musical theatre

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


    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.

    “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
    What the Constitution Means to Me

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

    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


    May 3, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 737

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Ilda Mason Cast in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’


    The production of Steven Spielberg’s high-profile Hollywood remake of West Side Story has announced the casting of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Ilda Mason. Mason will be showcasing her dancing skills a member of the Sharks in the highly-anticipated film from Amblin Entertainment.

    Mason has previously performed in the Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet as well as a production of Legally Blonde in China, and has been an ensemble member in the national tour of Cinderella. Additionally, she was a professional dancer for two seasons on Panama’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Ilda Mason

    The Tony Award-winning musical was first adapted into a film in 1961 and went on to win ten Academy Awards. This newest adaptation is written by Tony Kushner and stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Maddie Ziegler, Corey Stoll, and original West Side Story star Rita Moreno. Casting announcements are still being rolled out as the film gears for production in New York later this year.

    Ilda Mason graduated from the 2-year program at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) in 2015. Since then, Mason has performed in two productions of West Side Story—one at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, and the second one at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ.

    “Ilda was an engaged, focused student and an integral member of the NYFA Musical Theatre community,” says Kristy Cates, Creative Director of PCMT at NYFA. “We are all so proud of her many successes and look forward to watching her star continue to rise.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA alum Ilda Mason on her casting in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and can’t wait to see her dance on the big screen!


    May 1, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 899

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Daniel Carrasquillo Makes It To Hollywood Week on ‘American Idol’


    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Daniel Carrasquillo made it to Hollywood Week on hit reality competition show American Idol. The show finds the country’s best singers, narrowing the pool from thousands and thousands of auditions until only one performer remains. 

    Carrasquillo repeatedly advanced to each successive round for the first several episodes of the season, before finally getting cut at the Top 40. This included beating out competitors in the Group Rounds and the infamous individual auditions, where aspiring performers wait for hours in line to be personally judged by a celebrity panel. 

    This season’s panel included Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and pop star Katy Perry. The show has been hosted since its first season in 2002 by Ryan Seacrest. After performing for the esteemed judges, Carrasquillo was given the show’s iconic Golden Ticket and flown to Hollywood for the next round. Daniel Carrasquillo

    While he didn’t have a chance to compete in the later stages of the competition, Carrasquillo was very optimistic about the event and happy for the opportunity to show off his talents on multiple episodes of the incredibly popular television show.

    Carrasquillo enrolled at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) in Fall 2015, where he honed his skills in acting, singing, and dancing from a professional faculty of veteran Broadway, off-Broadway, film, and television performers.

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA alum Daniel Carrasquillo on his Golden Ticket and wishes him the best of success as he continues to perform. 


    March 24, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 590

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


    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!


    February 20, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1642

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

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailAlexia 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! Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 10, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 528

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


    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.


    December 20, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 814

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

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe 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.


    November 12, 2018 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Student Life • Views: 1385

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

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailOctober 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 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:


    September 21, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Diversity, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 1828

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes ‘Riverdale’ Stars Ashleigh Murray and Casey Cott

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailTwo 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!”


    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Riverdale and actors Ashleigh Murray and Casey Cott for sharing this special event with our students.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 28, 2018 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 640

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

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe 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.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail