Downtown Express: “Pace’s Actors Studio stages its annual repertory season”

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

BroadwayWorld.com: “The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University Announces 2012 Season”

This year’s 36 Actors Studio Drama School MFA candidates will take the stage 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

“Our 36 MFA candidates are accomplished and have multiple credits on the big screen, small screen, on stage and in the wings,” said Andreas Manolikakis, chair of The Actors Studio Drama School and a board member of The Actors Studio in an article about the upcoming repertory season on BroadwayWorld. “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 pursued their dreams and refined their craft as actors, directors or playwrights in the only Masters’ theater program endorsed by the renowned Actors Studio … two express subway stops from Broadway.

“All have diverse backgrounds, and that’s the beauty of it, because one learns not only from the faculty but from one another,” continued Manolikakis.  

The 2012 Actors Studio Drama School MFA candidates include:

  • U.S. Navy Chef, National Runner-Up in the Season 5 Mad Men Casting Call with recent TV credits on White Collar, Law & Order: SVU, Royal Pains, Humanly Impossible, and I’m Alive. (Michael Crowe)
  • Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team at Connecticut College.  (Rachael Schefrin)
  • Actor in Robert DeNiro’s new crime drama series The 2-2 on CBS-TV. (Charles Brice)
  • Award-winning playwright (Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival – 1999, 2000) who has authored 140 works – some now being performed Off-Broadway and in regional theaters.  (Sean Michael Welch)
  • Opera singer who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. (Sandra Dianne Wilson)
  • International Puppeteer, Fulbright Scholar and American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow.  (Terhi Lintukangas)
  • Gymnast, Women’s Gymnastics Team at the University of Michigan on full athletic scholarship. (Kara Rosella)
  • Actor appearing on Lifetime’s Army Wives and the Atlanta soap opera, Love Always Charleston.  (Artisha Mann)
  • Gospel mime on the international gospel television network, TBN.  (Crystal Thompson)
  • NYC Fringe Film Festival Director.  (Chris Triebel)
  • Clowning, Syo-Kon-Do (Mixed Martial Arts) and Kyudo (Japanese Archery) expert.   (Yokko)
  • Michigan dairy farmer.  (Ollie Oliver)
  • Silk Road Dance Company member who performed at the 2011 Asia Cup Games in Doha, Qatar.  (Ahmad Maaty)
  • Two members of the Festival of Fools, a NYC based verse-inspired theatre company. (Amie Lytle and Kaitlyn Huczko)
  • Intern at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. (Melody Erfani)                

NEWS RELEASE: The Actors Studio Drama School Announces Its 2012 Repertory Season

Inspired by recent insight from Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, James Franco, the casts of “Glee” and “Modern Family,” as well as other distinguished celebrity guests of their craft class – Dean Emeritus James Lipton’s “Inside the Actors Studio” – a new generation of performers and creators prepare for their five-week Repertory Season beginning March 28.

THE ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL AT PACE UNIVERSITY PROUDLY

ANNOUNCES ITS SPRING 2012 REPERTORY SEASON

Wednesday, March 28 – Saturday, April 28, 2012

15 Productions in Five Weeks; Acted and Directed by Our 36 MFA Candidates; World Premiere of Playwright Sean Michael Welch’s “All An Act”

Selected Plays, Scenes, Books by: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, Lewis John Carlino, Anton Chekhov (translated by Paul Schmidt), Noël Coward, Darlene Craviotto, Cindy Lou Johnson, George S. Kaufman and Leueen MacGrath, John Kolvenbach, William Mastrosimone, Suzan-Lori Parks, Adam Rapp, Christopher Shinn, Nicky Silver, John Van Druten, Craig Wright.

NEW YORK, NY, March 14, 2012 –This year’s 36 Actors Studio Drama School MFA candidates have received advice about the craft of acting, directing and writing from some of the most influential bold-faced names in entertainment.  

