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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Celebrates Wins & Performances at the 2019 Tony Awards

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    On June 9, New York Film Academy (NYFA) was proud to see several members of the NYFA community and their work showcased and honored this year at the 2019 Tony Awards. The 73rd edition of Broadway’s biggest night was held at Radio City Music Hall, with musical Hadestown crowned standout of the night, earning eight total wins, including Best Musical.

    2019 Tony Awards
    A viewing party for the Tony Awards was held at the NYFA Theatre at our New York campus, where Musical Theatre students were joined by other NYFA students to watch the ceremony on the big screen. The crowd of enthusiastic young artists cheered the winners and sang along with several of the performances.

    James T. Lane, a faculty member of the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA), performed live at the ceremony as a principal cast member of the Tony-nominated revival Kiss Me, Kate. Lane’s Broadway credits include King Kong, The Scottsboro Boys, and A Chorus Line.

    Dance Area Head Michelle Potterf was thrilled to see a NYFA instructor on the big stage, saying, “James T. Lane is an amazing Broadway performer and PCMT at NYFA is extremely lucky to have him as a teacher and a choreographer!”

    Potterf added, “Students in the program had the opportunity to view James in his element, as a Broadway Star … What an amazing experience!”

    2019 Tony Awards

    In addition to Kiss Me, Kate, the cast of Beetlejuice: The Musical, one of Broadway’s newest hit musicals, also performed on the Radio City stage. Catie Davis, who has Guest Directed for PCMT at NYFA—helming last February’s production of #MARS as part of our 2019 Winter New Works Series—is the Associate Director of Beetlejuice.

    The NYFA community celebrated some Tony Award wins this year as well. Bryan Cranston collected his second career Tony, winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play in the stage adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Network. Cranston spoke with New York Film Academy students as part of our NYFA Guest Speaker Series in 2016.

    Tootsie, another successful adaptation of a Hollywood film, came away with two Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical for Robert Horn and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Santino Fontana. PCMT at NYFA instructor Dave Solomon served as Associate Director on the hit musical.

    “We’re incredibly proud of Dave’s work on this show,” says NYFA Chair of Musical Theatre Mark Olsen. “Adapting such a popular film is always a challenge, and this creative team has done a phenomenal job. The show is very deserving of all the accolades its received.”

    2019 Tony Awards
    The Cher Show
    also picked up two Tonys for Stephanie J. Block (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical) and Bob Mackie (Best Costume Design of a Musical). Travis Greisler, the Associate Director on The Cher Show, has Guest Directed the PCMT at NYFA musicals Nine (2017) and Joni (2016). 

    New York Film Academy congratulates the winners and performers of the 2019 Tony Awards and is delighted to see its community members involved with Broadway’s biggest and most celebrated night! 

    Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners & nominees:

    Best Play
    Choir Boy
    The Ferryman – WINNER
    Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ink
    What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Beetlejuice
    Hadestown – WINNER
    The Prom
    Tootsie

    Best Revival of a Play
    Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    The Boys in the Band – WINNER
    Burn This
    Torch Song
    The Waverly Gallery

    Best Revival of a Musical
    Kiss Me, Kate
    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER

    Best Book of a Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Dominique Morisseau)
    Beetlejuice (Scott Brown & Anthony King)
    Hadestown (Anaïs Mitchell)
    The Prom (Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin)
    Tootsie (Robert Horn) – WINNER

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
    Be More Chill (Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis)
    Beetlejuice (Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect)
    Hadestown (Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell) – WINNER
    The Prom (Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (Music: Adam Guettel)
    Tootsie (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
    Bryan Cranston, Network – WINNER
    Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Adam Driver, Burn This
    Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
    Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery – WINNER
    Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
    Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
    Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
    Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Santino Fontana, Tootsie – WINNER

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
    Beth Leavel, The Prom
    Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
    Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
    Bertie Carvel, Ink – WINNER
    Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
    Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
    Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
    Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
    Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird – WINNER
    Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ruth Wilson, King Lear

