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  • NYFA Instructor Paul Warner to Direct 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards

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    Paul Warner

    Paul Warner directing Liev Schreiber with Alison Pill and David Michalek Photo Credit Mark Kornbluth

    Award-winning film and stage director Paul Warner has been commissioned to direct the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards, as well as to produce the Academy’s music documentary film For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation In The Visible).

    The Academy has launched a campaign to back the completion of the film For Which WE Stand and live production of the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards slated to take place MLK weekend January 16th – 20th in Las Vegas, NV.

    Warner has directed more than fifty stage productions and numerous films, including the award-winning In the Name of the Father as well as his feature Fall Time, starring Mickey Rourke, Stephen Baldwin, and David Arquette, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for The Grand Jury Prize. In the Name of the Father also premiered at Sundance and garnered the Cine Golden Eagle, the Gold Hugo Award from the Chicago International Film Festival, first place at The British International Film and Video Festival, and best cinematography at The Atlanta Film and Video Festival. Warner has directed Fall Time, with “sadistic relish,” says the Hollywood Reporter. TV Guide refers to Warner’s work as “more repellently scary than most horror films.” Most recently, he directed the world premiere of a new dance-theatre opera, Women: The War Within, composed by Du Yun with a libretto by Matthew Maguire, at The Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City featuring the Chinese Opera Star Qian Yi and New York City Principal ballerina Wendy Whelan. He produced the film The Puritans, directed by Robinson, which has been the recipient of numerous honors on the festival circuit.

    In 2011, Warner directed the actors and served as Executive Creative Consultant for acclaimed photographer and visual artist David Michalek’s Portraits in Dramatic Time–a series of slow motion cinematic shorts featuring seminal performers of stage and screen, including: Holly Hunter, Patti Lupone, Lily Taylor, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Wendy Whelan, and William H. Macy, as well as seminal multi-disciplinary international artists. Portraits premiered at The Lincoln Center Theatre Festival. The LA Weekly has referred to Warner’s direction of Nelson Rodriques’ The Wedding Dress as “A phantasmagorical odyssey–a nonstop, mind-bending roller-coaster ride that is as haunting as a nightmare, while also being a touching affirmation of life.”

    paul warner alan rickman

    Paul Warner with Alan Rickman on Portraits In Dramatic Time

    Next, Warner will direct a new feature film, Reclaiming Eden, co-written with Sean Robinson, which is to begin principal photography in the summer of 2014. Warner has won numerous awards and fellowships including a Statue Award and a Works in Process Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, which enabled him to serve as The Artistic Associate/Resident Director of New York’s Second Stage Theatre and The Baryshnikov Arts Center, as well as a directing fellowship from the Drama League of New York. He is a graduate of Harvard University and has an MFA in filmmaking from The American Film Institute. Paul currently teaches directing courses at the New York Film Academy.

    Paul is thrilled to be working alongside his longtime creative colleague, Sean Robinson, who will direct the documentary as well as Chairwoman/CEO Diedra Meredith, whose exceptional leadership at LARA has brought about enormous changes for LGBTQ artists that will be felt for decades to come.

    Warner says: “I am honored to both direct the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards and produce For Which WE Stand as I feel strongly that the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts’ mission is essential to the LGBTQ equality movement,” says Warner. “While experiencing considerable gains, there has also been an escalation of bullying and continued discrimination, so the pursuit of equality is far from over. Of equal importance, I am excited to collaborate with music and media artists from all disciplines whose passion for and undying dedication to their craft will shape our future cultural and political landscape.”

    The film will feature live performances from the OUTmusic Awards with behind the scenes footage, interviews with pioneers, recording artists, activists, industry executives and various creative industry professionals.

    Diedra Meredith, Chairwoman/CEO of LARA says, “I am equally honored to have Sean Robinson and Paul Warner on board. This film and the live production of the OUTmusic Awards is integral to the Academy’s mission to document and archive our movement and history. Our goal is to create more opportunities for LGBTQ recording artists and ensure that Queer Music Culture will continue to be included as an integral platform in music and media history.”

    Women: The War Within a new dance-theatre opera by Du Yun, Matthew Maguire, and Paul Warner from Paul Warner on Vimeo.

     

     

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    September 30, 2013 • Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Musical Theatre • Views: 6913

  • Musical Theatre Students Showcase Their Talent at June Havoc Theatre

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    NYFA Musical Theatre

    photo by Hugo Garcia

    So far so good! Much has happened since the last entry. On September 6th, the New York Film Academy‘s one-year Musical Theatre group performed an excellent showcase. Directed by Chad Larabee, choreographed by Michelle Potterf, and accompanied by Anna Ebbesen on piano and Dan Weiner on drums, the students rocked that showcase! Anna is our Music Supervisor and Musical Director for the show.