Those who have recently graced the stage of the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University in New York City and been interviewed by Dean Emeritus James Lipton — the creator, executive-producer, writer and host of “Inside the Actors Studio, which is seen in 89 million American homes on Bravo TV, and around the world in 125 countries – include:

  • Brad Pitt
  • George Clooney
  • Bradley Cooper (Actors Studio Drama School, MFA’00)
  • James Franco
  • James Cameron
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Jim Carrey
  • Sean Combs
  • Kate Hudson
  • Cast of Modern Family (Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet)
  • Cast of Glee (Creator Ryan Murphy, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer)
  • Legendary rock band, Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, and Tico Torres)

This bird’s-eye view of industry giants also comes with interview privileges, allowing the graduate students to ask their own individual questions of the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Grammy and BAFTA award winners they someday hope to emulate. 

“Our 36 MFA candidates are accomplished and have multiple credits on the big screen, small screen, on stage and in the wings,” said Andreas Manolikakis, chair of the Actors Studio Drama School and a board member of the Actors Studio. “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 pursued their dreams and refined their craft as actors, directors or playwrights in the only Masters’ theater program endorsed by the renowned Actors Studio … two express subway stops from Broadway.

“All have diverse backgrounds, and that’s the beauty of it, because one learns not only from the faculty but from one another,” continued Manolikakis. 

The 2012 Actors Studio Drama School MFA candidates include:

  • U.S. Navy Chef, National Runner-Up in the Season 5 Mad Men Casting Call with recent TV credits on White Collar, Law & Order: SVU, Royal Pains, Humanly Impossible, and I’m Alive.
  • Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team at Connecticut College.
  • Actor in Robert DeNiro’s new crime drama series The 2-2 on CBS-TV.
  • Award-winning playwright (Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival – 1999, 2000) who has authored 140 works – some now being performed Off-Broadway and in regional theaters. 
  • Opera singer who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
  • International Puppeteer, Fulbright Scholar and American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow.
  • Gymnast, Women’s Gymnastics Team at the University of Michigan on full athletic scholarship.
  • Actor appearing on Lifetime’s Army Wives and the Atlanta soap opera, Love Always Charleston.
  • Gospel mime on the international gospel television network, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
  • NYC Fringe Film Festival Director.
  • Clowning, Syo-Kon-Do (Mixed Martial Arts) and Kyudo (Japanese Archery) expert.
  • Michigan dairy farmer.
  • Silk Road Dance Company member who performed at the 2011 Asia Cup Games in Doha, Qatar.
  • Two members of the Festival of Fools, a NYC based verse-inspired theatre company.
  • Intern at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London.

The 2012 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 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

The works are considered educational and may not be reviewed.

Established playwrights with one-act productions or scenes showcased are:

  • Week One: Scenes from Fabuloso by John Kolvenbach; Scenes from Dying City by Christopher Shinn; Scenes from Pizza Man by Darlene Craviotto
  • Week Two: Snow Angel by Lewis John Carlino; Scenes from The Woolgatherer by William Mastrosimone; The Bear by Anton Chekhov, translated by Paul Schmidt; Amicable Parting by George S. Kaufman and Leueen MacGrath
  • Week Three: Scenes from Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks; Brilliant Traces by Cindy Lou Johnson; Scenes from Raised in Captivity by Nicky Silver
  • Week Four: A Scene from: The Voice of the Turtle by John Van Druten; Scenes from Orange Flower Water by Craig Wright; A scene from Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp
  • Week Five: A Scene from Fallen Angels by Noël Coward; A New Play All An Act by Sean Michael Welch; Scenes from The Producers, A New Mel Brooks Musical, Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks.

World Premiere

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 Week Five of the 2012 rep season, the one-act play All an Act by Baker student Sean Michael Welch will be making its world premiere. The play takes place in a dressing room in Clown Alley in the present day, and is about two clowns with relationship troubles.

“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 2012 MFA candidates during repertory season are:

Brierpatch Productions (General Manager) Brierpatch Productions is the partnership of Laura Janik Cronin and Scott Newsome. Off-Broadway: Triassic Parq (June 2012); 7th Monarch (June 2012); Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play; Sex in Mommyville; Lidless (Page 73/Walker Space) Tales From The Tunnel (Bleecker Street Theatre); The Road To Qatar! (The York Theatre); Glimpses of The Moon (The Oak Room).