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
    André De Shields, Hadestown – WINNER
    Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
    Patrick Page, Hadestown
    Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
    Amber Gray, Hadestown
    Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
    Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER
    Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    Best Scenic Design of a Play
    Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Bunny Christie, Ink
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Jan Versweyveld, Network

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical
    Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Peter England, King Kong
    Rachel Hauck, Hadestown – WINNER
    Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    David Korins, Beetlejuice

    Best Costume Design of a Play
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Clint Ramos, Torch Song
    Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Best Costume Design of a Musical
    Michael Krass, Hadestown
    William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
    William Ivey Long, Tootsie
    Bob Mackie, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Lighting Design of a Play
    Neil Austin, Ink – WINNER
    Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
    Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical
    Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
    Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Bradley King, Hadestown – WINNER
    Peter Mumford, King Kong
    Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

    Best Sound Design of a Play
    Adam Cork, Ink
    Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Fitz Patton, Choir Boy – WINNER
    Nick Powell, The Ferryman
    Eric Sleichim, Network

    Best Sound Design of a Musical
    Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
    Peter Hylenski, King Kong
    Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown – WINNER

    Best Direction of a Play
    Rupert Goold, Ink
    Sam Mendes, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Ivo van Hove, Network
    George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

    Best Direction of a Musical
    Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown – WINNER
    Scott Ellis, Tootsie
    Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

    Best Choreography
    Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
    Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
    Denis Jones, Tootsie
    David Neumann, Hadestown
    Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – WINNER

    Best Orchestrations
    Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown – WINNER
    Simon Hale, Tootsie
    Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
    Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-Competitive Categories

    Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
    Rosemary Harris
    Terrence McNally
    Harold Wheeler
    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Judith Light

    Special Tony Awards
    Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
    Jason Michael Webb
    Marin Mazzie

    2019 Tony Award Tallies by Show
    Hadestown (8)
    The Ferryman (4)
    The Cher Show (2)
    Ink (2)
    Oklahoma! (2)
    Tootsie (2)
    Ain’t Too Proud (1)
    The Boys in the Band (1)
    Choir Boy (1)
    Network (1)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (1)
    The Waverly Gallery (1)

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    June 10, 2019 • Acting, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 498

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates Tony Nominations for Instructor Dave Solomon’s ‘Tootsie’

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    Tootsie, the Broadway musical adaptation of the popular 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman, earned a whopping 11 Tony Award nominations this season. Professional Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) instructor Dave Solomon is the Associate Director on the show.

    Tootsie began previews in March of 2019 and opened in April and tells the story of a talented but difficult actor who impersonates a woman to land a role. The show features a score by David Yazbek, Tony-award winning composer of The Band’s Visit, and a book by Robert Horn, writer of 13: The Musical.

    Tootsie‘s 11 Tony nominations include Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role, Best Costume Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.

    Tootsie
    “We’re incredibly proud of Dave’s work on this show,” says Mark Olsen, NYFA Chair of Musical Theatre. “Adapting such a popular film is always a challenge, and this creative team has done a phenomenal job. The show is very deserving of all the accolades it’s received.”

    The show is Solomon’s twelfth Broadway play. He was also the Associate Director on Side Show, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sunday in the Park with George, The Ritz, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, and Curtains. He also assisted Bill Condon on the films Mr. Holmes and Disney’s 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast. In addition, he will be directing the upcoming show Pump Up the Volume at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, which will open in April 2020.

    Solomon isn’t the only NYFA faculty celebrating this year’s nominations. PCMT at NYFA instructor James T. Lane is in the cast of the Kiss Me, Kate revival, which is up for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestration, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA Instructors James T. Lane and Dave Solomon on their shows’ success, and looks forward to seeing the winners announced on June 9!

    Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners and nominees:

    Best Play
    Choir Boy
    The Ferryman – WINNER
    Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ink
    What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Beetlejuice
    Hadestown – WINNER
    The Prom
    Tootsie

    Best Revival of a Play
    Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    The Boys in the Band – WINNER
    Burn This
    Torch Song
    The Waverly Gallery

    Best Revival of a Musical
    Kiss Me, Kate
    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER

    Best Book of a Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Dominique Morisseau)
    Beetlejuice (Scott Brown & Anthony King)
    Hadestown (Anaïs Mitchell)
    The Prom (Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin)
    Tootsie (Robert Horn) – WINNER

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
    Be More Chill (Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis)
    Beetlejuice (Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect)
    Hadestown (Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell) – WINNER
    The Prom (Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (Music: Adam Guettel)
    Tootsie (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
    Bryan Cranston, Network – WINNER
    Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Adam Driver, Burn This
    Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
    Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery – WINNER
    Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
    Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
    Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
    Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Santino Fontana, Tootsie – WINNER

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
    Beth Leavel, The Prom
    Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
    Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
    Bertie Carvel, Ink – WINNER
    Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
    Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
    Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
    Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
    Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird – WINNER
    Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ruth Wilson, King Lear

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
    André De Shields, Hadestown – WINNER
    Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
    Patrick Page, Hadestown
    Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
    Amber Gray, Hadestown
    Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
    Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER
    Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    Best Scenic Design of a Play
    Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Bunny Christie, Ink
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Jan Versweyveld, Network

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical
    Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Peter England, King Kong
    Rachel Hauck, Hadestown – WINNER
    Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    David Korins, Beetlejuice

    Best Costume Design of a Play
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Clint Ramos, Torch Song
    Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Best Costume Design of a Musical
    Michael Krass, Hadestown
    William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
    William Ivey Long, Tootsie
    Bob Mackie, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Lighting Design of a Play
    Neil Austin, Ink – WINNER
    Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
    Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical
    Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
    Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Bradley King, Hadestown – WINNER
    Peter Mumford, King Kong
    Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

    Best Sound Design of a Play
    Adam Cork, Ink
    Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Fitz Patton, Choir Boy – WINNER
    Nick Powell, The Ferryman
    Eric Sleichim, Network

    Best Sound Design of a Musical
    Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
    Peter Hylenski, King Kong
    Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown – WINNER

    Best Direction of a Play
    Rupert Goold, Ink
    Sam Mendes, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Ivo van Hove, Network
    George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

    Best Direction of a Musical
    Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown – WINNER
    Scott Ellis, Tootsie
    Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

    Best Choreography
    Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
    Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
    Denis Jones, Tootsie
    David Neumann, Hadestown
    Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – WINNER

    Best Orchestrations
    Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown – WINNER
    Simon Hale, Tootsie
    Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
    Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-Competitive Categories
    Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

    Rosemary Harris
    Terrence McNally
    Harold Wheeler

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Judith Light

    Special Tony Awards
    Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
    Jason Michael Webb
    Marin Mazzie

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    May 3, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 403

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Pierre Marais Tours Nation with ‘Aladdin’

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    South African actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre alum Pierre Marais has been cast in the national tour of the hit Disney Broadway musical Aladdin. Marais is the understudy for the titular role, the loveable street rat that first hit the screens in the House of Mouse’s 1992 animated classic.

    The Cape Town-born actor graduated from NYFA’s Two-Year Musical Theatre Conservatory in 2012, and has been working steadily in theatre ever since. He has starred in Rock of Ages, directed by Tony nominee Kristin Hanggi, as well as West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever in Connecticut. Critics also praised his 2018 performance in the national tour of A Chorus Line, saying “Pierre Marais plays Paul with a bittersweet wistfulness; his acting commands one of the most powerful scenes in a show famous for its music and dance.

    Marais credits his parents, both trapeze artists who met in the circus, with instilling him with a love of performing. “They were both huge inspirations for me growing up,” he said in an interview with HuffPost. “I spent a lot of time watching them train and training beside them. Learning trampoline, sword fighting, tumbling and how to hit the same mark every time were all reasons why I was able to start with stunts at a young age.”

    He began doing stunt work at age 16 with Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, and racked up a number of film credits in South Africa like The Wake of Death 2 alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior. Yet despite his success, he knew that if he wanted to have a long-term career, he needed to come to America. “I knew that to sustain that kind of career, I would eventually have to move to the USA, where there is just simply more work.”

