An aspiring actor studies in

 

 new york city 

come along for the ride

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: As for so many, my plans have been put on hold by the current pandemic.

I have returned to New Zealand and am grateful to be safe and well.

In New York I completed year one of the two year programme. Here’s what was happening … 

 

 

Jason embarks on full-time study at one of NYC’s Premier acting conservatories.

You can come too, – Here’s What’s Happening:

here’s why I’m in New York city:

studying at The Neighborhood Playhouse

one of the world’s premier acting conservatories.

long story: the back story

New York The first time:
Summer schools, Masterclasses,
and a big Debut

The previous year of discovery

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jason’s new york giants

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why i’m studying full-time at the

neighborhood playhouse

Having auditioned and received offers from multiple schools I have accepted a place at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York City.

Famous as the home of the Meisner Technique, the school continues to teach the  world-renowned approach to acting developed there by Sanford Meisner – one of the greatest acting teachers of the 20th Century.

I’m pursuing this training that as a thoroughly equipped actor that I may work with the very best. Though more recently concentrated on cabaret, I continue to aspire to a professional acting career in Musical Theatre, on stage and screen.

This industry-repected school offers the grounding in a strong acting technique required to create high quality work in a career with breadth and depth.

long story: the back story

New York The first time:
Summer schools, Masterclasses,
and a big Debut

Every Day

Thousands of people arrive and depart – Each with
a New york story.

here’s how it happened to me.

Said a professional musician from New York who had just seen my show in the New Zealand Fringe Festival:

“You should come to New York – I think they’d like you.”

“But make sure you’re ready – it’s tough.”

Months and preparation followed but eventually, 

 One Kiwi departed for NYC with two suitcases and three modest goals:

 Attend a cabaret summer school.
Take tuition and private musical coaching.
See all the live performance that I could.

 

 St. Louis & cabaret
summer school #1

 

Two days after arriving in New York I flew to the St Louis Cabaret Conference for 7 days of summer school – my first ever cabaret-specific tuition. The first New Zealander ever to attend the conference,  I discovered that many prominent people from New York’s cabaret scene had also flown there. Several of the faculty kindly offered that I contact them for mentoring and advice. Never could I have known that such a key to New York lay, 900 miles west, in St. Louis.

new york, ny
shows & Master classes

Summer school complete, I returned to New York and started to learn how to live there. New Yorkers take a direct approach to communication and life. New York has an energy all it’s own – an aggressive forward momentum – living there makes one feel simultaneously harassed and energised. I liked it.

I sought out performances in New York’s numerous cabaret rooms and made full use of rush tickets, standing room, and entered the cheap-ticket lottery draws to see performances on Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera too.

On multiple occasions it was the generosity of others that enabled me to attend masterclasses and coaching sessions. The kindness I experienced was amazing.

“My favorite thing about New York is the people, because I think they’re misunderstood.
I don’t think people realize how kind New York people are.”

- Bill Murray

And so after a few months my three modest goals were largely complete. It was time for larger goals.

I reached out to a director and musical director whom I had met in St. Louis – with some nervousness, owing to the established names with whom they usually work. Happily they agreed to work with me to create a show. To work with them was the highlight of my year.

New York Debut

I made my New York cabaret debut in ‘Getting To Noël You: The Coward That Changed My Life’ with Musical Director Christopher Denny on piano and directed by Barry Kleinbort. The shows sold out. The critics made nice noises, and it even created talk around town. – Talk!
A result far and beyond what I had dared to dream. A great success.

Enabled by a Scholarship from Fr Jeffrey Hamblin I traveled by train to Boston and ferry to Cape Cod to attend Marilyn Maye’s Masterclass at the Provincetown CabaretFest.

Before my visa expired there was just time to cram in one last learning experience. It would prove a turning point.

acting
summer school #2

I auditioned and was accepted into the Circle-in-the-Square Theater School Summer Intensive. Full-time for 7 weeks and finishing only days before the end of my visa, this course provided my first insight into the real preparatory work of a professional actor. While certainly very challenging it was an experience filled with rich and worthwhile discoveries.

It confirmed the path ahead.

In all of my New York cabaret-watching and theatre-going I observed that the most powerful and riveting performances were delivered by artists who were first and foremost actors and secondarily singers and performers. Having seen that the best singers were actors, and that acting skills equated to both better and greater work opportunities I determined to return to New York and study acting.

 

conclusion

And so ended my year in New York City. A year filled with learning and extraordinary experiences – most made possible by the extraordinary, generous and kind Americans that I met.

New York is a tough town and I will always be grateful that I left not in defeat with shattered dreams but with far greater aspirations that those with which I arrived.