Shawn Lewis (Supervising Director, Set Designer).  Based in New York City, Lewis has worked as a set designer for more than 50 productions throughout the United States and abroad, designing plays, musicals, opera and film. Lewis’s mentor has been Tony Walton, with whom she started teaching in 1996 at the Actors Studio Drama School.  As a resident scenic designer for ASDS, Lewis has designed more than 500 one-act productions.  She is a member of the League of Professional Theater Women and of United Scenic Artists.

Paul Hudson (Lighting Designer). Design highlights: Synaesthetic Theatre’s The Trial of K (The Culture Project); Mirror Rep’s Shanghai Gesture (The Julia Miles Theater); Oslo Elsewhere’s Sa Ka La (Bleeker Street Theater); Golden Boy (dir. Danny Goldstein), Top Girls (Dir. Janet Zarish), Beyond the Machine 2010-2012 (Juilliard); Dance Anonymous’ Petra (Lefkosia Theater, Cyprus); Clubbed Thumb’s One Thing I Like to Say Is... (Ohio Theater); The Dangers of Electric Lighting (Luna Stage).  

David Pinkard (Sound Designer) has worked as composer, sound designer and musical director in and around New York City since 1995. He has studied orchestral conducting with Louis Lane and Charles Bruck.

Brittany Loesch (Props Designer). Previous designs include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Violet, A Perfect Ganesh, and Iboga. Brittany has also toured with Rent, taking her across the country and to Japan. Other New York credits include sets for Language of Angels at the Abrons Art Center and props for Cosi fan tutte and The Ghosts of Versailles at Manhattan School of Music.

Lara de Bruijn (Costume Designer). Recent and current projects include: The Public (The Flea Theater), A Man in a Black Coat (Target Margin’s Russian Futurist LAB), l’Heure Espagnole & l’Enfant et les Sortilleges (Boston Conservatory), the Commonalities that Bind Us (Dance iQuail!), Animal Love 1 (Charlene Kaye), Kaged (Stockholm Fringe Festival), Measure for Measure (Peterborough Players), Finian’s Rainbow (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Three Penny Opera (Trinity Rep Consortium), Lysistrata (La MaMa), Dog Act (Flux Theatre).

Sydney Maresca (Costume Designer) recently designed costumes for Hand to God (Ensemble Studio Theater), The Lapsburgh Layover (Ars Nova), Buddy Cop 2 (The Debate Society), The Yellow Brick Road (TheatreWorksUSA), The Little Death, Vol. 1 (Incubator Arts Project), Nostradamus Predicts the Death of Soho (Soho Think Tank), The Zero Hour (13P), OMG, I am so Thirsty (Little Lord) and MilkMilkLemonade (The Management).  Film work includes The Wedding Video and Robin’s Big Speed Date starring Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Kristin Bell and Uma Thurman. 

Ron Piretti (Fight Director) is an actor and fight director.  He has staged the fights for the Broadway and National touring productions of West Side Story, In the Heights, has worked on The Miracle Worker with Abigail Breslin, and Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo starring Robin Williams. At Goodspeed Opera House, he was the fight director:  Cutman, Show Boat, City of Angels.  Ron appeared as Officer Krupke in the Broadway production of West Side Story.

Joseph A. Onorato (Production Stage Manager) has been Stage Managing the ASDS Repertory Season since its beginning in 1997. He has been a proud member of both Actors’ Equity Association (29 years) and The American Guild of Variety Artists for (24 years). In that time, he has Stage Managed On Broadway: Romance Romance, Off Broadway: Olympus On My Mind & Mambo Mouth, many Special Events, Industrials, and Award Shows such as the TONY, Daytime EMMY, MTV & GRAMMY Awards as well as The Christmas Spectacular and Cirque Du Soleil’s Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall.

