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Reader's Choice

NYC Readers' Choice: Classes and Coaches

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Here are the 2010 New York Reader's Choice results for categories dealing with classes and coaches.  To look at all of the categories, be sure to visit the main page.

Favorite Vocal/Singing Coach:  Jackie Presti 

"Singing is a big coordination act, and I think a lot of people come in focusing on one aspect," says voice therapist and teacher Jackie Presti. "It's sort of like juggling and riding a bike and reciting Shakespeare at the same time."

Clearly, Presti, who's also a singer, musician, and conductor, hits the right notes with her students. Her knowledge of both technical and artistic matters, not to mention her versatility and flexibility as a teacher, appealed to Valerie Ryan Miller, who has studied with her for three years. "After developing a strong belt, and a lot of vocal tension," Miller says, "I came to Jackie, who has expanded my range enormously—we are talking octaves!—while keeping my voice healthy and pain-free.

"Jackie has an amazing gift in being able to hear a vocal sound and immediately know which muscles are doing what and what is blocking her students," Miller adds. "While some teachers I have worked with developed a fixed set of rules they tell their students to follow, Jackie has an incredibly immense knowledge of the voice, which cannot be compared to any one gimmick."

Part of that comes from training and experience. Presti, who was on the faculty of the New School and the Manhattan School of Music, returned to college to get an M.S. degree in speech-language pathology from Columbia because she wanted to work with singers who had vocal cord issues.

"I think I have an interesting combination of voice-science knowledge and practical singing skills," Presti says. "I've been surrounded by singers my whole life. I love working with singers, singing with amazing singers, and I'm always talking about singing, always trying to learn new things and get more information. It's a bottomless pit, and I try to bring that to my students."

Jackie Presti, 250 W. 57th St., Suite 829, NYC; (212) 459-1405; jackie@jackiepresti.com; www.jackiepresti.com

RUNNERS-UP: 

Page Clements, T. Schreiber Studio, 151 W. 26th St., NYC; (212) 741-0209; info@tschreiber.org; www.tschreiber.org

Andrew M. Byrne, 450 W. 58th St., #2C, NYC; (917) 513-3642; studio@andrewmbyrne.com; www.andrewmbyrne.com
"No matter where you are in your singing ability. Andrew brings you to the next level! I highly recommend him." — Jessica Myhr
"Fantastic technician, musician, stylist" — Lisa Riegel

Andrea Haring, Circle in the Square Theatre School, 1633 Broadway, NYC; (212) 307-0388; admissions@circlesquare.org; www.circlesquare.org

—Diane Snyder


Favorite Scene Study Teacher and Favorite Private Acting Coach:  Maggie Flanigan

A winner in two categories, Maggie Flanigan has been teaching acting for three decades. When asked whether her passion for teaching has grown over the years, she says no, that it has burned bright and steady throughout her career. Asked which of the two winning categories of instruction she prefers, she says they're equally rewarding, just different.

Flanigan uses scene study in her two-year training program to help students develop proficiency in the Sanford Meisner approach to acting. "They have to really carve out the scene," she explains, "and then—having carved it out—be able to live it and work spontaneously, which is not so easy." She also teaches a master class for advanced actors, though she prefers that her two-year students not jump directly into it but rather wait until after they have been out in the world putting their initial training to practical use.

As for private coaching, Flanigan enjoys getting a script and "ripping it apart and understanding the psychology, doing research on the character and then collaborating with the actor."

How has her teaching changed over the span of her career? Flanigan feels she's a much "simpler" teacher these days and more economical with her comments, using a few succinct phrases to relay what may have taken her 10 sentences when she first started. And are her students in 2010 any different from the ones she first instructed? Not essentially, she says, but "I do think some students now are not as well-read as they should be. It could just be me getting older. I give out a fairly extensive reading list—dramatic literature, novels, and psychology. I want them to have a rounded knowledge. I think that's important for an actor."

Flanigan has a reputation for being exacting and demanding, but her students seem to lap it up. Back Stage reader Alex Mahgoub, who completed the two-year program, says receiving Flanigan's casual affirmation of approval can be heartening: "Whenever you're having success with the work, the greatest thing that you can hear Maggie say is, 'You're on the right track' or 'You're okay there.' It's those moments that you live for."