    He credits his time at NYFA with helping him meet the right people to succeed in New York’s vibrant theatre world, saying “This honestly came as a result of living and studying in New York City….Most of the connections I made at college were in the theatre world.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pierre Marais on his continued success and looks forward to seeing his future roles!

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    January 30, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 473

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Alexia Sielo Headlines Broadway Showcase

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    Alexia Sielo, graduate of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre, will take the stage at Broadway’s Supper Club, Feinstein’s/54 Below for Women of Color on Broadway. The showcase will honor of the African American, Latina, and Asian women who paved the way for today’s women of color in musical theatre, and will take place on February 25.

    21-year-old Sielo will headline the show, which will also feature special performances by Aisha Jackson (Frozen), Alena Watters (The Cher Show), Majeste Pearson (The Four on FOX)and NYFA instructor Arbender Robinson (Book of Mormon). The performers will pay homage to the story, the impact, and the music behind the trailblazing women of Broadway under the direction of Kevin David Thomas. The show comes on the heels of 54 Celebrates Aretha Franklin, a tribute to the Queen of Soul which Sielo will open.

    Born to an R&B recording artist and an opera singer, Sielo has spent her life actively involved in a variety of music and performance. She has recorded with the Stellar Award-nominated gospel group the Velazquez Family Singers, and has been widely praised for her work in both regional and statewide productions. Her previous stage credits include The Wiz, Urinetown, Cleopatra, and We Are the Tigers.

    Her outstanding vocals have earned her recognition in New York’s theatre scene and beyond. Last year, Sielo was chosen for the first of a series of Broadway covers from NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre. Directed by Music Supervisor Anna Ebbesen, Sielo and Arbender Robinson performed “I Know Him So Well” from the musical Chess. The video has been viewed more than 10,000 times since its posting, and has been shared widely on multiple social media platforms.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Alexia Sielo on her success and looks forward to her future projects!

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    January 10, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 196

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre School Produces “Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA”

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    You’d be hard pressed to find a New Yorker who doesn’t experience their fair share of frustration with the MTA, the corporation that runs the city’s sprawling and crowded transit system of trains and buses. Especially these days, as commuters deal with train construction, delays, and an impending apocalypse, while fares continue to increase (the MTA announced just this week their plan for yet another fare hike of 4%). 

    And every New Yorker deals with it in their own way. Some of us mutter under our breaths, while others aren’t afraid to scream and yell at the top of their lungs. Some of us weep silently when we finally get home, while others pray to themselves that they’ll actually get home.

    But what most of us haven’t done, is sing a song about it. With Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA, a new musical number performed by Broadway actress Kristy Cates, that’s no longer the case. And now that it has an accompanying music video produced by the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at the New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA), the song is easily available for everyone to share, relate with, and sing along to.

    Kristy’s Lament is very much based on a true story. “I have the worst train luck,” Cates tells NYFA, continuing, “I’m always stuck underground with no explanation, waiting for a train that never shows up, or on the car with the person about to puke. And I often share these wild stories on social media.”

    After one particularly nasty commute for Cates, where one bizarre thing followed another as she tried to make her way home from her Broadway show, she recounted the entire nightmare on Facebook. Her story quickly gained traction and gained a lot of attention on social media. Typically, the story would end there, but not for Cates.

    MTA Laments

    After seeing her commute from hell, lyricist Chris Giordano was inspired to adapt the tale into song, writing lyrics for a number that step-by-step portrayed Cates’s disastrous trip. Soon, it was put to music by composer Ryan Edward Wise, and Kristy’s Lament was born. It wasn’t long after that that a music video was produced to accompany the track.

    The video features Cates playing multiple roles — not just the tragic commuter narrating the song, but also a rude passenger carrying numerous bags, a stoner, and a homeless man, among others. It is mostly a stage production, filmed at NYFA’s 1st Floor Theatre, with gorgeous lighting direction and a minimal subway set. The video was also partially shot in an actual subway station, where the video opens and closes.