    Carl Danielsen

    Carl Danielsen

    It is a beautiful day in New York City. The air is crisp, the sun is bright and the views from the fourth floor capture the sailboats gliding along the Hudson. WE HAVE OFFICIALLY MOVED TO THE 4TH FLOOR! We were working on the 5th floor temporarily, but now we’re downstairs in the new Musical Theatre home and it is glorious. The second year performers are practicing choreography in the new dance room, smiling and gleefully mastering their steps. Others are in adjacent rooms, working on vocal style; and Isaac Byrne is holding a class in Meisner technique in the film acting room. The place is alive with music, fun and excellent work.

    Last night, the assistant director of Disney’s new Broadway bound musical, Aladdin, came and gave a free class for our recent alums. Eight talented alumni gathered in one of our new performance studios and Nathan Brewer ran them through a mock audition for Seussical. Nathan has worked extensively with the director Marcia Milgrom – including the New York Theatreworks production of Seussical. Happily, at the end of the workshop, he gave all of them the contact for the casting director of the Theatreworks national tour of the show and gave them permission to say he had heard them sing and was sending them.

    This is a new element of the program that I’m hoping to install in a more permanent way. Alumni workshops to help with bridging to the profession world. In addition, I am hoping to have Nathan teach a “Director’s Perspective” class for the second year final semester students. Getting up-to-date rehearsal methods and learning about the director’s craft will give our graduates a sizable advantage!

    Mark Price

    Mark Price

    Finally, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to two of our brand new faculty members: Mark Price and Carl Danielsen. Carl is a multi-talented man of the Musical Theatre world. He is a composer, a first class pianist, a song and dance man, and one of the few Americans to work at the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. He is teaching Shakespeare for us and helping with accompaniment duties.

    Mark Price is also a real gem. He is a much appreciated and in-demand performer with nearly ten Broadway credits to his name. Chief among them are roles in Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Rocky Horror Show, and much much more. He has taught at AMDA, The Performing Arts Project, and Heifetz Institute. He will be teaching performance lab for us.

    We welcome Mark and Carl into the fold and look forward to the great studio training they will provide.

    Thanks for checking in with the blog.  Stay tuned for more soon.

    -Mark Olsen, Chair of Musical Theatre

     

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    September 19, 2013 • Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 6116

  • An Update From Musical Theatre Chair Mark Olsen

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    I have finally come up for air and have some time to write a few words to share more of the amazing whirlwind of joy that we have experienced this summer. Many of the faculty who were away on summer professional gigs have now begun to return, while others in pre-Broadway tryouts are beginning new rounds of rehearsals. The second year students are in the early planning stages for their Movie Musical and are continuing to hone their audition, vocal performance, acting, and dance skills. The second semester group, growing by leaps and bounds, will take a break from their intense schedule to see the Broadway musical Kinky Boots tomorrow. (As a side note, one of my former students, Caroline Bowman, was in the show until recently when she left to play Evita in the national tour.) Soon, the second semester students will be preparing to put together the materials for their end of semester showcase that will be performed at the June Havoc Theatre in September.

    Our summer high school group was the biggest and the most talented group we have seen in a long time. Their final showcase, directed by faculty member Chad Larabee, with music directed by Kevin White, was a wonderful celebration. In this photo you can sense the joy and authentic exuberance.

    Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 10.56.33 AM

    Our four-week adult intensive was an extraordinary collection of talented performers from around the world. They all recognized early on that they were a special group capable of creating memorable moments of excellence and making life long friends. Their work ethic was infectious and the whole academy could feel their focus and dedication. Their end of term performance, directed by D.J. Salisbury and music directed by Daniel Lincoln, was also an extraordinary celebration that allowed for an amazing display of talent and growth. This photo, taken moments after they received their diplomas, captures their uninhibited spirit.

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    Joining us once again was our much-anticipated Pastudio group from Buenas Aires, Argentina. Their leader, Cris Hansen, has reason to be proud since they continue the tradition of bringing serious, open, and receptive students. The group worked hard for a full week and on the eighth day presented a very enjoyable “open class.” They are pictured here with Mr. Hansen, and their Musical Theatre teachers Frank Lindquist, Sara Antkowiak, and Neva Rae Powers who also directed their showing.