Another reader, Carmen LoBue, adds, "Maggie Flanigan is the best acting coach out there because she pushes you to the limit. After working with Maggie, you will never settle for second best in your work."

Maggie Flanigan Studio, 153 W. 27th St., Suite 803, NYC; (917) 606-0982; info@maggieflaniganstudio.com; www.maggieflaniganstudio.com

RUNNERS-UP, SCENE STUDY TEACHER:

Jamie Tripp, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 W. 27th St., NYC; (212) 689-0087 or (800) 270-6775; info@stellaadler.com; www.stellaadler.com
"Amazing, genius." — Douglas Widick
"This man is the foremost voice of the theatre." — Tommy Nelms

Larry Singer, classes held at Space on White, 81 White St., NYC; (917) 327-5406; LarrySinger@nyct.net; www.larrysingerstudios.com
"The best teacher in the business." — Nate Grams
"Larry's rare gift is that not only can he pinpoint where the weaknesses are in an actor's craft but he has an impeccable sense of when and how to bring those weaknesses to the attention of the actor during the course of study. Just as he does not promote only one school of acting technique, he does not limit himself to one approach to teaching acting. He get to know each actor as an individual artist and works together with the artist to find the best path to their development. His is a gift to the art and craft of acting." — Sara Wagner

Terry Schreiber, 151 W. 26th St., 7th floor, NYC; (212) 741-0209; info@tschreiber.org; www.tschreiber.org
"Knowledge of the literature, perception, nurturing." — Peter Judd
"Terry is respectful and good natured, creates an environment of trust. Knowledgeable and dedicated with a variety of methods to utilize." — Gwen Eagleton

RUNNERS-UP, PRIVATE ACTING COACH:

Jandiz Estrada, P.O. Box 543, Radio City Station, NYC 10101; class@jandizestrada.com; www.jandizestrada.com
"Brilliant." — Lucy
"AMAZING!" — Dina Drew

Jason Bennett, Gene Frankel Theater, 24 Bond St., NYC; (212) 777-7603; info@jbactors.com; www.jbactors.com
"The work has changed my acting and my life forever!" — Jessica DiGiovanni

Larry Singer, classes held at Space on White, 81 White St., NYC; (917) 327-5406; LarrySinger@nyct.net;
"Best Teacher in NYC, Sincere personal attention. Not stuck in one "method". All about getting actors working not being a guru." — Bonnie Singer
"Gets to the essence of the scene and makes sure you get the job through thorough and personal choices that stand out." — Stephanye Dussud

—Mark Dundas Wood




Favorite Audition Teacher:  Jandiz Estrada 

The best part of casting associate Jandiz Estrada's day, she says, is teaching her auditioning-for-the-camera classes. Much time in a casting office is spent attending to bureaucracy—administrative and budgetary matters—so Estrada relishes the hours she spends "in a room watching a young actor perform...especially if they're good."

An associate in the New York office of the bicoastal Mackey/Sandrich Casting, Estrada began teaching about three years ago. Her work with CBS and ABC made her realize that actors often don't recognize the different audition techniques needed for various TV formats— a half-hour sitcom as opposed to an hour-long drama, for instance.

The actors she works with are not beginners. "I'm not in the class to teach acting," Estrada says. "I don't have anything to do with devising a method or talking about objectives." Some of her pupils are skilled and successful theater actors who can't seem to make the transition to film and TV because they don't have a sense of how they come across on camera. "Most of the time, all they really need is a crash course," she explains, "a lot of practice and repetition and experimenting with different genres."

Her main goal, Estrada says, is to demystify the audition process: "Actors are always walking out the door wondering what the casting directors and producers and directors are talking about once they leave. I want to tell them quite honestly what some opinions could possibly be that they're never hearing."

Such honesty can sometimes seem blunt. But the Back Stage readers who have worked with Estrada value her candor. Former student Avia Bushyhead says Estrada's frankness is "always to help you grow, to help you see the bigger picture, the macro and the micro.... I would much rather have someone be honest as opposed to 'Well, that was really great, and I saw what you were trying to do there, blah blah.' No. Sure, we all saw what you wanted to do, but you failed."

