Spring Awakening

  • New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Program Shines in ‘Chess’

    One of the many enticing aspects of being a student in New York Film Academy’s Musical Theatre School is the opportunity to perform in a MainStage musical production in New York City! Thus far, the program has put on two spectacular shows, including Spring Awakening and The Wedding Singer.

    Last month, Musical Theatre students, alumni and faculty put together another fantastic performance in the MainStage musical, Chess, which was held at the American Theatre of Actors. The show included 27 performers and 6 orchestra members.

    chess nyfa

    Chess is a pop opera that had its original broadway production in 1988, which included two NYFA Instructors, Rosemary Loar and Wysandria Woolsey. There was also a famous London concert of the show in 2009, starring Idina Menzel, Josh Groban and Adam Pascal.

    Though the production is not very often produced and includes some extremely difficult music, NYFA faculty members were not disappointed with the amazing singers and actors. Under the direction of Chad Larabee, choreography by Chad Austin and music direction by Joshua Zecher-Ross, the cast and crew put together NYFA’s third successful musical, and will now be preparing for a fourth.

    chess performance at nyfa

    “I am extremely proud of the hard work of our students and creative team,” said NYFA’s Creative Director of Musical Theatre, Kristy Cates. “Chess is a really difficult show and our singer/actors nailed every moment. As a producer, it was so exciting for me to watch our audience members — many of whom know nothing about the musical theatre program at NYFA — leave the theatre inspired and very impressed by the quality of the work. The Musical Theatre Department at NYFA is making an amazing name for itself, and that’s such an awesome thing to be a part of!”

    Our next MainStage show will also be at the American Theatre of Actors, November 20-22nd.

    Cast (in no specific order):
    Kylan Ross
    Emma McGlinchey
    Christopher Viljoen
    Malie Thekiso
    Paul Moore
    Rodrigo Carter
    Bruno Uribe
    Thomas Walsh
    Anthony Lalonde
    Felipe Carrasco
    Cullen Shirtz
    Will Van Moss
    CorBen Wright
    Charles Engelsgjerd (NYFA Alumnus)
    Jonina Bjort
    Melissa Gonzalez
    Kia Laitakari
    Myms Rouelle
    Akhia Andersson
    Emily Caroo
    Beatriz Cavalieri
    Stephanie Sequeira
    Katie Wright
    Kodi Lynn Milburn
    Alli Ryan Motley
    Yasmin Schancer
    Jessi Shannon

    Directed by Chad Larabee
    Music Director, Joshua Zecker-Ross
    Choreography by Chad Austin

    From writing monologues to choreographing dance routines to performing ballads, our musical theatre students work on a variety of projects across our Musical Theatre Programs. Visit our Musical Theatre Program page to check out what our students work on across our programs and find one that interests you.


    June 4, 2015 • Acting • Views: 7769

  • Catching up with NYFA’s Musical Theatre Department


    The New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Department had an excellent winter season in New York City. Some of our faculty went on national tours, some continued in current shows, and others moved to new productions with great promise, such as Kevin Duda who was in Book of Mormon and currently in the new musical Beautiful.

    The second year group completed their movie musical titled, Walk the Walk, a comic adventure where six guys awaken the morning after a night out to discover they are now women. Final edit is now complete, those actors have graduated, and excerpts of the film will soon to be available on the website.

    Chinese mtI should also mention that our wonderful Performance Lab teacher Mark Price visited Korea to teach master classes at schools and art academies. His work was very well received and this summer five students from Korea will join us for our four-week summer intensive.

    Our main attraction, however, and the event that occurred that has everyone in the program really beaming, was our first full-length production. Yes, indeed! Emerging New York director Nathan Brewer (assistant director for Disney’s Aladdin) led a strong team of NYFA staff, including the highly talented choreographer Chad Austin and musical director Anna Ebbesen, and a hugely talented and energized cast of Musical Theatre students to launch on May 1st, an effective production of Spring Awakening. The production was installed at the American Theatre of Actors on 54th street in Manhattan, which proved to be the perfect venue.

    Spring Awakening MT

    This is the beginning of a new initiative where NYFA will be producing new original musical readings and launching full-scale productions several times a year. Following the close of Spring Awakening, we were given the thrill of seeing a lovely first semester showcase and a very rousing, double bill, end of year showcase. Here’s a photo of the end of year showcase cast rehearsing a number just days before their performance.

    MT Rehearsal

    We are in the midst of shooting yet another movie musical, the next second year class finished their final films and presented a terrific final showcase event, other classes in residence are staying busy with dancing, singing, and acting classes. And everyone is excited in anticipation of what looks to be a record-breaking summer attendance for our four-week July intensives and the start of a new second year and one-year class.

    We had the good fortune of having Tony award winning actress and one of America’s artistic treasures, Tonya Pinkins, come in and present a fabulous master class for our students. Her teaching, like her performing, was generous, specific, bold, healing, and extraordinarily humane. In addition to working with a number of students, she spoke to everyone and gave expert advice about the profession.

    Tonya Pinkins

    Lots of good work is happening here in our program in New York. Join us and come to know the best of what musical theatre at NYFA has to offer!


    June 10, 2014 • Musical Theatre • Views: 5393