NEWS RELEASE: Pace New Musicals Announce Premiere of its 2012 Official Selection, Zoe Sarnkak’s “A Lasting Impression” on January 18

Pace New Musicals has selected Zoe Sarnak’s “A Lasting Impression” – a tangled story of three artists: a composer, a writer, and a painter – as its 2012 official selection. There will be seven staged reading performances with a live band beginning January 18 at Pace’s Schaeberle Studio Theater, 41 Park Row, 10th Floor. For reservations call (212) 346-1352 or email


Contacts: Samuella Becker, Pace Media Relations,; 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172; Robert Meffe, Music Director,, 917-297-3897

Pace New Musicals Announces Premiere of its 2012 Official Selection,

Zoe Sarnak’s A Lasting Impression, at

Pace University’s Schaeberle Theater on January 18 – 22

 Staged Reading Performances with Live Band

 Directed by Amy Rogers; Music Direction by Robert Meffe

NEW YORK, NY, January 13, 2012 – Pace University’s Pace New Musicals program, dedicated to the discovery of new theater works, has selected Zoe Sarnak’s A Lasting Impression from over 50 submissions as its 2012 most promising show.

Amy Rogers, Associate Professor of Musical Theater and creator of the BFA Musical Degree program at the Dyson College of Arts & Science at Pace University, and Robert Meffe, Musical Director, are collaborating with Sarnak on a staged reading of her musical.

A Lasting Impression will be presented at Pace’s Schaeberle Studio, 41 Park Row, 10th Floor, Pace NYC Campus  from January 18-22;  performances Wednesday-Friday at 8:00PM; Saturday at 2:00 & 8:00PM and Sunday at 8:00PM.  Ticket prices: $5 for students; $10 for adults.  For reservations call (212) 346-1352 or email

In A Lasting Impression, each of the three lead characters chose their own artistic medium – book, music or visual design – to express one shared story. Josh, a once guarded journalist, acts as the play’s narrator, using old taped interviews and pictures to guide us through his memory of his two sisters. Kali, a manic musician, is the piece’s composer, moving in and out of “her” band as the story unfolds. Simone, a young painter, controls the evolution of what begins as a blank set, and comes to life through the addition of her visual art. A Lasting Impression is about impressions that we make through love, on those close to us, and through art, on those we may never meet.

The eight Pace Musical Theater students who will be bringing A Lasting Impression to life without costumes or scenery are (in alphabetical order, with hometown and their character roles):

  • Aaron Albert (Los Angeles, CA) as Josh Weinstein
  • Bethany Jeffery (Cincinnati, OH) as Mother
  • Taylor Noble (Glastonbury, CT) as Kali Blanche
  • Danny Quadrino (East Rockaway, NY) as Josh Understudy
  • Krista Pioppi  (Succasunna, NY) as Kali’s Band
  • Cailan Rose (Sarasota, FL) as Simone Blanche
  • Kevin Shotwell (Wilmington, DE) as Franklin
  • Emily Thomas (Pittsburgh, PA) as Kali’s Band

The actors will be supported by Alex James (Schwenksville, PA) as Stage Manager and Dylan Bustamante (Babylon, NY) as Assistant Director.

The Pace New Musicals Program was developed in 2007 to nurture the creation of new musical theater in New York City, while at the same time providing an invaluable educational opportunity for students to work directly with top professionals in the field. Perhaps most importantly, the program allows students to experiment with new, untested works without precedent-setting productions, a rare opportunity in theater education.

The BFA Musical Theater Program at Pace University began with six majors in 2002, and has grown to more than 90 majors. In 2006, Pace became only the second school in New York City to offer a BFA in Musical Theater.

Past works in the Pace New Musicals Program include staged workshops of Factory Girls by Creighton Irons, Sean Mahoney, and Maggie-Kate Coleman; Quanah by Larry Gatlin, Anthony Dodge, Marcia Milgrom Dodge; Darling by Ryan Scott Oliver and B.T. Ryback’s; Luck!, by Mark Waldrop and Brad Ross; and College: The Musical, which was later selected for a production with the New York Musical Theatre Festival where the authors, Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola, won the NYMF award for Excellence In Writing (Lyrics).

