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  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Mey Novak

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Mey Novak was always meant to be an actress. She’s always been a huge movie buff, especially action movies, but she’s acted in plays from a young age. 

    Originally hailing from Brazil, Novak first attended New York Film Academy (NYFA) in 2012, taking the 4-week Musical Theatre workshop at NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre. She followed that with more advanced studies in NYFA’s 1-year Musical Theatre conservatory

    After graduating, Novak worked as an admissions specialist at NYFA’s New York campus, helping fellow aspiring artists from Brazil enroll at the Academy. She’s acted in commercials, short films, and most recently, the feature film River Runs Red.

    River Runs Red is a thriller/drama written and directed by Wes Miller and starring Taye Diggs, John Cusack, George Lopez, Luke Hemsworth, and RJ Mitte. Miller previously directed Prayer Never Fails and Atone, and is completing production of Hell on the Border, starring Ron Perlman and Frank Grillo.

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Mey Novak about River Runs Red, her passion for acting, and what she learned at NYFA that she still applies to her work to this day:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us what drew you to acting? What brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    Mey Novak (MN): Acting has always been inside me. I was in all the school plays, performing for my family during Christmastime, I always watched movies… it was kind of my happy place growing up. I always knew I wanted to be an actress. I remember being around seven years old watching movies and saying I wanted to do that one day. 

    When I got my theatre degree in Brazil I knew it was time to go to the US to study my craft further, and I saw that the New York Film Academy was auditioning in Brazil and that it was my time.

    Mey Novak Mey Ferdinand

    NYFA: Is there anything about your Brazilian background that you apply to acting in the United States? 

    MN: Yes, I was very versatile because of my Brazilian background. We are a very culturally rich country, so I realized I could play all sorts of foreign roles the industry requires all the time. My first commercial in the US I played a Russian girl. I hadn’t even thought about it before, then I noticed there was a whole thing for foreign accents and types in the US.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about River Runs Red?

    MN:River Runs Red tells the story of an African American judge whose son is murdered by the police. It’s a very strong and currently relevant plot—it’s necessary because it talks about the racism that still exists nowadays in the US, in Brazil, and the whole world.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on River Runs Red,or your work in general?

    MN: So many things!! NYFA was a stepping stone in my career! 

    First, I have learned with the best teachers—I’ve found mentors for life that even after school was over I had supporting me. I’ve also learned how to be a professional—it was more than just going to class, learn a method, and go home—I learned about the real world of acting and the industry. And I had the chance to practice while I was in school. This is very important. I was in touch with the filmmaking students, I was auditioning, shooting with them, also with the photography students, etc. 

    So when my first big job arrived, I was ready. It was very important. For my acting specifically, I’ve learned my favorite method, the “Meisner technique” at NYFA, it’s necessary to me on set.

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    MN: I’m currently in Brazil shooting a show in Portuguese called Os 3 Irmaos (The 3 Brothers). It’s my first time acting in Portuguese after such a long time working in the US. After this I have plans to work in Europe for a while.

    NYFA: What’s your dream role? 

    MN: I love action movies, I’m obsessed with them!!! I practice martial arts and have studied Stage Combat since my NYFA days, and my dream is definitely a strong female role in an action movie with amazing choreography, like in John Wick.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    MN: I’d say enjoy your time there and listen to every single thing your teacher has to say—they really know about the industry. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, it really pays off!

    NYFA: Anything I missed you’d like to speak on?

    MN: I want to say to all the aspiring actors to follow their dreams! Sounds cliché but there will be doubts, there will be moments you just want to give up, but you just need that one person to believe in you and that one “Yes” that changes everything. Be grateful and embrace every step of the journey!

    The New York Film Academy thanks actress and NYFA alum Mey Novak for taking the time to answer our questions and wishes her the best of luck as her career continues to grow!

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    February 20, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 694

  • 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: 27

  • The Power of Music: Being Part of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Glee Club

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) Glee Club is an extracurricular club that not only affords NYFA students another way to express themselves artistically, but brings them together and bonds them through a joint love of music and song.Glee Club Summer 2018

    Sunny Amara, a member of the Glee Club for six semesters and its current choreographer, calls being in the club “a new, exciting, thrilling experience every time. There’s nothing I love more than taking the stage and performing my heart out. The Glee Club has been a perfect place for that. It’s just so much fun.”

    Amara also echoes the sentiment shared by many in the Glee Club, that “the basis of Glee Club is a love of music, a love of singing and a love of performing that we get to share with audiences. And to me, that’s tops.”