Another former student, Jessica Perelle, agrees that Estrada will not overpraise students' strengths in order to make them feel good. But she notes that Estrada says at the outset of the course that she always roots for the actor, that she loves actors. "And you really get the sense from her that that's true," Perelle says. "With a lot of other coaches, you feel like they're working with you but they're sort of not on your side. You always feel like she's on your side."

Jandiz Estrada, P.O. Box 543, Radio City Station, NYC 10101; class@jandizestrada.com; www.jandizestrada.com

RUNNERS-UP:

Stephanie Yankwitt, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 W. 27th St., NYC; (212) 689-0087 or (800) 270-6775; info@stellaadler.com; www.stellaadler.com
"She's top of the game" — Phytos Stratis
"As a casting director who better to trust! She has an intangible ease and honesty with which she approaches her students and their work and as a result always pulls the greatest results from them." — Emma Katz

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com
"Gives you readings that help you to use all of your skills." — Jane Brown
"Loved the class! It was fun and fantastic...a true learning experience!!" — Janet Shock

Karen Kohlhaas, Atlantic Theater Company, 76 Ninth Ave., #537, NYC; (212) 252-4200; karen@monologueaudition.com; www.monologueaudition.com
"Karen has developed a system for auditioning that makes perfect sense and instills confidence."  — Brian Armstrong
"Karen helped my rehearsal process grow. Now I enjoy auditioning." — Lindsey Austen

—Mark Dundas Wood


Favorite Dialect Coach:  Kohli Calhoun

Kohli Calhoun is no Henry Higgins. Sure, the Stella Adler Studio dialect coach is a master with accents and language and knows how to challenge her students, but they don't find her a fearsome taskmaster.

"I was always so thankful for the sense of humor she brings into the rehearsal room," says Andria Kozica, who studied with Calhoun at Stella Adler through NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and has worked with her on two shows.

A dialect and vocal coach for seven years, Calhoun became interested in dialects while an NYU student herself, though her proclivity emerged well before her college years. "I've done accents my whole life," she says. "When I was a kid, I would always order our drive-through in some accent or crazy voice. Then I began to work in earnest once I realized I could make a career out of it."

Part of her appeal has to do with her process, which is about the individual as much as the accent. "I think it's really important to remember that dialect work is not completely static and scientific and should be able to adjust depending on who the character is and what the director's vision requires," she explains. "I try to work with that perspective in mind, making sure what I do with an actor is first and foremost a creative process and not a fixed set of rules."

Former student Regina Gibson says, "While I studied with her, I had the good fortune of being cast in three plays requiring extensive dialect training: 'The Mai' (Irish), 'A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur' (German), and 'The Memory of Water' (Yorkshire). All these accents had their own specific challenges for me.... I never felt at any time that I was being given a general generic approach to the work. She kept me from veering off into dangerous sounds, particularly one rehearsal where the Yorkshire accent was beginning to take on an Australian sound."

Kohli Calhoun, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 W. 27th St., 3rd floor, NYC; (212) 689-0087; kohli@stellaadler.com; www.stellaadler.com

RUNNERS-UP:

Page Clements, T. Schreiber Studio, 151 W. 26th St., NYC; (212) 741-0209; info@tschreiber.org; www.tschreiber.org
"I swear to god, Page's ability to morph her voice into ANYTHING is almost magical! She understands at a gut level how a voice - including an accent or dialect - can inform an entire character. Having experienced and overcome extreme voice difficulties in her own past, she is wonderfully sensitive and patient with her students, gentle but thoroughly demanding." — Alexandra Hellquist
"She has changed the way I work in a million ways."  — Summer Crockett Moore

Amy Stoller, (917) 319-7448; amystoller@stollersystem.com; www.stollersystem.com
"There is none better." — Guy William Molnar
"She's the best!" — Michael Graves

Patricia Fletcher, (212) 517-2862; pfletchervoice@aol.com; www.patriciafletcher.com
"A very talented teacher. Detailed and knows how to get you to understand the concepts. Dialects are easy to grasp with her guidance." — Elyse Cogan

—Diane Snyder




Favorite Cold-Reading Teacher and Favorite Monologue Coach:  Karen Kohlhaas

"My philosophy in monologues and cold readings is that we've already ruined our lives by going into show business, so if we don't have a good time, the joke's on us," says Karen Kohlhaas, winner in two categories: cold-reading teacher and monologue coach. "There's so many things that actors can do to make the audition more enjoyable for themselves and for the people that watch them."