    The video was produced by the PCMT at NYFA, where Kristy Cates also serves as Creative Director. The renowned musical theatre school prides itself on giving its students real world training that prepares them to achieve success in a competitive, empowering industry, creating an educational experience few other musical theatre schools can offer.

    Aspiring performers develop their skills as triple threat performers by studying with faculty — like Kristy Cates — who have appeared in numerous Broadway and touring productions, top-rate regional theatre, opera, hit movie musicals, and television shows. NYFA’s musical theater alumni include llda Mason (On Your Feet), Pierre Marais (Aladdin), Christopher Viljoen (Les Misérables), Kylan Ross (Straight Outta Oz), and Tony Award-winner Yael Silver (Once on this Island).  

    MTA Laments

    Additionally, the PCMT at NYFA is able to use all of the resources shared by NYFA’s film school, cinematography school, and other departments. Using the Academy’s resources and state-of-the-art filmmaking equipment, its stage and its location in the heart of the New York City, and some of the Academy’s highly-talented staff — including director Jonathan Whittaker, editor Sean Robinson, Broadway veteran and choreographer Deidre Goodwin, and costume designer David Withrow — Kristy’s Lament was able to take advantage of high production values to really sell the humorous lyrics and support Cates’s powerful yet hysterical performance.

    “One thing I love about working for NYFA,” Cates says, “is their willingness to explore new projects. As a result, our ability as a program to collaborate with up-and-coming composers and lyricists.” She adds, “It was wonderful to combine the expertise of our faculty, the passion of our alumni, the ingenuity of the composer and writer, and the generosity and support of the Film Academy.”

    MTA Laments

    Cates is no stranger to high production values and show-stopping numbers. She is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and has starred in Wicked (Broadway, First National Tour, Chicago) as Elphaba, as well as playing Miss Bassett in Finding Neverland (Broadway), Grandma Josephine in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway), and has had roles in a handful of off-Broadway shows and many regional productions. Additionally, she performs as a professional voiceover artist.

    The Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at the New York Film Academy is proud to have Kristy Cates as an original and current member of its faculty, and was equally as proud to produce Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA with her. Next time you’re stressed and stuck on the subway, check it out and let yourself laugh a little — if the wifi is working down there, of course.










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    December 20, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 346

  • Tony Winner Jeff Marx Visits New York Film Academy

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    Jeff Marx

    Avenue Q’s Jeff Marx

    Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Jeff Marx visited the New York Film Academy at our New York City Theatre in late February, much to the delight of our Musical Theatre students.

    Marx is best known for Avenue Q, the innovative musical starring both human and puppet characters that instantly earned critical acclaim and won over audiences across the country. It went on to win three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is currently running Off-Broadway and has toured the country and been produced in both the West End and Las Vegas.

    Before writing Avenue Q, Marx passed the New York State Bar exam, planning to be a lawyer. He met partner Robert Lopez shortly after at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, writing a spec Muppet film as a pre-cursor to their collaboration on Avenue Q. Since winning his Tony, Marx has gone on to write for the musical episode of NBC’s Scrubs, as well as songs for Bear in the Big Blue House and The Book of Pooh. He also co-wrote the theme song for Logo TV’s Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.

    Speaking with the students of NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre, Marx highlighted his indirect path to Broadway stardom, mentioning that he didn’t even start writing until he was 28 years old. “The greatest thing that I can wish for you,” Marx told the audience of aspiring Broadway stars, “is hunger.” He also shared anecdotes about the making of Avenue Q.

    Jeff Marx visits NYFA

    Highlights from the @newyorkfilmacademy Instagram story featuring Jeff Marx’s visit to NYFA #PCMT

    In addition to inspiring students with his story, he also brought a special and well-received guest — puppet and star of Avenue Q, Nicky. Avenue Q’s cast of puppet characters included both rod puppets and live-hands, the latter of which are often operated simultaneously by two puppeteers. Nicky is a live-hands puppet, and students were delighted to see him in action on stage with Marx.

    Nicky wasn’t all Marx brought with him on his visit to NYFA. In addition to Nicky, he brought along his Tony Award, Broadway’s highest honor. Musical Theatre students were thrilled when Marx allowed them to hold it and pass it around — an inspiring moment for those learning at NYFA and hoping to win one of their own in the not-too-distant future.