    Amara adds, “Watching my choreography come to life with these beautiful, singing souls is an experience unparalleled by any. We work hard in rehearsals getting the music and dances to their best, then we get to pour our hearts out on that stage. There’s nothing better than that to me.”

    These sentiments aren’t just felt by Amara, but by many of the members of the NYFA Glee Club. Lara Heine is studying for her BFA in Acting at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus and is also a member of the club. After a performance at the end of last summer, Heine put her thoughts into words, writing the following piece, entitled “The Power of Music”:

    Music and Dance is like therapy for many people. It eases your soul and spreads happiness.

    At least that is how I always felt. As acting students, we are constantly on the go and expected to give our all. On very rare occasions we get something rewarded.

    That is why I chose to sign up for the Glee Club. To give and receive in return. 

    This semester was filled with a lot of talented and driven people and putting on a performance with them was an honor for me. Melissa Sullivan, our teacher, created an amazing lineup of thoughtful chosen group and solo pieces.

    Glee Club Summer 2018Most of us didn’t know each other when we met for our first rehearsal. Over the span of a few short weeks, we rehearsed some of the most challenging musical theatre pieces. We ended up growing, as a group and as people.

    Musical theatre is not always easy. The pressure to be a triple threat is high. When we were doubting ourselves, Melissa would listen and help us to see the positive and move past it.

    On the night of the performance our nerves were blank. During the final rehearsal, everyone was anxious and worried about different pieces and organizational things. The decorations kept falling of the walls and some of the choreography looked funky. Funnily enough, I was never worried if we were going to be able to pull it off. I just knew I was surrounded by so much talent and creativity that whatever happened, we would be fine. 

    And that was the case. Despite some doubts and worries, we went on stage and performed the hell out of it. As they say: “The show must go on.”

    The audience was blown away. They loved every single one of us. I could tell. The choreography was suddenly remembered by everyone, and the harmonies of all the group pieces were completely pitch-free. We all loved every second of it. We gave our heart and received so much love by the audience. All the hard work paid off. It was an awesome result after one semester of a lot of rehearsing. 

    Thank you to everyone who made this performance so amazing. And a special shoutout to Melissa, who has been our sunshine throughout the whole time.

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    November 12, 2018 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Student Life • Views: 703

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) to Host National Bullying Prevention Month Screening of “Thirsty”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOctober is National Bullying Prevention Month and to bring awareness to the cause, the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is hosting a screening of Thirsty with its filmmakers. Described by as a “post-queer musical biopic,” Thirsty follows bullied girly-boy Scott Townsend as he grows into revered drag queen Thirsty Burlington, fighting obstacles along the way only to discover what he really wants is self-acceptance.

    The musical drama was released in 2016 and won Audience Choice for Best Narrative Feature at the Boston LGBT Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the Harlem International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the Portland Film Festival. It will be screened at NYFA New York’s 1st Floor Theatre on October 11th.

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    The screening will be followed by a Q&A with producer Lisa Thomas, actors Jonny Beauchamp (who plays “middle” Scott Townsend), and Michael DiGioia (Uncle Gene), Choreographer Alexandra Amirov, and editor and NYFA alum Fabrizio Famá. Thomas is an industry veteran who has worked on Wonder Showzen and Ugly Americans. Beauchamp has appeared in Penny Dreadful and Stonewall. Famá has worked on many Italian feature films, documentaries, and shorts.

    The 97-minute feature film was directed by the late filmmaker Margo Pelletier, who was known for her exploration of gender and identity. She previously made the documentary Freeing Silvia Baraldini. Thirsty stars Scott Townsend as himself, lending a unique realism to its ability to tell a story based on his life. Deirdre Lovejoy (The Wire, The Blacklist) co-stars as Townsend’s addiction-addled mother Doris. Keith Leonard plays opposite her as Townsend’s absent and abusive father. Before her death, Pelletier had told Variety that a “good percentage” of the cast is LGBTQ.

    National Bullying Month began in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. It was originally the first week in October and has since expanded to include the entire month. Studies have shown bullying causes “school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.” Learn more at StopBullying.gov. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You may anonymously report cyber bullying here and also find help and resources here.