ZOE SARNAK (Writer) is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where her first show, The Quad, was produced in 2009. In addition to numerous concert/cabaret features and performances with her band, TheWD, Sarnak has written two new musicals including A Lasting Impression, and Mixtape, which will be featured in Silent Street Productions 2011/2012 season.

AMY ROGERS (Director) is a tenured Associate Professor of Musical Theater at Pace University where she created the BFA Musical Theatre degree program.  Originally from Canada, Amy received her degree in musical theatre from Arizona State University, and her MFA from San Diego State University.  NYC directing credits include: Carousel, College: The Musical, Ragtime, The Wild Party (Lippa), Little Women and Violet. Amy has assisted director Lonny Price on Can-Can and Kismet at Encores at City Center, Candide with the New York Philharmonic and the Emmy Award winning Passion for Live at Lincoln Center.

ROBERT MEFFE (Music Director) is a professional music director, pianist, orchestrator, and vocal coach. On Broadway he was the Associate Conductor of Little Women as well as Les Miserables for the last six years of its run. Off-Broadway: Violet, The Prince and the Pauper, and Gutenberg! The Musical!. He was the Music Director for the National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and has played keyboards for Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, and Bombay Dreams.  Meffe is the Director of Music for the Musical Theater Program at Pace University.

About Dyson College of Arts and Science’s Performing Arts Programs at Pace University:

Undergraduate: Dyson’s Performing Arts Department (PAD) offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Acting and in Musical Theater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts with specialized focuses in Acting, Directing, Commercial Dance or Design/Technical Theater. On average, there are 1,000 applicants for every 100 new openings each year. PAD presents over 50 performances every year. Performance spaces range from the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Schaeberle (black box) Theater, and Studio 501, home to many student-directed productions.

Graduate: The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, also located in Dyson College, is the only MFA (Acting, Directing and Playwriting) theatre program officially sanctioned by the legendary Actors Studio (co-presidents Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino). All MFA students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series Inside the Actors Studio (taped at Pace’s Schimmel Theater and open to students), hosted by James Lipton, Dean Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Actors Studio Drama School.

About Pace University: For 105 years, Pace University has educated 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.

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Hispanic Executive: “Top Scholar” Sergio Castillo, The Actors Studio Drama School (MFA ’11)

The July/August issue of Hispanic Executive explores the leaders in today’s Hispanic community that elicit change – such as “Top Scholar” pick Sergio Castillo (MFA ’11).

Here are highlights from a full-page interview with “Top Scholar” Sergio Castillo which appears in the July/August issue of Hispanic Executive (see pages 11 and 13): 

When looking at MFA programs, why did you choose the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University?

I always wanted to go to New York and study there.  One of the reasons I chose this program is because of Delia Salvi, a woman I studied with during my undergrad at UCLA.  She was an alumni of the Actors Studio and one of the strongest acting teachers I have ever had.  I also remember watching Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton when I was young, and being inspired by everyone he interviewed.  Another thing that attracted me to this school is its commitment to the teachings of Lee Strasberg.  I think all of the great actors of modern America came out of this tradition of teaching.

What do you like about your program?

I think the program really tests each student and his or her talents.  Inevitably, it helps the artist discover things about himself. It demands you to be truthful and explore your own character.  The program forces you to ask questions about yourself and reality that you wouldn’t normally ask, and it is through this exploration that truthful forms of humanity come out.  Overall, I think it is the intimacy of the program that is appealing to me.

After completing the MFA program at Pace University, what do you hope to do?

I hope to work as an actor, writer, and director.  Right now, I am actually planning to direct a show for the New York Fringe Festival.  I am very much committed to doing theater, but I hope to occasionally do some film.

