Stella Adler Studio of Acting Partners with Phoenix House

(New York City, NY — March 1, 2019) – The Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Phoenix Houses New York | Long Island— a 50-year-old addiction treatment non-profit—today announced the launch of a 12-week acting workshop. The educational outreach program will work with participants in addiction recovery programs to train them in dramatic self expression of their own personal stories.

Clients at Phoenix House facilities in Brooklyn and Hauppage will learn techniques used by the actress Stella Adler, whose humanistic philosophy continues to guide the pedagogy of the studio she founded in 1949. Ultimately, the workshops will expand to Phoenix House’s six centers across Queens and Long Island.

“Our partnership with Phoenix House is deeply meaningful,” said Tom Oppenheim, Artistic Director at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Stella Adler’s grandson. “It allows us to bring the transformational power of theater to people who may not have sought it out themselves. We are inspired to bring rigorous actor-training to severely under-served people because we have witnessed time and time again the powerful healing effect of art. In addition, with the national opioid crisis, this partnership allows the studio to apply its work in a much-needed area. I look forward to this new chapter in our partnership with Phoenix House.”

Students in the workshop will write autobiographical material which they eventually will perform for an audience. Projects will culminate in performances at each center for friends and family, as well as at the Stella Adler Studio.

Posted in News

Hayley Burgess (’14) Stars in “Twilight Bowl” as Clarice

Alum Hayley Burgess (Class of 2014) stars as Clarice in “Twilight Bowl” at the Goodman Theatre. The production runs through March 10th, 2019.

Posted in Alumni

Studio Closed Daytime due to Winter Storm

Due to a winter storm, the Stella Adler Studio will be closed during the daytime on Monday, March 4th with all daytime classes and rehearsals cancelled. As of right now, the studio plans to open at 6 PM. ALL EVENING CONSERVATORY CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS WILL MOVE FORWARD AS SCHEDULED, AS WILL THE 3RD YEAR DAY CONSERVATORY PERFORMANCES. The studio will reevaluate this around 1 PM. If we decide we need to cancel all evening activity as well, we will send an additional email. If we do NOT send an additional email, please assume all evening activity will proceed as planned.

Posted in Uncategorized

Lorenzo de Moor (’16) Stars in “Dolce Fine Giornata”

Alum Lorenzo de Moor (Class of 2016) stars in “Dolce Fine Giornata” selected for the Sundance Film Festival’s World Dramatic Competition.

Posted in Alumni

A New Home at 65 Broadway

A Letter from the Artistic Director

Dear Friends, I write with good news and better news! The good news is that after almost twenty years at 31 West 27th Street, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting is moving on. The better news is that we secured a 30,000 square-foot space at 65 Broadway for our new home. This news comes in the studio’s seventh decade which we commemorate this year.

This new space allows us to realize our goals as a world-class training and cultural center. We will occupy the entire second floor which will be our main reception area and we will have additional space in the basement. There is immediate access to nine major subway lines (1, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z, R, W) and walking proximity to almost all others.

The space also allows us to breathe and expand. For comparison, we will have a full 10,000 square feet more than we currently occupy. We will have two more rehearsal studios than we do now. The additional square footage will allow us two dedicated dressing rooms and a dedicated space for a library/student lounge for the first time ever. We’re pleased to report that we’ll have a larger faculty lounge and production shop as well. 

I have seen scores of spaces all over New York City in the past five years and can attest that there are few with the specifications we need at a rate a not-for-profit organization can afford. The specifications are important for us and this space fits the bill: the second floor has palatial 16 foot ceilings (high enough to hand theater lights and still have space to swing a sword). We will have wide spaces with 25 foot column spans.

The building, known as the American Express building for that company’s history there, occupies a full city block from Broadway to Trinity Place. Today, the building is known for its landmark status and beautiful design including its New-Classical Broadway façade and double story Corinthian colonnade and large arched windows.  