    Prior to the Thirsty screening, NYFA will also be hosting a Wellness Day event from noon to 5pm on the 5th floor student lounge in NYC. View some statistics on bullying below:

    National Statistics

    Been Bullied
    • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.
    • 20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

    Seen Bullying

    • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
    • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.
    • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time

    Watch the trailer for Thirsty below:

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    September 21, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Diversity, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 1016

  • Nova Fest Awards Best Musical & Best LGBT Film to New York Film Academy’s Plus One

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) has snagged two film festival wins for its original movie musical Plus One. The epic short film utilizes original music as it follows three generations of women, two unexpected pregnancies, and a time-traveling secretary with the key to their futures.

    After a successful run at the NOVA Fest, Plus One went home with the top trophies for Best Musical and Best LGBT Film.

    Plus One’s trophies will be proudly displayed in the Musical Theatre office at the NYFA New York City campus. Stop by and check them out, and learn more about PCMT’s work!

    PLUS ONE – trailer from SEAN ROBINSON on Vimeo.

    Two-Year Conservatory students at PCMT have had the opportunity to perform in original movie musicals since the program began in 2012. The unique experience allows conservatory students to prepare for the film and television industry as well as the stage. Each PCMT original movie musical is created from scratch with original stories and scores, and executed through collaborations with working industry professionals. Past films have featured collaborators such as Tony Award-winner James Monroe Iglehart and Tony Award-nominee Charlotte D’amboise. Yet each PCMT movie musical maintains its focus on its student performers, allowing the next generation of artists to truly shine.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • Here’s Where I Stand by New York Film Academy PCMT Plays for Everytown and March for Our Lives

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAs the March for Our Lives Movement conducts rallies and students around the country commemorate the 20th anniversary of Columbine with walkouts on April 20, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT)’s will donate all proceeds from its powerful update of the movie musical Camp’s smash hit Here’s Where I Stand to Everytown for Gun Safety, a charity focused on protecting communities from gun violence. The non-profit organization, first founded by concerned mothers, “is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities,” and has inspired more than 4 million people to “come together to make their own communities safer.” 

    Students from around the country also joined together March 24 in the first March for Our Lives protest, in at least 50 cities throughout the U.S. On that day, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) raised its voice in support. PCMT’s powerful update of the movie musical Camp’s smash hit Here’s Where I Stand is available for digital download on iTunes (go to iTunes Store, not iTunes Music, and search “PCMT”), Google Play, and Bandcamp.

    To download on iTunes, open iTunes Store (not iTunes Music) and search for “PCMT”.

     

    In line with the March for Our Lives rallies and Everytown’s message of community and hope, Here’s Where I Stand offers an empowering message for young people in its lyrics:

    In this life we’ve come so far

    but we’re only who we are (who we are)

    Courage of love (courage of love)

    will show us the way (show us the way)

    From the time PCMT first conceived the Here’s Where I Stand project in October of 2017 to March For Our Lives’ first rally on March 24, there had been 18 school shootings. New York Film Academy students and faculty alike at PCMT have been inspired by the students around the country who are raising their voices for safety and change.

    Here’s Where I Stand is a powerful song that resonates differently for everyone,” says PCMT Artistic Director Kristy Cates.  “It is a song about having the courage to speak your truth and take a stand for what you believe in. As we’ve seen young people around the country respond to the epidemic of gun violence by raising their voices for change, we as musical theatre performers thought this was the perfect way for us to lend our own voices in support this movement.”

    The PCMT’s music video is directed by The New York Film Academy’s PCMT was highlighted by Variety as one of the most cutting-edge musical theatre training programs.

    To download on iTunes, open iTunes Store (not iTunes Music) and search for “PCMT.” To download PCMT’s Here’s Where I Stand to your Apple or Android devices from Google Play or Bandcamp, click the icons below:

     

    If you experience any difficulties downloading the track on iTunes through your phone app, please try your desktop.

    Thank you to the talented students who lent their voices to the song and cause (in alphabetical order):

    Alexandra Attardi, Alyssa Carrigan, Cecilie Kiorbye Bertelsen, Clara Colombo, Damaris Olivo, Ekaterina Chigvintseva, Gabriella Malm, Giuliana Deantoni Tanze, Grace Strickland, Hannah Swanson, Helora Danna Santos da Rosa, Jenna Bruce, Lisbeth Celis, Madeline Mancebo, Majeste Pearson, Maria Cavanaugh, Maria Christina Mosquera, Marije Louise Maliepaard, Micaela Haskins, Michael Baccari, Nathaniel Anderson, Nicole Goldstein, Noah Chartrand, Paige Gittelson, Rebecca Keenan, Ruby Locknar, Ryan Curley, Samuel Beard, Sarah Elizabeth Venners.