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    All in all, a very successful summer filled with great memories, good times, excellent performances, and the simple joy of doing what we love and loving what we do.

    Cheers,

    Mark Olsen, New York Film Acdemy Musical Theatre Chair

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    August 14, 2013 • Musical Theatre • Views: 5054

  • NYFA Instructor Wins Big at Fringe Theater Festival

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    New York Film Academy instructor Anastasia Coon, who teaches voice in the acting program and Public Speaking in LAS, scored big time at the recent LA Fringe Theatre Festival for Gracie and Rose. Gracie and Rose live off the land love off the grid in 1950′s Wyoming – where wild horses run free and appearances are deceiving. Gracie lives as George so she and Rose can be together. The play brings about the question, is true love in the body worth the cost of living a lie in the world?
    Here are some of the accolades for Gracie and Rose:

    Winner | Best of Fringe Extension
    Nominee | Best Solo Show (Top 5 out of 45 solo shows)

    gracie and rose
    • “Her Gracie and Rose makes Boys Don’t Cry look like children’s theatre!” Kristina Wong, Award Winning Solo Performer
    • “Poetry returns to the theatre. Don’t miss Gracie and Rose, this is what theatre is meant to do.” -Sheana Ochoa, SLAM
    • Ms. Magazine’s Top 3 Picks of the Fringe
    • “This is a timely play about a current issue that is only now being resolved – 50 years after the time the play is set. I highly recommend this play for everyone who believes in equality.” -Bob Leggett, Examiner.com
    • “A great script, a powerful performance rooted in strong character work, and visceral imagery merge into a tour de force production that exemplifies what one-person theatre should be.” -Gregory Crafts, Managing Director of Theatre Unleashed 
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    August 12, 2013 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 6042

  • The Brazilian Invasion

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    DeboraRodrigues&AlDanuzio2

    Over the years, the New York Film Academy has welcomed many talented actors and filmmakers from Brazil. This past year has provided much of the same. Acting for Film student, Al Danuzio, has worked as an actor in film, TV, and musical theater, working for Latin companies like Telemundo-NBC. The 24 year old actor, from Maranhão, has lived in the United States for five years now and hopes to eventually return to São Luis after he completes his studies at NYFA in 2015. “My goal is to be able to bring great productions from there (US) over here,” says Danuzio. “Bring professionals from there to here, produce things here to take there.”

    When asked about his experience at NYFA, Al says, “[NYFA] The best decision I ever made in my professional life. I feel I am being prepared by some of the top professionals in the film industry – people who are actually working. Also, I am surrounded by people who take the craft as a serious profession.”

    Al has also worked as an Assistant Producer of the New York Casting of La Voz Kids for Telemundo-NBC and El Factor X for Mundo Fox – both Spanish versions of the reality shows The Voice and The X Factor.

    This September, he plans to shoot a few more films, including How to Kill My Boyfriend, with NYFA director Alfonso Perugini, and Bom Dia with fellow NYFA Brazilian actress, Debora Rodrigues.

    Since coming over to study Acting for Film a year ago, Debora has acted in around 37 movies, booked two roles in plays, received an award for Best Short at the “Best Shorts Festival” in California, and performed at venues like Dixon Place, The Players Club, and Ripley Studios.

    “NYFA has been an amazing experience where you can make a lot of movies, meet a lot of people with the same interests, learn how to act on a movie set, and literally live your dream!” exclaims Debora. “Since starting, I have raised the bar on my overall goals. I will continue to work hard and apply everything that I’ve learned in class to the real world.”

    The two recently attended this year’s Brazilian Film Festival in New York City. The annual event honors the best and the brightest of Brazil’s innovative new cinema. It brings together Brazilian celebrities, actors, musicians, directors, producers, and, needless to say, is a terrific networking opportunity. “The quality and quantity of Brazilian productions have increased a lot in the last decade,” says Danuzio.

    Al and Debora are just two of the many talented actors, filmmakers and performers that have honed their craft at the New York Film Academy over the years. We look forward to meeting many more talents in our workshops in Rio and trips to São Paulo, as well as those who venture out to our LA and NYC locations.

     

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  • A Word From Musical Theatre Chair Mark Olsen

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    Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 11.27.56 AM

    The following is a post from New York Film Academy‘s Chair of the Musical Theatre Conservatory Program, Mark Olsen. Mark is a professional actor, author, and director – currently working as a movement consultant on two Broadway shows. His students are working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in major films, television shows, and in regional theatres, both here and abroad.