Fresh Air from WHYY (NPR): “Bradley Cooper: A Wild ‘Hangover’ Set In Bangkok”

Bradley Cooper discusses his reunion with most of the original cast for “The Hangover Part II,” his Actors Studio Drama School MFA program pre-requisite audition scene with a Carmelite priest, and his “incredible teacher” Elizabeth Kemp – who taught him to relax.

“The idea of being in front of people terrified me,” Bradley Cooper told FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies in a recent interview.  “That said, I always knew I wanted to be an actor. ”

DAVIES: … After you had some success in your career, you went back and did a guest appearance with James Lipton and the Actors Studio.

Mr. COOPER: That’s right, yeah.

DAVIES: And I’ve watched that, and you’re – it’s a very emotional reunion for you.

Mr. COOPER: Yeah, it really is.

DAVIES: And what was interesting that you said that your teacher there, Elizabeth Kemp I believe, you could almost – you had trouble getting the words out, but I believe you said that in her class was the first time you ever felt comfortable.

Mr. COOPER: Yes, she taught me how to relax. Yeah, that’s true. She’s incredible. And I was so happy to be able to – for people to even hear that, people in the audience and for you to hear that because she’s really an incredible teacher.

She was my basic technique teacher. It was a three-year program. And that year was all about using what has happened in your life as tools to enter into, do an imaginary circumstance and play an imaginary character.

And I thought: Oh, you mean, like, all these insecurities that I have, all of these things that I thought or things I’d have to hide are actually ammunition? They’re actually, you know, nutrition for this work. It was mind-blowing.

Omaha World-Herald: “Nebraskan to graduate from N.Y. Actors Studio”

Lincoln native Melissa Rosenberger will graduate this month from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City.

Rosenberger’s family will travel to New York to see her repertory season performances in “Gypsy,” “Fool for Love” and “Dutchman” for her thesis.

Actress Melissa Rosenberger, 35, won a coveted place at the Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) at Pace University in 2008.

ASDS is the only officially sanctioned master’s degree program of the Actors Studio. 

Founded in 1947, the Actors Studio has had many illustrious graduates, including fellow Nebraskan Marlon Brando. Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino are its co-presidents. Manhattan Repertory Theatre One-Act Play Competition 2011 Features “CRIMINAL MISCHIEF” by Ellen Orchid, ASDS MFA ’09 (Playwright); Starring Melinda Graham, ASDS MFA ’10 (Acting)

This Spring, Manhattan Repertory Theatre will be presenting 36 new plays featuring some of this country’s finest playwrights, actors and directors in a theatrical celebration of new work – MRT’s ONE ACT PLAY COMPETITION 2011.

Teaming up on May 21-24 are two Actors Studio Drama School MFA graduates: Ellen Orchid (’09, Playwright -pictured) and Melinda Graham (’10, Acting) in the courtroom drama “Criminal Mischief.”

Ellen Orchid (Actors Studio Drama School MFA ’09, Playwright) debuts her somewhat autobiographical play, a courtroom drama with comic moments, at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s 2011 One-Act Play Competition, May 21-24. Starring former classmate Melinda Graham (Actors Studio Drama School MFA ’10, Acting), Criminal Mischief  is about a widowed mother of two who is taken for quite a ride by her new boyfriend…and the wife he hid from her.

Criminal Mischief will be performed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, 303 W. 42nd Street at 8th Avenue, on the third floor. Show times are Saturday, May 21 at 9 p.m.; Sunday, May 22 at 5 p.m.; and Tuesday, May 24 at 9 p.m.

The show is part of a one-act play competition, and two other plays will be performed at the same time. Reservations are required, tickets are $20 and the phone number is 646-329-6588.

NY Daily News: “Former U.S. Open ball boy makes great Bollywood lead in ‘When Harry Tries to Marry'”

Two years ago, Rahul Rai was working as a U.S. Open ball boy (three years running!) and dancing with the Bollywood Performance Arts school. Fate served him the opportunity of a lifetime, however, after director Nayan Padrai saw the troupe perform and cast the Pace student as the lead in his new movie “When Harry Tries to Marry.”