    By the time the students had to say goodbye to Marx and Nicky, they had learned and laughed, and were extremely grateful for the generous time, energy, and inspiring words Marx brought with him to the New York Film Academy.

    Interested in joining the magical and puppet-filled world of musical theatre? Check out the programs of New York Film Academy’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 2, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 3195

  • New York Film Academy Master Class With Lyle Kessler Wraps With Impressive Performances

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    NYFA Master Class with Lyle Kessler

    NYFA Master Class with Lyle Kessler

    This December, students from the New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film 2-Year Conservatory performed scenes written and directed by renowned actor/playwright Lyle Kessler. The performances were the culmination of an 8-Week Master Class taught by Kessler, who has been an icon in the world of theatre for several decades.

    Kessler studied acting under industry legend Lee Strasberg and has been a longtime member of the famed Actor’s Studio. Kessler had the opportunity to play Strasberg in the 2001 biopic “James Dean.”

    Kessler is best known as a playwright though, with numerous works that have helped shape the modern era of American theatre. For Peter Allen Stone, New York Film Academy’s Chair of Acting for Film, Kessler was a vital part of his education. “I used to dig through his plays in my college library looking for monologues and scenes many years ago,” remarked Stone, “so it was something special for me to get to know him and come full circle.”

    Scene from "The Display Man"

    Scene from “The Display Man”

    The best known work written by Kessler is “Orphans,” which first debuted in 1983 at Chicago’s world-renowned Steppenwolf Theatre and was originally directed by Gary Sinise. It was later adapted into a feature film starring Matthew Modine and Albert Finney, and has been performed on Broadway as recently as 2013 with Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster.

    After running the playwriting division of the Actor’s Studio in Los Angeles for many years, Kessler is still active and working with the Actor’s Studio in New York City. The NYFA students attending Kessler’s Master Class were able to visit the Actor’s Studio as part of their course. Student Elizabeth Hopland reflected that “going to the Actor’s Studio was a highlight of my acting career so far, thanks to Lyle.”

    The NYFA students who were privileged to work with Kessler started in Fall 2016, and began their 2nd Year training in the summer of 2017. Each session of the 8-week Master Class focused on a specific aspect of the craft, like the inner anger of a particular character. The acting students worked on scenes from new works written by Kessler, who directed and worked closely with them throughout the course.

    Scene from "Prisoner"

    Scene from “Prisoner”

    The scenes were two-person dialogues, with the acting students performing multiple roles and plays. One of Kessler’s new works included “Prisoner,” about a privileged woman tied up during a burglary, who poked and prodded her captor while trying to learn more about him. Other new works included “The Display Man” and “The Great Divide,” the latter concerning two brothers dealing with a woman claiming to be pregnant with the older brother’s child.

    The final session of the Master Class included performances of the scenes for a small audience, including New York Film Academy president Michael Young. The final scenes of the evening were from another of Kessler’s new works—“Temptation”—about inappropriate sexual behavior between a psychiatrist and his patient, a story and theme that is especially relevant in today’s current Hollywood climate.

    Kessler Directing "Prisoner"

    Kessler Directing “Prisoner”

    One of the performers, student Agnes Hedwall Schmidt, remarked “What I liked most about working with Lyle was the way he made the work a collaboration. We give him our view of the text and the character, he gives his, and together we create a scene that is so much fun to act in, and allows me to keep growing and learning as an actor.” Schmidt added, “I had so much fun working with Lyle!”

    The appreciation was mutual—the performances ended with Kessler thanking the students for their strong, courageous work, and the students overwhelmingly thanking Kessler for his invaluable training and direction. Of the students, Kessler said he was “very impressed by the work and talent of the group of actors at NYFA who acted in my plays. They kept growing in their roles. A real commitment.”