With this news comes a new goal. Our effort will be to build out the space by August 1, 2019, so that we can open at 65 Broadway in September. This is eminently doable but will take an enormous force of will and effort. Part of our job is to move our current program downtown. And another significant effort will be the fundraising needed for this capital project.

I am happy with this new location and space and think it a fitting way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. It will also mark 130 years of the Adler family’s presence in and impact on the City of New York and beyond. In addition to the practical advantages of the location, great transportation, an exciting neighborhood coming into prominence as a cultural hub, and more space, it also brings us closer to where it all began, downtown Manhattan, and invites a reevaluation and presentation of our work, mission, programs, projects that will breed creativity and inspire support.

Lately, on the cusp of this move and our 70th anniversary, I’ve been thinking a great deal about Stella. The more I think about her the more I appreciate what she tried to bring to the world. Her life was devoted not just to pumping out working actors; it was a life devoted to depth and meaning in the face of a society committed to the superficial. I’ve been observing the wonderful teachers who carry on her work while at the same time watching vintage videos of Stella teaching. What I hear through them is a Cassandra of our time warning us against our own worst instincts – greed, love of money, celebrity culture, life styles of the rich and famous – and guiding us toward rigor, intelligence, heart, imagination and human potential. I have devoted my life to concretizing Stella’s cry for depth. I’d like to celebrate that effort, by renaming the Stella Adler Studio of Acting the Stella Adler Center for the Arts. Actor training will continue to be known as the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and likewise will remain at the center of the organization’s focus. But given our tremendous growth and reach over the past decades – especially with respect to the work of the Stella Adler Outreach Division, Harold Clurman Lab Theater and Playwrights Division – the nomenclature of an arts center seems more accurate to both the student and audience experience of our work, mission and programs.

Thank you to those who have been involved with and supported this effort to date. A move like this takes the support of the entire community and I am deeply grateful.

Sincerely,

Tom Oppenheim
Artistic Director

Posted in News, Toms blog

Interview with playwright Emma Carter

Director of Cultural Programming Nina Capelli interviews playwright Emma Carter about her experience as a finalist in the Harold Clurman Playwrights Division 2017-2018 season. Emma’s play Wicked Creatures was the center of an intensive workshop behind closed doors in December 2017. In June 2018 Wicked Creatures was one of five that the studio featured in the First Breath New Play Reading Series, which presents new work in free, public readings.
Was this experience artistically nourishing?
Yes, in many ways. It was wonderful to travel to New York, see the city, meet new artists, reconnect with old friends. The city nourished my soul by charging me up with energy. The people I met on this trip were all incredibly kind, supportive, and honestly seemed happy to help. Having a chance to sit down with the cast and director of Wicked Creatures and just talk about the script a little bit was particularly helpful, especially considering everyone’s impressive educational background and resume of experience. I’ve learned so much about my writing by listening to other people dissect it. 
Are readings useful to you? And if so could you say in what ways?
Yes, the readings are helpful in many ways. 1) It’s helpful to hear actors I don’t know interpret my work. It’s illuminating to see how their choices differ from what I’ve seen other actors do, or how their interpretations of the characters line up with or differ from what I intended when I wrote the piece. 2) Hearing the play read in front of an audience is always helpful, especially if it’s an audience of people who don’t know me or my work particularly well. The audience’s reactions will tell me all I need to know about what’s working or not working. Each reading teaches me something new about the piece’s strengths and weaknesses. 3) It’s also helpful to network and meet new people! In this business you never know where your next opportunity might present itself, but the more people who meet, the more genuine connections you make, the better it is for everyone.
Did you feel that you grew as an artist as a result of this experience? And if so how?
I do think so! Every time we share our work and open ourselves up to critique or criticism we’re given an opportunity to grow. To practice vulnerability, letting go of our ego, letting go of control by handing the script over to actors and directors. Also, a playwright friend of mine saw this reading and was able to give me some really great feedback. At the time I was a little to overwhelmed to really absorb it all, but now that some time has passed and I’ve been able to go back and look at the notes he sent me again, I feel a renewed energy for working on Wicked Creatures, and making it even better.
Is there any other feedback you’d like to share?
I very much enjoyed being a part of the reading series, and appreciate the Playwrights Division for including me.
Emma Carter is a playwright, actress and teaching artist based in Kansas City, MO. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Music from Stephens College, is a member of the Midwest Dramatists, the winner of KC’s Project Playwright 2015. Her works have been produced by The Living Room TheatreThe Fishtank Theater, Project Playwright, Midwest Dramatists and The Barn Players in Kansas City. Find copies of her work on the National New Play Network.
Posted in News