Fran Rubenstein (Production Stage Manager) spent her fall working on The Fartiste and the past two summers at the Dorset Theatre Festival: 2011- Dial M for Murder and Mauritius, DTF 2010- Fallen AngelsThe Novelist and When Something WonderfulEnds. Recent credits: Reading Under the Influence at the DR2, Honey Brown Eyes for The Working Theater & This at Dreamcatcher Rep. Member AEA.

Shannon O’Connor (Assistant Stage Manager). Off-Broadway/New York: Lyric is Waiting (Kef Productions), Convenience Theatre (Desipina),The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  Regional: My Way, Forbidden Broadway, The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Gateway Playhouse).

Christine Lemme (Assistant Stage Manager). Broadway: Reasons to be Pretty, Swan Lake. Off-Broadway: Red Bull, MCC, Irish Repertory Theatre, Vineyard, TBG, Primary Stages, AJT, John Houseman, TFANA, and Working Theater.

Scott Wynn (Photographer) has worked for and been published multiple times in Variety and has also been published in New York Magazine, Where Magazine, The New York Times, The Daily News, Newsday, Time Out, Quest, The Conservationist, The Villager, American Theatre, Theatre Week, Backstage and numerous others. Scott is a seasoned photographer of Broadway and Off Broadway shows, as well as the Drama Desk Awards.

“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 play secondary roles.”

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 of the 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. Upon graduation students receive the title of Working Finalist at The Actors Studio and are invited to attend sessions of The Actors Studio for one year and audition for membership.  For further information about the program, go to www.pace.edu/actorsstudiomfa

About Pace University For 105 years Pace 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

Media Contact: For photos, interviews and more contact: Samuella Becker, Pace Performing Arts Publicist, (212) 346-1637 or 917-734-5172, sbecker2@pace.edu

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MEDIA EVENT ALERT, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5: Go INSIDE The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University for a FREE Master Class on The Method and The Stanislavski System

The Theater Master Class will be conducted by Andreas Manolikakis, Chair of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and members of the MFA program’s faculty. For more information or to be considered for participation, send your resume and contact information to actorsstudiomfa@pace.edu or call 212-346-1531.

CALLING ALL ASPIRING ACTORS, DIRECTORS, PLAYWRIGHTS …

MEDIA EVENT ALERT: FREE THEATER MASTER CLASS

Saturday, November 5, 2011, 1- 4 PM

Go INSIDE The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University for a FREE Master Class on The Method and The Stanislavski System.

The Master Class will be conducted by Andreas Manolikakis, Chair of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and members of the MFA program’s faculty.

Unique Aspects of The Actors Studio Drama School:

  • The Actors Studio Drama School is the only MFA program officially sanctioned and supervised by the legendary Actors Studio.
  • It is the only school that offers the authenticity, continuity and authority of the Stanislavski System and the Method.
  • The curriculum has been designed and supervised by the leadership of the Actors Studio, including the Presidents of the Actors Studio, Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino.
  • Faculty members include major figures at the Actors Studio, many of them Moderators, Board Members and Associate Artistic Directors of the Actors Studio.
  • 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 TV series “Inside the Actors Studio,” hosted by James Lipton.
  • In Friday Workshops the MFA candidates are exposed to different elements of the theater, such as script analysis, design, stage combat, directing, and auditioning for plays, musicals, film and television.
  • All MFA dance courses are taught by the famous and prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at their uptown studios.
  • All students participate in an Observership Program at the Actors Studio.
  • All MFA black-box studios for professional training are designed and equipped according to state-of-the-art standards.
  • Located at prominent and easily reached campus in downtown New York City.

Repertory Season and Industry Showcase:

  • In their final year, all Actors Studio Drama School students present their work to the professional world and the public, in a fully-produced professional Repertory Season at a theater in downtown Manhattan. 
  • In addition, after the Repertory Season, our actors present their work to representatives from the theater, film and television industries in an Industry Showcase at the Actors Studio itself in midtown Manhattan.