Kohlhaas says very few performers actually seem to have a good time in the audition room—and that anyone with a positive spirit immediately stands out as a result. Her audition techniques are therefore designed to prepare actors not only for their next monologue or cold reading, but for a more consistently positive audition experience overall.

"The monologue and cold-reading techniques that I teach are based on my experience in watching auditions," Kohlhaas says. "I sort of selfishly do it, because I get tense and nervous when I see a tense and nervous actor."

She teaches actors to have not just one or two audition monologues, but a roster of up to 20. For auditions involving a cold reading, where you don't have the opportunity to choose and prepare your own material, she teaches "ice-cold" reading: "Just pick it up and start acting," sight unseen, she says. "If you can do that, you can do anything. I'm a big believer in always preparing for the worst-case scenario, so that anything after that is fantastic."

Kohlhaas also makes sure actors know how to direct themselves during an audition—how to stage their monologue and make their own physical choices. "It keeps them focused, because they know what they're going to do physically," she says. "And it prevents them from either freezing up or from wandering with no purpose."

"An important lesson is that you are in the audition room because you want to be there," says Back Stage reader Aizzah Fatima in explaining why she voted for Kohlhaas in both categories. "I have learned to take my time and have a reliable method of entering and exiting the room that takes the focus away from me being nervous and wanting to run away. This helps me feel more confident during auditions."

Fatima says she used the techniques she learned in Kohlhaas' class at her first audition after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and she booked the role. She credits Kohlhaas with preparing her for any type of audition, and adds that she still rehearses with actors she met in Kohlhaas' class a year and a half ago.

Kohlhaas is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company and a senior teacher at the Atlantic Acting School. She is the author of "How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition," "The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors," and "The Monologue Audition Teacher's Manual."

Karen Kohlhaas, Atlantic Theater Company, 76 Ninth Ave., #537, NYC; (212) 252-4200; karen@monologueaudition.com; www.monologueaudition.com

RUNNERS-UP, COLD-READING TEACHER:

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com
"Affordable, Blunt & Treats Actors With Respect" — Carlo Francis
"Very personal and nurturing and also educational" — Joyce Laoagan

Maggie Flanigan Studio, 153 W. 27th St., Suite 803, NYC; (917) 606-0982; info@maggieflaniganstudio.com; www.maggieflaniganstudio.com
"Brilliant, specific simple method" — Leon Fallon

Charles Sandlan, senior acting teacher and program director, Maggie Flanigan Studio
"Talented, specific and very very good" — Donna Augustin
"To-the-bone honesty and a keen eye" — Lex Friedman

RUNNERS-UP, MONOLOGUE COACH:

Maggie Flanigan Studio, 153 W. 27th St., Suite 803, NYC; (917) 606-0982; info@maggieflaniganstudio.com; www.maggieflaniganstudio.com
"The best" — James Baird
"She is great." — Rainey Qualley

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com
"Excellent preparation, instills self-confidence" — Tricia Beyer
"Unerring sense for what works." — Donna Swensen

Charles Sandlan, senior acting teacher and program director, Maggie Flanigan Studio
"Makes everything so clear and pushes people to do their best." — Nicolle

—Daniel Lehman


Favorite On-Camera Acting Teacher:  Ron Burrus

Arguably, there has been no more-influential force in the development of the American actor than the late Stella Adler, and Ron Burrus is one of the greatest champions of her teachings. Before setting up his Ron Burrus Studio of Acting in Los Angeles in 1985, he was a student of Adler's and a teaching assistant alongside her at her New York City studio. "Stella didn't teach camera work, but her techniques are perfect for film acting," Burrus says.

These days, Burrus' teaching career is bicoastal. In the fall, he teaches at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in its program with New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and he spends the rest of the year in California. In his view, the best part of teaching on-camera acting is that he can immediately show his students their work. "The camera can see if you're doing it or not doing it," he says, and the students "can see it for themselves and make adjustments."