Aoife Kelly (’18) Stars in “Two by Friel” at the Irish Repertory Theatre

Performances for “Two by Friel” at the Irish Repertory Theatre, starring alum Aoife Kelly (Class of 2018), run through December 23, 2018.

Posted in Alumni

Interview with Julia Maldonado

Interview with Julia Maldonado

How did you get involved with the studio’s DOC programs?

After I completed grad school in 2016, I was looking for a way to use what I had learned to give back to the community. I was aware of the good work being done by the Stella Adler Outreach Division through other Adler alumni, and reached out to see how I could be involved. The Department of Correction (DOC) programs turned out to be a good fit, and after shadowing former head of outreach, Tommy Demenkoff, for a few months I started to teach my own writing classes.

 

What do you now? i.e. What populations do you work with? What role do you play?

I teach playwriting classes across multiple DOC facilities. Currently, I work with young men (18-21) in the secure unit at GRVC and adult residents of the new Transgender Housing Unit at Rosie’s, both on Rikers Island.

 

What is the most rewarding thing about this work?

I get to be a part of my students discovering talents they didn’t know they had, and to be a link to a future they maybe hadn’t considered for themselves. It’s tremendously exciting when the writing work really “clicks” with a student, and I get to watch them grow as artists. But even when writing isn’t really their thing, students look forward to the class and I get to provide a momentary distraction from all they’re going through. 

What is the most difficult or challenging thing about this work?

Working in jail is unpredictable. You have to be prepared to adjust your plan on the spot. You can show up and students will have been moved, or facilities will be closed. Students that were in a good mood last week may be in a bad place when you arrive, but you can’t allow yourself to be let down.

 

How has this work affected you as an artist? As a human being?

Working with this population is so humbling. I’m constantly reminded that great theatre can happen anywhere. It has nothing to do with being accepted by prestigious institutions or the size of your audience. As long as you are getting in touch with your own truth, creating art is its own reward.

 

Do you feel that you have changed/grown as a result of this work?

Yes – before I started working in jails, I had a lot of strong opinions about criminal justice reform. But I discovered that only by seeing it from the inside can you begin to understand the complexity of the problem. Sometimes, the obstacles in the way of change seem insurmountable. Progress happens very slowly. The best you can do for an issue you care about is to use what talents you have to serve your community. 

 

What is your greatest hope for your students in DOC facilities?

I hope they all continue to grow and to change, and to never give up on their own voices. For those that get to go home soon, I hope that they find strength within themselves to try something new and discover new paths on the outside. For those that may be incarcerated long term, I hope they find ways of coping inside that will allow them to continue to grow in spite of their circumstances… whether that’s through arts programs, education, or whatever gives them true joy.

 

Anything else you want to add?

I’d like to shout out to all the Corrections Officers and other DOC employees who support (the) Stella Adler (Studio)’s programming, without whom none of this would be possible.

 

Julia Rae Maldonado is a playwright, actor and teaching artist. Her plays have been produced off-Broadway and internationally, and she is a finalist for the 2018 Heideman award (Actors Theatre Louisville). She has been a playwright-in-residence with INTAR, The Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Wing, and is an active company member of TheatreEast.  Her short play Real Life is published in Gary Garrison’s book, A (More) Perfect 10: Writing and Producing the Ten Minute Play. She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School, and is an alumna of The Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She has taught Playmaking with the 52nd Street Project, and is currently teaching playwriting with NYC Theatre Workshop and the Stella Adler Studio Outreach Division. For the Stella Adler Outreach Division Julia is a lead teacher in NYC public school programs and at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. www.juliaraemaldonado.com

