The Flint Journal: “University of Michigan Flint playwright talks Actors Studio, new play”

“(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.”

Flint Journal: “Actors Studio theatre program to premier Flint playwright’s new piece”

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.

 

 

 

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 ADVISORY: The Actors Studio Drama School Presents The “Graduating MFA Playwrights Staged Reading Series”

Sean Michael Welch, the author of 140 plays, is the only graduating playwright in this year’s MFA program.

NEWS ADVISORY: SATURDAY, MARCH 3 AND SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2012 AT 2 PM

THE ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL (ASDS) AT PACE UNIVERSITY AND PLAYWRIGHT/FACULTY MEMBER EDWARD ALLAN BAKER INVITE YOU TO DISCOVER A PROMISING NEW STORYTELLER:

 Sean Michael Welch, Actors Studio Drama School MFA ’12 Candidate, Playwright

Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Award Winner (1999, 2000)

 Staged Readings of Welch’s two plays – Inventory and Murdertown – performed and directed by his ASDS classmates, are gripping tales of:

  • Corporate greed
  • Lost obsessions
  • Sex industry

WHEN & WHAT (PLAY SYNOPSIS):

  • Saturday, March 3 at 2:00 pm. Inventory: full-length play, cast of 11, about a man tracking down a past infatuation: a woman he worked with at a sex shop/massage parlor 20 years ago. Directed by Ken Urso.
  • Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 pm. Murdertown: one-act play, cast of 5, about a corporation’s desire to turn Flint, Michigan, into the world’s largest amusement park.  Directed by Colleen Britt and Chris Triebel.

WHERE: Pace University, One Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038. Black Box Studio Theater, Room W509. Directions: http://bit.ly/eUwAch

RSVP/COST: Email ASDSReadings@pace.edu or call (212) 501- 2177. Tickets are free but space is limited so reservations are strongly advised.

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

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Sean Michael Welch was awarded the 1999 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival John Cauble Short Play Award for Earl the Vampire, and won the 2000 KC/ACTF Region III Ten-Minute Play Competition for Charleston’s Finger. Past productions of his work include Slab, Try Not to Step on the Naked Man, Rise Up You Bloody Animals, and Boise, Idaho. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Flint (BA 2000, Drama). Learn more about the 140 plays he has written to date at: www.freewebs.com/seanmichaelwelch/theworks.htm