Robin Levenson, an alumna of Burrus' Los Angeles studio, a speech teacher at the City University of New York's York College, and a script-analysis instructor at the Adler studio this summer, cites Burrus as an invaluable influence on both her acting and teaching work, as well as on her outlook on life outside of acting: "He once said to us in class, 'If you know what to do well on stage, you know what not to do in real life.' On stage it's all about conflict. In real life, you don't want that."

Levenson characterizes Burrus' approach as an effective combination of philosophy and practicality. "He knows the limitations of camera art for the actor and always teaches surprising keys to making it real in each moment," she says. "He's an artist. He never stops learning, teaching new things, seeing the world anew. He is clarity personified."

Ron Burrus, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 W. 27th St., 3rd floor, NYC; (212) 689-0087;
www.stellaadler.com; Ron Burrus Studio of Acting, Pico Playhouse, 1058 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 497-1430; www.ronburrus.com

RUNNERS-UP:

Jandiz Estrada, P.O. Box 543, Radio City Station, NYC 10101; class@jandizestrada.com; www.jandizestrada.com
"She gave the best in depth on camera class I've taken yet. Her insights were right on point and she made the class feel at ease." — Jason Flores
"She shows you how to perform your best in front of the camera."  — Yerania Del Orbe

Peter Miner, T. Schreiber Studio, 151 W. 26th St., NYC; (212) 741-0209; www.tschreiber.com
"He's a wealth of information and he helps you to get under the text." — Dee James
"I've taken this class with Peter Miner since I was 14, and every time I get deeper into the honesty of the character rather than the overacting." — Allison Strong

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com
"He offers affordable classes and really knows his stuff." — Lianne Coleman
"He's got a unique style that really works and, not only that, I've learned a great deal simply from watching him teach." — Diane Bakos

—Schuyler Lynne Velasco




Favorite Commercial Workshop:  Jagger Kaye

"I am not your typical instructor," says Jagger Kaye, whose commercial workshop at Affordable Acting Classes was voted the favorite of Back Stage readers. "I am not a people person in any way, but I am someone that holds actors in the highest regard...and when I respect someone, I am brutally honest with them." The actor-director-producer-coach-teacher may pride himself on tough love, but his students respect his methods.

"He gives it to you straight," says Maayan Schneider. "He's never said, that I've heard, anything mean to anyone. It's really nice to have someone who just says, straight, 'This sucked, and here's why it sucked, and here's how you can fix that.' "

Another student, Susan De Stefano, comments, "He has a very no-nonsense type of style. He knows what works and what doesn't and is very frank, not brutally so, with students.... He honestly tries to give each student the opportunity to be his or her best at commercial auditions and basically acting in general."

"Don't listen to anybody that says the NYC acting scene is cutthroat, because it isn't," says Kaye. "Actors will go out of their way in NYC to help each other if they're surrounding themselves with like-minded, nonpretentious, hard-working peers, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of."

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com

RUNNERS-UP:

John Swain, T. Schreiber Studio, 151 W. 26th St., 7th floor, NYC; (212) 741-0209;
www.tschreiber.org
"This guy CARES!! And his stuff WORKS!! FOR ANYONE!" — Gloria Mets
"He has a wonderful method for commercial copy. Works so well in auditions." — Cynthia Shaw

Brooke Thomas and Mary Egan, House Casting, 155 Wooster St., Suite 3W, NYC;
brooke@housecasting.com; www.brookeandmary.com
"They are encouraging, honest and actually help you get work—totally amazing" — Susan Montez
"Awesome!" — Marisa Vitali

ACTeen, 35 W. 45th St., NYC; (212) 391-5915; www.acteen.com

—Brooks Sherman


Favorite Dance Studio:  Broadway Dance Center

Located in the heart of Manhattan's theater district, the 26-year-old Broadway Dance Center is multidisciplinary one-stop shopping for dance classes, including ballet, jazz, and hip-hop. "We are not the oldest school, but we are the first to embrace a multidisciplinary program," says Diane King, the center's executive director. "We have more than 75 teachers and 40 classes a day. Approximately 3,000 students train with us each week, and we are open seven days a week."