    First, it is important to recognize that the previous Chair, VP Boyle, worked diligently and with great verve over the past four and a half years to bring this program to a level that is attracting such extraordinary young talent. I am honored to be given the task to not only serve that original mission, and greatly energized to take the program boldly forward. With the great faculty we have and the amazing students from all over the world, we are poised to do great things.

    I find it very interesting and appropriate that as I assumed this new position, numerous students of mine were joining other former students and fulfilling their dreams of performing on the Broadway stage. (And in Tony nominated productions no less!) In addition, one student just got the lead in the national tour of Evita and another just informed me yesterday that she was cast in the upcoming musical, Soul Doctor. Add to that the fact that a few months ago I was brought on to do some movement consulting for Cicely Tyson, who is starring on Broadway in Trip to Bountiful, and it certainly seems like this is my special Broadway season.

    However, what I really need to share with you is the incredibly big news: We have moved into our glorious new building in Battery Park! We are inhabiting the fifth floor for now, while the fourth floor finished its last stages of construction. The studios are extraordinary, the dance rooms exquisite, the views of the Hudson bay – breathtaking.

    Mark at NYFA doorwayOf course, I could not have made this transition and taken on the sudden task of this new position if it weren’t for the hard work and quick study of the new Musical Theatre coordinator, Megan Nilon. Together we have kept the ship steady and have navigated the various storms to land us safely and happily into our elegant new facility.

    Kevin Duda, who is in Book of Mormon, just recently directed the Movie Musical for the second year class who graduated last Friday. It was a rousing success. After final edits, it will be submitted to festivals thither and yon and the amazingly good looking cast will have that credential, great footage and photos for their professional reels.

    All in all it has been a terrific ride so far. We are experiencing a lull for a few weeks, with only one class in residence, but we all thrill with anticipation because July promises to be quite a mash up of Musical Theatre activity. When that hits, the summer season will kick off in earnest. All hands on deck, dedicated to giving the very best training to these students, these wonderful young singers, dancers, actors.

    Let’s make some good magic!

    -Mark Olsen

    If you’d like to learn more about NYFA’s Musical Theatre Conservatory Program, click HERE!

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    June 12, 2013 • Musical Theatre • Views: 6803

  • NYFA Welcomes New Musical Theatre Chair

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    Mark in Times Square

    The New York Film Academy is proud to announce the new Chair of Musical Theatre and Film Conservatory Program, Mark Olsen! Mark currently teaches at the Juilliard School and Columbia University; and is the former Head of Graduate Acting at Penn State University. He is a professional actor, author, and director – currently working as a movement consultant on two Broadway shows. His students are working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in major films, television shows, and in regional theatres, both here and abroad.

    Mark brings his own brand of dedication and expertise to the Musical Theatre program and is focused on building upon the energy and programming, established by VP Boyle, to help evolve the conservatory to the next “octave” of training. To those students who are currently enrolled, he looks forward to meeting you and hearing from you in the coming weeks. To those hopefuls who have fallen in love with the musical theatre but have yet to apply to the program, he would like to extend a welcome hand.

    NYFA’s Musical Theatre Program is poised to become a major force in the field. If you’re interested in embarking on this new and exciting journey, click here to learn more!

     

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    March 22, 2013 • Musical Theatre • Views: 5229

  • Gingerbread House

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    Coming off the premiere of Lifeless at the Big Apple Film Festival, the Musical Theatre department at the New York Film Academy has announced its latest original movie musical short film, Gingerbread House. The musical film will be directed by VP Boyle and feature an original score with lyrics by Rob Rokicki.

    Originally from Colorado, Rob is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Actor’s Equity, and alum of the Tony award winning BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. As an actor, Rob was featured in the Evita 25th Anniversary Tour directed by Hal Prince & Larry Fuller. His musical, Love, NY (co-written with Mike Ruby) won the 2009 American Harmony Award and was presented at New World Stages. His latest album, I’m Ready: The Songs of Rob Rokicki is available on iTunes and Amazon.
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    November 26, 2012 • Musical Theatre • Views: 5228

  • Spend Winter Break in Rio Studying Filmmaking and Musical Theatre

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    If you’re looking to escape the cold this Winter Break and you’re pursuing a career in the arts, then look no further. In association with Instituto Cal De Arte E Cultura, the New York Film Academy will be bringing its hands-on intensive 4-week Filmmaking Workshop and 4-week Musical Theatre Workshop to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil! The workshop will run from Jan 7, 2013 – Jan 28, 2013.

    In case you didn’t already know, Rio de Janeiro is a bustling and exciting city known for its incredible vistas and its sexy beaches including Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Rio’s yearly carnival celebrations in February are world-renown. In addition to Rio’s two most famous landmarks, Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain, other fantastic sights include the Sambódromo, the parade avenue with permanent fixed grandstands created specifically for Carnival, and the Tijuca Rain Forest.

    Enrollment
    The New York Film Academy has an open enrollment. Serious students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply. No previous experience is required. However, all New York Film Academy Workshops are extremely intensive. Students who enroll should be prepared to live and breathe their work during these workshops. Given the nature of filmmaking and the necessity of working in crews, students must be willing to devote themselves not only to their own projects, but to their classmates’ projects as well. As space is limited, we recommend early application to guarantee a place in the workshop of your choice.

    Language
    All courses are taught in English. However, interested students should take the opportunity to work on their conversational Portuguese during the program. This will enrich their understanding and enjoyment of Brazil.

    Daily Schedule
    Every workshop is full-time, with classes or shooting organized nearly every day of the week. The schedules are rigorous; however, students will have the opportunity to explore Rio de Janeiro.

    Equipment
    Students in the Filmmaking Workshops shoot High-Definition cameras and portable Lowel lighting packages for every shoot. All students edit digitally using Final Cut Pro on Macintosh computers. The equipment our Film Academy students use is comparable to that of the leading degree programs in the United States.

    Instructors
    In all our locales, our eclectic faculty for our Filmmaking workshops and Musical Theater workshops is comprised of experienced instructors who are professional filmmakers and Broadway musical theater actors. Many of our filmmaking instructors have Master of Fine Arts degrees from the most prestigious film programs in the United States. These include New York University, Columbia University, the University of Southern California, and UCLA. Our Musical Theater faculty has equally impressive credentials, and their Broadway experience allows students to learn from people who understand the requirements to work at the highest level.

    If you’re interested in signing up, CLICK HERE.

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    November 7, 2012 • Filmmaking, Musical Theatre, Study Abroad • Views: 5390

  • Musical Theatre Master Class in Brazil

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    Rio is the third largest market for Musical Theatre, behind New York and London. After witnessing the talent on hand, we know why. The New York Film Academy had a wonderful time in Brazil, auditioning actors and meeting future Brazilian filmmakers. “I was amazed at the level of talent and enthusiasm that I found in Brazil,” said Director of Acting Admissions, Roger Del Pozo. ”Everyone was passionate and ready to advance to the next level.” In addition to his work at NYFA, Roger has been a casting director for over a decade, having casted many television commercials, as well as films, plays, voice-overs, video games, music videos and industrials for top casting companies and advertising agencies in New York City. This is Roger’s third trip so far to Brazil and based on the enthusiasm it will not be his last. “There are so many students I’m anxious to see enroll here in New York City.”

    “The United States, specifically New York and Los Angeles, is still the epicenter of the entertainment business. If you are looking to do film and theatre at the highest level, you have to try it in the U.S. Also, the level of faculty in NYC and LA is unsurpassed. All of our teachers are working professionally and that makes such a difference in terms of training and opportunity.” In fact, joining us along the journey was Broadway actress, Kristy Cates. Kristy taught an exclusive Musical Theatre Workshop at the prestigious CAL Casa das Artes de Laranjeiras in Rio. She is best known for her role of Elphaba in the Broadway, Chicago, and National Tour of Wicked. She holds the honor of being only the third person to perform the role on Broadway. Prior to playing the role full time, she was in the Original Broadway cast as the understudy to TONY winner, Idina Menzel and can be heard singing several solo lines on the cast recording. “Because I’ve gotten to work with several Brazillians in my time at NYFA, I was expecting very exuberant and welcoming students,” said Kristy. “I was certainly not disappointed!”

    Kristy auditioned twelve students who were completely prepared to get into the work. On hand was an audience of approximately 75 observers who actively watched, asked questions, and even participated in the vocal warm up. Together with the group, Kristy explored vocal technique and creating a sound that is not only unique to each individual, but is commercially viable and healthy. She then went on to storytelling within their musical selections, discussing how their individual interpretation of each song is what truly sets them apart from all others. At the end of the class, the group was treated to a performance by Alessandra Maestrini, a well known Brazillian artist and an extremely gracious human being. As a special encore, Kristy sang one of her popular tunes from Wicked, “Defying Gravity.”

    We’d like to thank our hosts at CAL who were so accommodating and we hope to return soon! If people are interested in meeting with representatives at the New York Film Academy, send an e-mail with your information to brazil@nyfa.edu.

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    October 3, 2012 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 4829