Designer) has toured with Rent, taking her across the country and to Japan.
- Sydney Maresca (Costume Design) has designed costumes Off-Broadway?for Buddy Cop 2, The Little Death Vol. 1, Nostradamus Predicts the Death of Soho, The Zero Hour, and MilkMilkLemonade.
- Shelley Miles (Production Assistant). An AEA Stage Manager, Broadway credits include: Rock of Ages, The Philanthropist and The American Plan.
- Joseph A. Onorato (Production Stage Manager) has stage managed on and Off-Broadway, as well as 18 years of The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.
- David Pinkard (Sound Designer) has worked as a composer, sound designer, and musical director in and around New York City since 1995.
- Ron Piretti (Fight Choreographer) has directed the fights for many productions including the Broadway productions of West Side Story, The Miracle Worker, In the Heights and Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo. Actor: Officer Krupke in Broadway’s West Side Story.
- Sarah Thea Swafford (Costume Shop Supervisor). Assistant Costume Designer for The Britten Project and Romeo & Juliet, the film directed by Eve Annenberg.
- Scott Wynn (Photographer) official photographer for the Drama Desk Awards (10 years).
“The Actors Studio Drama School Repertory Season is real repertory where our students work as a repertory company – acting, directing and writing the material – creating collaborations that can last a lifetime,” underscored Manolikakis. “Unlike other MFA programs’ productions, we provide each and every student actor with the opportunity to be the ‘lead’ in a production. In many other programs, a few students carry those roles while the rest ‘carry spears.”
The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is the only MFA theater program officially sanctioned by The Actors Studio. The entire faculty is chosen and approved – and the curriculum is designed and supervised – by the leadership of The Actors Studio through its Curriculum Advisory Committee, including the Presidents of The Actors Studio, Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. All students — actors, directors, playwrights – train side-by-side as actors. All students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series, “Inside the Actors Studio,” hosted by James Lipton. For further information about the program, go to www.pace.edu/actorsstudiomfa
About Pace University
For 105 years, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
Pace Media Contact (photos on request): Samuella Becker, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172, Sbecker2@pace.edu