 “I don’t know what he {Director Nayan Padrai} saw … but the ball started to roll,” says Rahul Rai, 20, who had no acting experience beyond a couple of commercials he’d done as a kid. “I was just in the right place at the right time, and it changed my whole plan.”

Perhaps Padrai recognized the striking similarities between Rai and his character, Harry, a Indian-American college student scarred by his parents’ divorce who opts for an arranged marriage instead of dating in New York City.  Naturally, things get complicated when he starts falling for one of his longtime friends, and ­hilarity ensues.

“He’s very structured,” explains Rai. “He has this rule book in his mind that he always has to follow, and if anything deviates from that rule book, he freaks out.”

The Pace sophomore shares that methodical mentality. He’s majoring in math, with minors in acting and physics (“I’m a little crazy,” he admits) just in case the whole movie star dream falls through.

Click here to read more as to how Rai juggles his budding acting career and schoolwork …  and learn if he has found Ms. Right as yet. “A career in acting”

Although other members of her family have had artistic talents, Actors Studio Drama School MFA Candidate Sarah Jessica Anfora said she is the first who will try to make a living at it. “I’m going to start doing a lot of auditions,” she said.

It’s currently The Actors’ Studio Drama School at Pace University’s 2011 repertory season, which is designed to introduce 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. 
Sarah Jessica Anfora just completed several days of performances in which she played parts from “Gypsy” in the role of Louise.
In an article in the, this Bayonne, NJ native revealed that some of her favorite roles at ASDS include “Welcome to the Moon” (Shirley), “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Stella), “Hills Like White Elephants” (The Girl), “Summer and Smoke” (Alma), and “Proof” (Catherine). Other favorite roles include “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Mary), “Cabaret” (Sally Bowles), “Godspell” (Jesus), and “Into the Woods” (The Witch).
When Anfora isn’t acting or singing, you can probably find her practicing her “downward facing dog.” 
“Yoga is the other love of my life,” she said.

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.”

Fox 5 (WNYW-TV NY): “The $1,000 Haircut”

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a haircut?

Desiree Elle, an Actors Studio Drama School ’11 MFA Candidate (Acting), received a $1,000 haircut courtesy of Italian hair guru Rossano Ferretti … just in time for The Actors Studio Drama School’s Repertory Season, April 13 – May 14.

It’s been Rossano Ferretti’s dream since he was 14 years old and living in a tiny town in Parma, Italy, to one day open a hair salon in New York City. 

Growing up between Paris and Montreal,  Desiree Elle’s dream was to move to New York City and pursue an MFA in Acting at The Actors Studio Drama School. 

Ferretti’s and Elle’s worlds came together recently over a $1,000 haircut in a salon on Madison Avenue, caught on camera by Fox 5.

The Washington Post (2): “Bradley Cooper of THE HANGOVER plays leading man in LIMITLESS” AND “Bradley Cooper gets weepy on Monday episode of INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO”

“He’s going to continue to rise. He’s an amazing actor,” says James Lipton, dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, where Bradley Cooper earned his MFA. Lipton also happens to be host of Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” which will feature Cooper in an emotional appearance Monday – the alumnus gets verklempt several times within the first 15 minutes alone – that marks the first time a graduate has become a guest on the show.

“He has already risen to the top fraction of a percent of American actors, and I don’t think there’s any way, short of turning into Charlie Sheen and self-destructing, that he will not continue to progress,” Lipton says.

It has taken Bradley Cooper, a 2000 graduate of The Actors Studio Drama School’s MFA program, almost a decade to finally star as an overnight success.

Following years of playing supporting roles in TV shows like “Alias” and movies like “Wedding Crashers,” Cooper’s moment has arrived.  After his box-office success in “The Hangover,” Hollywood doors opened wide … including those which led to the psychological thriller, “Limitless.”   The flood of publicity about the movie opening Friday, March 18 includes two articles  in The Washington Post by Jen Charney appearing two days apart – Saturday, March 12 and Monday, March 14.