Students may attend on a drop-in basis or enroll in a three-month, six-month, or yearlong program, depending on their skill level. Classes accommodate beginners and intermediate dancers, as well as full-fledged professionals, who are offered special discounts. King is especially pleased with the center's international flavor. Thirty-five countries are represented among the students, she says, and many foreign students earn their student visas through the school.

It's also an extremely inviting place, with its five state-of-the-art studios, climate control, and areas designed for stretching and relaxation. Students come by to make connections, network, or just hang out and check their email on their laptops. Free wireless service is available.

Celeste Van Vroenhoven loves the convivial atmosphere, the cleanliness, the way classes are set up, and the high-level teachers on hand at all times. Fred Tumas couldn't agree more; he talks fondly of his tap classes with Chuck Kelly, who is a "consummate professional, strict but playful," Tumas says. "He is no-nonsense and old-school." For Tumas, that's high praise.

Broadway Dance Center, 322 W. 45th St., 3rd floor, NYC; (212) 582-9304; info@bwydance.com; www.bwydance.com

RUNNERS-UP:

Steps on Broadway, 2121 Broadway, NYC; (212) 874-2410; info@stepsnyc.com; www.stepsnyc.com
"Great classes, low ego and great rental space for tap sessions." — David Rossetti
"Professional, fun and classes give a lot of attention"  — Halima Henderson

Alvin Ailey Dance Studios, 405 W. 55th St., NYC; (212) 405-9000; ahenry@alvinailey.org; www.alvinailey.org
"Beautiful space, inspires you to move." — Jenny Neale
"So welcoming and professional." — Emily Bodkin

Peridance Center, 126 E. 13th St., NYC; (212) 505-0886; info@peridance.com; www.peridance.com
"Their ballet and modern faculty is second to none in this city and their new space is a beautiful home for the dancer." — Victoria Weinberg

—Simi Horwitz



Favorite Acting Coach or Class for Kids:  ACTeen

"If you're not loving it, why are you doing it?" asks Rita Litton, founder of ACTeen and one of its teachers. "It's not only about enjoying it, but working on the techniques as well."

Since 1978, ACTeen has been providing theatrical and on-camera training for teens and young adults, ages 13–20. Its on-camera training was the nation's first for teenagers, according to Litton, and the wide range of skills taught allows students to cross between film and theater.

"We think the most-interesting actors make the most-interesting choices," Litton says. "We've always been about taking risks and working initially from your strengths and then progressing from there." She adds that ACTeen believes acting is "action-oriented" and that emotions simply result from success or failure at achieving the character's intention. Students partake in exercises from Stanislavsky, Meisner, Hagen, and Adler.

"They have a really supportive panel of teachers that encourage you to push yourself but still manage to be supportive," says Stephanie Abuso, an ACTeen student. "The atmosphere is family-like, and they care about each of their students, even after they leave and go on to other projects."

Class subjects range from auditioning, film acting, and scene study to Shakespeare and scriptwriting. Students can attend full time or part time, or even after school or on weekends.

"ACTeen is very friendly and teaches you everything you need to know to be prepared before going into your next audition," says alumnus Ralph Rodriguez. "Rita is a wonderful private coach as well as a group teacher. She's extremely amazing and nice. She can find your style and help you shape up your act."

Litton believes that actors have to be able to work with different actors and directors. She says she trains her students to be flexible enough to know what works and sensitive enough to adapt to what's happening around them.

"Rita Litton is absolutely one-of-a-kind," says student Samantha Bilinkas. "She's one of the most talented, lovable, beautiful people that I've ever known, and she's taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Her teachings have not only helped me grow in my acting ability, but she gets her students to delve deep inside their souls to find the passion of their craft."

"What I do is a joy and a privilege," Litton says. "I love the creativity."