    The Acting for Film students couldn’t ask for a better compliment from an artist of Kessler’s stature. The New York Film Academy thanks Lyle Kessler for giving our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study and learn from one of the theatre world’s greats.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 22, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 3080

  • The Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at the New York Film Academy Sets Precedent in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

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    Cast of NYFA's "Merrily We Roll Along"

    NYFA’s “Merrily We Roll Along”


    NYFA’s Musical Theatre production of “Merrily We Roll Along” was a huge success in more ways than one. After each performance, NYFA students and cast members collected money in the signature red buckets from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nonprofit that’s been raising funds for people living with HIV and other life-threatening illnesses for nearly thirty years.

    It has become a proud tradition for Broadway shows to address their audiences directly for this incredibly worthwhile cause. Since its inception, Broadway Cares has raised over $285 million—money that has been awarded as grants to social service organizations in all 50 states.

    It is not uncommon to see our Broadway faculty with the red buckets on the Broadway stage raising money for Broadway Cares.  And now our students are passing on this legacy.

    Cast of NYFA's "Merrily We Roll Along"

    NYFA’s “Merrily We Roll Along”

    With the cast and crew of “Merrily We Roll Along” supporting this fundraising effort, the New York Film Academy became the very first conservatory to join Broadway with the red bucket appeal. In just one weekend of performances from our 100-seat theatre, our students and community were able to raise $1,050 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS!

    Needless to say, we are very proud of the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre program for their fantastic effort and we are thrilled to be aligned with the great work of Broadway Cares. We will continue these efforts with the red buckets during our main stage productions and proudly stand as the leading conservatory in the fight to help provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals, and emergency assistance to those who need them most.

    NYFA’s “Merrily We Roll Along”
    Director:  Robert W. Schneider (Assistant Director to filmmaker Lonny Price on the acclaimed “Merrily We Roll Along” documentary “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.”)
    Musical Director: Kevin David Thomas (2009 Broadway revival of “A Little Night Music.”)Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 16, 2017 • Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 1827

  • Guest Lecture Series with Film Critic Peter Rainer

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFilm Critic and historian Peter Rainer continues his guest lecture series with a thoughtful exploration of the film “Blue Sky” starring Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones and directed by Tony Richardson (“A Taste of Honey” and “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”). “Blue Sky” was shot between 1990 and 1991 but was not released until 1993. It was Richardson’s last film. In fact, he did not live long enough to see it released.

    Lange won her second Oscar for her role as the Bipolar, hyper-sexualized wife of an army nuclear inspector. In her acceptance speech, Lange said, “This is such an honor, especially for a film that seemed to have no future.”

    peter Rainer

    Rainer began the evening’s conversation with a reading of his initial review published in the Los Angeles Times from his book “Rainer on Film.” This review was sent to Oscar voters along with the VHS of the film for Ms. Lange’s nomination run. Rainer divulged that Lange herself said that if it hadn’t been for his essay she wouldn’t have won her second Oscar.

    “Jessica Lange’s acting in ‘Blue Sky’ leaves you awestruck. It is a great performance. Because the film is just now being released, it is yet another foundling from the pre-bankrupt Orion picture era —its appearance is like a gift,” Rainer began. “It’s an especially welcome gift because Lange hasn’t been acting much in the movies lately. You have to wonder how it is that Lange could give such a performance. It’s even better than her Francis in ‘Francis’ or her Patsy Klein in the ‘Sweet Dreams’ and keeps away from the camera for so long. The lack of roles for women is no excuse. Lange is the kind of actress artists write parts for.”

    From here the floor was open to students to discuss what they liked, what they didn’t understand, where they were moved, and how they might have addressed these performances. The most prevailing subject of conversation was the lead actress.

    Lange has also played deranged southern belle, Blanche DuBois on Broadway. Her character in “Blue Sky,” Carly Marshall inhabits touches of Blanche but also Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. During the open discussion, one student wondered aloud, “What is the relevance of Blanche. Why does she keep coming back over and over again in American cinema?”

