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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
The 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!
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.
As 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 Standis 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.
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.
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.
Since 2011, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has been leading the movie musical renaissance, with its 2-Year Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre creating fully-produced original movie musicals as a part of its curriculum. Each NYFA-produced film consists of original music and stories that feature collaborations between NYFA students, faculty, and Broadway professionals, including John Wesley Shipp, Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart (“Landed“) two-time Tony nominee Charlotte d’Amboise, and most recently, Okieriete Onaodowan of “Hamilton” and “The Great Comet.”
“After touring film festivals internationally and garnering numerous awards, these films have received recognition in The Huffington Post,Variety and other notable media outlets,” says filmmaker Sean Robinson, who produces, edits and oversees the movie musical productions at NYFA.
Watch the latest movie musical trailers below, featuring the 2017 NYFA Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre students.
“Alma Mater” director Nathan Brewer is currently in post production on his third movie musical, entitled “Hold Your Peace.”
Upcoming movie musicals include “KAYA: Taste Of Paradise,” directed by Paul Warner, written by Jerome A. Parker, and with music and lyrics by Anna K Jacobs. This ‘70’s disco-era film has already ignited interest from Playbill and Broadwayworld.
“KAYA,” co-starring “Hamilton” alum Okieriete Onaodowan,provides NYFA’s students with a direct pipeline to working industry professionals, such as costume designer David Withrow, choreographer Michelle Potterf, hair and makeup artist Makayla Benedict, music director Anna Ebbesen, and Nyfa’s own Till Neumann as director of photography.
Still from NYFA movie musical “Kaya”
“You can expect a trailer for ‘Kaya’ this spring” says Robinson. “This film not only showcases exceptional music, storytelling, and direction, but it also celebrates a significant socio-political era in pursuit of civil rights. The gift of song should never be wasted and NYFA is providing an avenue for these students’ voices to be heard.”
Still from NYFA movie musical “Kaya”
The New York Film Academy Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre’s highlight reel can be watchedhere.
For more information, release dates and upcoming screenings visit nyfa.edu.