Two stars of hit CW series Riverdale joined the New York Film Academy (NYFA) for a sneak-peek screening of an upcoming episode and a lively discussion with the students of the Musical Theater and Acting for Film departments. Actors Ashleigh Murray, who plays rocker Josie McCoy, and Casey Cott, who plays groundbreaking character Kevin Keller, shared their insights on the show and the industry.
The episode, entitled “Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember,” adopts a musical format as the characters rehearse and perform Carrie: The Musical at their high school. The musical is the exact show the students are currently rehearsing at the NYFA Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT), which was recently profiled in Variety as a leader in preparing professionals for the medium. This gave the stars and the students common ground for a more in-depth and meaningful discussion of acting technique.
Ashleigh Murray praised the conservatory model of training, stating that it allowed actors a higher level of concentration on their work. “Sometimes focusing just on what you want is the best way to go,” she said, “Because you can just let your right brain take over.”
Casey Cott agreed. “You’re in a unique spot right now to adjust the way you think about art and the way you think about acting,” he told the students, “and to put your bias aside whenever you go see a movie, a TV show, or a play, you can think about it unbiased. Don’t think of it as good or not. Think about what it is, and how you can adjust what you do to fit into the style of what that is.”
In addition to her work on Riverdale, Murray has appeared on Younger, WB show The Following, and Netflix original film Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, along with a national commercial campaign for Coca-Cola and Lady Gaga’s 2013 MTV VMA promo video. Cott’s credits include Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, where he played Lucas Hull, and 2019 drama All the Little Things We Kill. He has also appeared in numerous stage productions, including Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Parade, and The Prince of Egypt.
After the talk, PCMT Creative Director Kristy Cates said, “We are so lucky to have had Ashleigh and Casey speak to our students after the screening. They gave wonderful advice, were extremely gracious, and provided great insight into the business. As creative director of our program, it is such a thrill to be able to facilitate such unique experiences for my students. Special thanks to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation for making this possible!”