Posted in News

LaTanya Jones reports on her journey with the Stella Adler Outreach Division’s Women’s Theater Project

LaTanya Jones was one of the original members of the Stella Adler Outreach Division’s Women’s Theater Project when it started five years ago at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Since then she has come home and is currently part of the ensemble of Outside/In, the studio’s re-entry program, which will be presenting new work in December. Ms. Jones recently reported on her journey with the studio:

“Stella Adler Studio of Acting offered me a new lease on life and I willingly & gratefully grabbed it with two hands and I never want to let it go.

As I told many if you in my missives from prison the studio was a part of my life line. You provided me with the oxygen I needed to breath. I knew unequivocally that I would soon receive one of those fine envelopes with a letter full of love, encouragement, and hope.
Now I’ve joined society and lucky for me the narrative hasn’t changed. You are all still colored with love, and I appreciate each of you. I will continue to be part of the Stella Adler family as long as you’ll have me.
The most important thing is (that) returning to anything remotely close to my past is not an option. I’m rebuilding with my young daughter and reuniting with the rest of my family. I have been homeless since my release, but I am grateful for my freedom. I sleep nightly in a shelter. Each morning I board the A-train to report to a job as a Case Manager; where I ironically help other homeless people.
I’ve stopped complaining about what I don’t have and appreciate what I do have. I live enthusiastically, and look forward to my classes at Stella Adler. I believe the best is yet to come.”
Posted in News

Feedback from student inmates at Rose M. Singer Center

Working with incarcerated people presents certain challenges. We want their voices and stories to be heard but we also need to protect their anonymity. Here are some thoughts from recent some students.

 

Feedback from student inmates at Rose M. Singer Center:

 

“Sometimes I forget where I am in this class.  It’s like I’m free.”

 

“I had to come to jail to meet great people like Pauletta Washington and Yusef Komunyakaa and Jack the Shakespeare teacher and of course Joanne who makes us laugh every week.  And do things we can’t really do. I am going to go to Stella Adler Studio when I get out and keep acting.”

 

“When I get out I’m going to bring my kids to museums and read to them.  I wish they could have this class.  Thank you for coming here every week.”

 

“I never knew I could understand poetry and Shakespeare.”

 

“I never even spoke before this class.  I didn’t understand English, but now I speak really loud and people listen to me.  And I tell Joanne my poems and she writes them down for me.  That’s very nice.”

 

“I met people who care about me in this class.  Everybody acts different.  It’s fun.”

 

“I like Shakespeare.  And I never would have known that.  Thanks, Stella Adler.”

 

“As a Rosie Inmate I thank you for taking the time and help us understand the acting world.  This discussion always helps us to resolve conflicts.  Thank you.”

 

“I’m going to bring my son to the Stella Adler Studio so he can find his duende and learn poetry and write his own poetry.  I thank God for Stella Adler.”

 

“I feel alive.  I feel strong.  I feel happy.  I don’t want to hurt nobody.  I don’t want nobody to hurt me.”

 

“She said no one is judging us.  It’s just taking acting class.  It’s good.”

 

 

Feedback from student inmates at George R. Vierno Center/maximum security:

 

“In this room, we engaged each other as humans. Whatever past mistakes we made or didn’t make, we laughed together and told stories together.” – A. R.

 

“What a wonderful experience to be able to share and create beautiful art with Stella Adler students in AMKC and OutsideIn. Beyond inspired and grateful to be able to be a part of this class and meet so many amazingly talented people!” – A. J. L.

 

“Beyond the rusty gates, the gray bars, such an inspirational group awaited. We came, we laughed, we listened. These men, young and old, transferred us beyond these Rikers walls. Just with their acting skills. Tommy, Suzy, Stella keep up the great job!” – C. Y.

 

“This is what I’ve been looking for my whole life – somewhere I can learn to hone my crafts and work with some really amazing people. Thank you for this gift!” – W.G.

Posted in News

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