    Rainer gave a brief background on the character of Blanche and then said, “I think there are certain archetypes that repeat and the southern belle is one of them. The poles are Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone With the Wind’ and Blanche from ‘A Street Car Named Desire.’ It relates to the fragility and the strength of women in the context of a very male dominated society. Putting it in a southern context exaggerates that paradigm. In the South, you are expected to be prim and ladylike and sip Mint Julep, if you are a white woman.”

    peter Rainer

    Speaking to the enduring legacy of the role, Rainer continued, “Also, the role is just that damn good. Tennessee Williams wrote one of the greatest roles of all time. It’s natural for dramatist and actors to try to play that out and try to recapture the magic. In the case of ‘Blue Sky,’ she’s not just DuBois she’s very much trying to capture the stars of that time — Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. The very first shot of the film is her leafing through star magazines.”

    Another student chimed in that they didn’t think a film with a woman over 40 — acting sexy and leading a character driven film — could hope for funding in today’s film world.

    “It’s kind of depressing to think about the number of great films that couldn’t get made today,” Rainer said. “This film got made because Jessica Lange at that time was big box office. Orion was one of the few film companies at this time willing to take risks. A film like ‘Blue Sky’ would do much better on television than film nowadays.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Peter Rainer for his continued support and informative lecture series. If you’d like to read more of Rainer’s reviews pick up his book “Rainer on Film” or his page on Rotten Tomatoes.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 16, 2017 • Guest Speakers • Views: 2606

  • NYFA Instructor James Lecesne to Premiere “The Mother of Invention”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailmother of inventionAbingdon Theatre Company presents the world premiere of “The Mother of Invention,” a new play by New York Film Academy Documentary Story instructor James Lecesne, who is an Academy Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award-winner. Ranked by the NY Times as “among of the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation,” Lecesne has shared the screen with Robert Downey Jr., Ian McKellan, Claire Danes, Holly Hunter, the Sex in the City cast, Anne Bancroft, and many others. He has also shared the stage with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, and many others.

    Performances are set to begin January 28, prior to an official press opening on February 9, at The Abingdon’s Theatre (312 West 36th Street). Artistic Director Tony Speciale, who also directed “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” is set to direct.

    When Dottie Nerber’s son and daughter arrive to pack up the contents of their mother’s Florida home, their conflicting memories of her collide. As the siblings unpack family secrets, they must separate fact from fiction and are forced to question the narratives of their own lives. James Lecesne’s new full-length play is an unflinching and comedic look at how one family deals with the effects of Alzheimer’s. It asks why we tell the stories we do about the people we love, and how we live with those stories after they’ve been debunked.

    Concetta Tomei, best known for her roles on TV’s “China Beach” and “Providence” and on stage in “The Elephant Man” (opposite David Bowie) and Sarah Ruhl’s “The Clean House,” leads the cast as Dottie Nerber.

    Joining Ms. Tomei are James Davis (Broadway revival of “The House of Blue Leaves,” Soho Rep’s “We Are Proud to Present…”), Dan Domingues (INTAR’s “Locusts Have No Kings,” The Civilian’s “The Great Immensity” at The Public), Angela Reed (Broadway’s “The Country Girl” and “The Rainmaker,” and national tours of “War Horse” and “Spring Awakenin”g), Isabella Russo (Broadway’s “School of Rock”), and Dale Soules (“Orange is the New Black,” Broadway’s “Hands on a Hard Body” and “Grey Gardens”).

    The creative team includes Jo Winiarski (Scenic Design), Daisy Long (Lighting Design), Paul Marlow (Costume Design), Christian Frederickson (Sound Design), and Jerry Marsini (Props Design). Deidre Works is Production Stage Manager.

    “The Mother of Invention” runs January 28-February 26: Tuesdays-Saturdays at 7:30PM; plus matinees Saturdays at 2:30PM and Sundays at 2:00PM (with the following exceptions, no matinees January 28-29) at Abingdon Theatre Company’s June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).

    For tickets, visit abingdontheatre.org or call 212-352-3101.

    Use code Mother35 for $35 discount tickets during previews* (Jan 28 – Feb 8).Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 26, 2017 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights • Views: 3264