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  • The NOVA Fest: 7 nominations for Plus One & Alma Mater by New York Film Academy Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre’s original movie musicals Alma Mater and Plus One are Official Selections of the Fourth Annual Northern Virginia International Film & Music Festival, and both films have received a number of award nominations.

    Plus One has been nominated for Best Musical, Best Director (Short Film), Best Screenplay (Short Film), Best LGBT Film, and Best Visual Effects, while Alma Mater is nominated for Best Musical and Best Acting Ensemble. Alma Mater will also screen at Soho International Film Festival on Saturday, June, 16th 2018 at 1:45pm in the Village East Cinema. Please click here for tickets.

    In addition to its honors at the Nova Fest, NYFA’s movie musical Plus One will also screen at the Manhattan Film Festival April 21, at 1-3 p.m.  Click here for program and ticket info. The Manhattan Film Festival will also screen NYFA movie musical Walk the Walk April 26, at 4-5 p.m. For those details and ticket info, click here.

    ALMA MATER – trailer from SEAN ROBINSON on Vimeo.

    That is not the only honor the Conservatory has received from the prominent festival. Two other NYFA musicals will be included in the Artist Circle: Food Like Love and Bang Boom Pow.

    As the festival explains, The Nova Fest “offers a fertile environment for distributors, sales agents, buyers, filmmakers, and writers to converge, negotiate and close film, series, and script deals on all media platforms.“ Films are screened from around the world, from countries including Canada, Australia, England, India, Pakistan, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, France, Kosovo, Albania, Spain, and the U.S.

    PLUS ONE – trailer from SEAN ROBINSON on Vimeo.

    The NYFA Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre has been creating original movie musicals since 2012, offering its second-year students the remarkable opportunity to perform in new stories, written for them, alongside industry professionals — including Tony Award-winner James Monroe Iglehart and Tony Award-nominee Charlotte D’amboise. Yet even with these high-profile ties to Broadway, each film is focused on the student performers.

    “We’re so excited by this program because of the quality of what the students experience in the classroom, and the quality of what they put on film,” NYFA Senior Executive Vice President David Klein told Variety. “There is so much opportunity for them.”

    For tickets and more information on the NYFA movie musicals screening at The NOVA Fest, check out the festival website. D.C. friends — you can catch a screening of Plus One (Weds. April 4) and Alma Mater (Sat. April 7) at Angelika Film Center in Fairfax, Virginia.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • 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: 2830

  • 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: 1630

  • NYFA Harvard Musical Theatre Students Create Powerful Music Video Cover of Sia’s “Bird Set Free”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThis summer, NYFA Harvard students from around the world had collaborated and performed in a unique and empowering music video project as part of NYFA’s musical theatre workshops. Performing their own vocals in a cover of Sia’s powerful ballad “Bird Set Free,” students created a piece that celebrates the diverse voices and in our international community, as well as the liberating power of the visual and performing arts.

    NYFA Musical Theatre Instructor Bobby Cronin led the music video project, which is as a part of the NYFA curriculum he developed alongside Musical Theatre Chair Mark Olsen and Shani Patel to help students gain insight into the potential power of musical storytelling in film as well as live theatre.

    “I was blown away by the message the first time I heard the song,” said Bobby, “and I’d since been yearning to use the song in an educational environment. Once I met the students at the New York Film Academy’s summer program at Harvard, I knew this would be the song for our music video.”

    The group brainstormed together, and Bobby suggested the idea of using paper signs to represent an important battle each student felt they had struggled with individually, and the students loved it.

    “We then worked with NYFA’s Shaun Clark who was the DP/cinematographer on the project,” said Bobby. “He was very inspired by our ideas and pitched using videos like [Sinead O’Connor’s] ‘Nothin’ Compares 2 U’ as reference — close shots that give the inner turmoil of the artist. We then discussed that the song is about breaking free of these turmoils, and the idea to use black and white (darkness) transitioning into color (light) became the metaphor for our video.”

    The message of Sia’s song resonated especially with the burgeoning musical theatre performers. Some of the lyrics include:

    “I don’t care if I sing off key

    I find myself in my melodies

    I sing for love

    I sing for me

    I shout it out

    Like a bird set free…”

    The students learned the song under the guidance of musical director William Demaniow, in an arrangement created by Bobby. After recording the song with professional equipment, the faculty and student collaborators filmed the music video, which was poignantly edited by Elise Ahrens.

    “I wanted this video to represent the world we live in today and the dream I have of us all co-existing as a human race,” said Bobby. “And, how as an artist, it is of the utmost importance to create from your soul.” Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail