“Photo Flash: Week Two – The Actors Studio Drama School’s MFA Repertory Season”

Check out the production photos from The Bear, Amicable Parting, Snowangel, and The Woolgatherer – Week Two of the Actors Studio Drama School’s MFA Repertory Season – which runs from April 4 – 7. For reservations please call (212) 501-2099 or e-mail:


Inspired by recent insight from Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper (ASDS MFA’00), Jennifer Aniston, James Franco, the casts of Mad Men, 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 have taken the stage at The Theatre at Dance New Amsterdam for a five-week Repertory Season, March 28 – April 28, 2012. 

For a complete list of the season and cast members, visit
Click here to view the photos from Week Two.

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.

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.”

NEWS RELEASE: Discover the Next Bradley Cooper! The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University Celebrates 13th Repertory Season, April 13 – May 14

Twenty-seven “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.




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

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

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

World Premieres

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

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.


 Pace Media Contact (photos on request):  Samuella Becker, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172,