After Graduation:

  • All students have the privilege, for one year, of the status of Working Finalist at the Actors Studio itself, which means they are eligible to attend weekly sessions and take a Final Audition for Studio Membership, bypassing the usual Preliminary Audition. Some of these students, if they successfully pass their Final Audition, will become Lifetime Members of the Actors Studio.
  • All directing and playwriting students are invited, for at least one year, to be part of the Playwrights and Directors Workshop of the Actors Studio, a unit especially created for the continuation of the training of our directing and playwriting graduates.

Next Steps:

For more information or to be considered for participation, send your resume and contact information to actorsstudiomfa@pace.edu or call 212-346-1531. Attendees must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or be within one semester of graduation. Admissions representatives will be available to answer your questions.

Media Contact:

Samuella Becker, sbecker2@pace.edu, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172

BroadwayWorld: “Academy Award-Winning Actress Melissa Leo Welcomes MFA Candidates of The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace to the Profession”

Oscar Winner and Actors Studio Member Melissa Leo offered personal words of encouragement to the 31 MFA candidates (actors, playwrights and directors) of The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University after attending the final performance of their 2011 Repertory Season.

“Welcome to the profession, and don’t let anyone take away your dreams, ” advised Melissa Leo, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the loving yet manipulative mother in The Fighter earlier this year. “Being an actor is a wonderful life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,”

Also on hand and offering their own “words of wisdom” following the last performance of The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2011 Repertory Season were James Lipton, Dean Emeritus and Executive Producer, Writer and Host of Bravo’s Inside The Actors Studio;  Andreas Manolikakis, Director of  The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace (pictured with Melissa Leo); and Nira Herrmann, PhD. Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.

Click here to read more and view the group photo on BroadwayWorld.

The Telegraph-Journal: “Inside the actors studio”

Saint John (New Brunswick, Canada) actress Suzy Kimball wraps up her MFA at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City with two Off Broadway productions – starring in Eugene Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano” (Wednesday through Saturday, May 7) and in scenes from “Frozen” (May 11-14) by British playwright Bryony Lavery at The Theater of Dance New Amsterdam.

Suzy Kimball was working for the family business, alongside her father and brothers, when she decided she needed to change course.

“‘I really didn’t want to do insurance for the rest of my life,” Kimball recalls in an interview with her hometown newspaper, The Telegraph-Journal.

For almost three years, Kimball’s days have been filled with classes (in movement, voice, theory, scene study and many other areas), research and auditions. Now, approaching graduation, the 39-year-old has learned acting requires her “to be continually open and curious.”

“During our auditions, we are looking for ‘the potential’ in our candidates. We are trying to see if there is a spark, a flame in them that through our three years of training we can transform into a fire,” said Andreas Manolikakis, director of the Actors Studio Drama School MFA program at Pace University. “This potential was obvious during Suzy’s audition. Over her three years of studies, we have observed her progress and growth as an actor and that potential has become a strong artistic individual expression that can be applied in many different styles of theatre.”

Downtown Express: “Pace’s Actors Studio stages repertory season”

The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is in the second week of its five-week MFA repertory season during which this year’s graduating class performs plays and excerpts from plays in order to earn their degrees. This year’s graduating class has 27 members. They have interesting and diverse backgrounds. One played Young Simba in “The Lion King” on Broadway. Another is a Fulbright scholar from Ecuador. A Grammy award winner is in the class as are a woman with a chemistry degree, a former Fortune 500 banker and a musician with a Double Platinum album.

“We have all kinds of ages, all kinds of backgrounds,” said Andreas Manolikakis, chair of the Actors Studio Drama School and a board member of the Actors Studio. “And this is the beauty of it, because one learns from the other.”

The curriculum was designed by Actors Studio leaders, including Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. In weekly workshops, students learn about script analysis, design, stage combat, directing and auditioning for plays, musicals, film and television. A new workshop this year covers writing for film and television. The students take weekly dance classes at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Shariffa Wilson (pictured in a scene from Edward Allan Baker’s play, “Face Divided”),  has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University and was planning to go to law school.  She told the Downtown Express: “Coming into this I knew the sacrifice that I would make,” she said. “I left a job where I was getting paid every two weeks and I had amazing medical coverage but I didn’t want to have any regrets. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”