ACTeen, 35 W. 45th St., NYC; (212) 391-5915; rita@acteen.com; www.acteen.com

RUNNERS-UP:

Ted Bardy, 153 W. 27th St., Suite 301, NYC; (212) 725-7575; tedbardy@tedbardy.com; www.tedbardy.com
"The real deal w/ results to prove it!" — Ed Mitchell
"Ted Bardy/Greg Parente are great" — Richard Clark

Jagger Kaye, CastingsnClasses, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC; AffordableActingClasses@gmail.com; www.castingsnclasses.com
"He really wants you to succeed." — Linda McEntee

—Alison Mierzejewski




Favorite Voice-Over Workshop:  Diane Lotte

Diane Lotte, CastingnClasses, Time Square Art Center, 300 W. 43rd St., #404, NYC 10036, affordableactingclasses@gmail.com, www.castingsnclasses.com

"She knows her stuff" — Barbara Fiscarel

"Supportive and honest and a real human being"  — Carol Neiman

RUNNERS UP:
David Zema, David Zema Enterprises, Inc., Voice of Success Programs, 1123 Broadway at W. 25th St, Suite 1012, 10th Fl., NYC; (212) 675-4978; www.voiceofsuccess.com
"He offers what you need to win"  —  Laurinda Barrett
"Covers all aspects of VO from actual copy reading to self-marketing techniques; best of all, never rushes students through a "mill" but takes the time to cover everything clearly!" — Tony Scheinman

Marla Kirban Voiceover, 630 9th Ave. #1104, NYC; (212) 397-7969; (212) 397-0042 (fax); marlakirbanvoiceover@gmail.com
"Marla and Bruce are amazing.  They helped me produce my demo and are helping me break into the business" — Seve Horak
"Professional and to the point" — Larry Shea

Edge Studio, 307 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1007, NYC; (212) 868-3343 (EDGE); edge@edgestudio.com; (Other locations in Connecticut, Los Angeles and Washington DC)
"Very professional and friendly, supportive environment."  — Oliver Conant
"Best Facility? Instructors Hands down!"  — Heidi Azaro


Favorite Comedy Class/Teacher:  Peter Michael Marino

Peter Michael Marino teaches his "Flying Solo" class at The Peoples Improv Theatre, 154 W. 29th St., NYC; (212) 563-7488; classes@thepit-nyc.com; http://thepit-nyc.com/

"The man is an inspiration, a genius and a mensch." — Bradford Scobie

"Peter knows comedy and he knows how to ring it out of you even if you think you're not funny!" — Lorie Hammel

RUNNERS UP:
Mary Dimino, (212) 592-4185; marydimino@yahoo.com

Upright Citizen Brigade, 145 W. 30th St., 4th fl., NYC; (212) 929-8107; classes@ucbcomedy.com; http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/classes/
"They know their stuff" — Sarah Anne Rodgers

The Peoples Improv Theatre, 154 W. 29th St., NYC; (212) 563-7488; classes@thepit-nyc.com; http://thepit-nyc.com/
"[Instructor Kevin Scott] is a genius.  We would routinely stay after class for 15 minutes asking him questions and not letting him leave.  He's bold and creative." — Noah Levin


Favorite Improv Class/Teacher:  Noel Wilson

Noel Wilson/Stella Adler, The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 W. 27th St., 3rd fl., NYC; (212) 689-0087; (800) 270-6775; (212) 689 6110 (fax); info@stellaadler.com

"Noel knows his stuff.  He studied with Viola Spolin herself and truly understands how improv helps to fuel acting.  His favorite phrase "Get out of your head" has been one of the greatest pieces of advice I've gotten as an actor." — Mark Weatherup

RUNNERS UP:
Seth Michael May & Bryan Radkte, Acting on Impulse, (917) 805-9899; info@actingonimpulse.org.
"Seth has taught me how to apply the art of improv to my acting." — Jennifer Seeger
"Fun!" — Madeleine James

John Swist, Quick Thinking Improv, quickthinkingimprov@hotmail.com
"A wonderful and supportive teacher!" — Sitij Agrawal
"Always fun and supportive" — Jason Lizzack

Upright Citizen Brigade, 145 W. 30th St., 4th fl., NYC; (212) 929-8107; classes@ucbcomedy.com; http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/classes/
"All their classes from 101 to 501 are invaluable to an actor's training!" — Mike Sullivan
(Ari Voukydis – Instructor) "Ari is the best!  Great teacher, lightning-fast wit, tremendous enthusiasm." — Douglas McLaughlin

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