Selected Acting Classes in NYC: A Detailed Overview

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Let’s look at some of the best acting classes in NYC.

The list is not ranked in any way—it is primarily intended to help you find the right acting school for you and your personal preferences. Each school on this list focuses on various needs and specific intentions for you to perfect for your success as a performer.

Tip: If you can’t take classes in person, you should know that many of these schools also offer online acting classes.

The Barrow Group

Founded in 1986 by a team of passionate creatives, The Barrow Group is a non-profit institution full of notable alumni such as Anne Hathaway (Interstellar) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development). 

The Barrow Group has earned numerous awards, including the Lucille Lortel Award (2013), the Drama Desk Award (1995), and the OBIE Award (2004), and has put on over 150 productions with their performing arts team since opening.

Approach to Acting

It focuses on instinct and realism and encourages actors to do what feels natural over what is mechanically rehearsed. This supports spur-of-the-moment choices and pushes you to become self-confident in your performance abilities. This helps with your reactions and your character development as an actor.

Additionally, TBG works to bring real-world controversies to light in its performances; it wishes for its productions to be memorable and eye-opening, enhancing both your experience and the audiences’, with a storyline relevant to everyone in the room.

Many of the tools used by The Barrow Group for the creative process in day-to-day lessons are taken from co-founder Seth Barrish’s work An Actor’s Companion- Tools for the Working Actor.

For beginners and advanced students

Acting classes with TBG include beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes for any expertise level to receive an education, and offers both theatre and film courses for you to work on in both performance formats.

Quarter-length classes are the most common type, but if you have limited time, no worries—intensive courses are also available—some as short as two weeks! You can also attend a weekend workshop to test the water.

Pricing

Full-length acting classes range from $425 to $495, while the workshop is $325. TBG works with around 4,000 students annually- a pretty big class with lots of opportunities for you to connect with fellow artistic types.

Stella Adler Studio of Acting

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting was first developed in 1949 by Stella Adler herself (fun fact: Stella Adler is the only American person to have worked with Stanislavski in person!).

The not-for-profit organization focuses on the Stanislavski Method for its lessons. It is one of history’s most famous acting approaches and is still widely used today by some of the world’s best actors. 

Now-famous alumni of Stella Adler are industry professionals Bill Paxton (Titanic) and Salma Hayek (Frida).

Approach to Acting

Stella Adler’s Studio of Acting emphasizes the desperation performers feel to do just that- perform!

The studio prefers to work on developing growth as a human and an actor at the same time, believing that both are equally necessary for you to achieve success. This is essential for your scene work at this renowned location.

The institute uses five core elements in every class they teach:

  1. creating self-sufficiency
  2. curating the imagination and capabilities
  3. focusing on action
  4. understanding written content
  5. expanding to become a better actor through material and connection.

The school offers beginner courses to familiarize yourself with the material (Introduction to Shakespeare, for example, is excellent if you have not had experience with William Shakespeare’s works).

Read more about the Stella Adler technique here.

Part-time opportunities and pricing

The studio offers in-person part-time acting workshops (eight weeks), online part-time workshops (four weeks), and in-person summer intensives (five to nine weeks). Singular acting course admission ranges from $350 to $1450. 

It is also the first professional training educational program connected to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. If you want a four-year degree, an NYU BFA program is currently available.

Tom Todoroff Studio – Online Workshops

There is a chance that in-person classes are not working for you and your busy schedule, and you may struggle to find an all-virtual, reputable option. If that is the case, look no further than the Tom Todoroff Studio for your learning needs. 

This is an online-only workshop started by Tom Todoroff himself, making it one of the best places on this list if you prefer remote sessions.

Focus on the business aspects of the acting trading

His weekly online classes (you can sign up for Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday morning or evening) work on multiple facets of a fruitful acting career: auditioning for movies and television shows, perfecting monologues, studying scenes, and reading scripts as a cold-read.

He also touches on the professional acting trade with his understanding of the business and teaching others how to navigate it. Todoroff has collaborated with globally famous faces such as Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) and Liam Neeson (Taken).

Classes are recorded to be watched later

If you are worried about missing a class or two, you have nothing to fear if you are a member of the Tom Todoroff Studio. Monthly Members have access to footage from past courses.

This is especially crucial when you are improving on specific acting methods and require extra assistance, allowing you to go back and review lectures. It ensures you are at your best when walking into an audition room in front of casting directors.

Online forum and pricing

There is also an online forum full of other members to connect with and share ideas, and monthly online conversations with Tom and other group members help the actors form connections between you and other students. Tuition for the studio is $17,400 annually.

See more online acting classes here.

New York Acting School for Film and Television

This prestigious organization is beneficial if you primarily seek to improve on-camera acting skills. The New York Acting School for Film and Television is directed by Mark Stolzenberg (Bull).

Stolzenberg is also the instructor for most classes offered at this location. Each class is on-site at this New York film institute and available online if you cannot physically attend a session.

The acting classes at this school focus on teaching you from any expertise level.

Approach to acting

The New York Acting School for Film and Television works to teach you about every aspect of acting for TV and film. This includes close-up camera shots, reacting to other performers, monologuing, scene study, and how to audition for roles, to name a few. 

Each class is recorded and has instructions from the instructor specifically for you to follow, creating a one-on-one dynamic that you can look back on to work on your specific critiques. This will provide more intensive training for you, advancing your technique.

Pricing

The New York Acting School for Film and Television offers an On-Camera Technique Class: Essentials Course (ranging in price from $300 to $900) and an Advanced Class (from $350 to $750).

A class called “Star in a Movie” is also an option for you, which is $900 and works with you to be the lead in a short film or movie scene chosen by the director (some of the short films in this course have won awards in film festivals across the United States).

5. HB Studio

If you’re looking for a historical arts school, look no further. This theatre school, founded in 1945, is the oldest on the list. Herbert Bergdorf, the Austrian artist, escaped from Europe in 1939 and joined an artistic group full of other immigrants.

Wishing to bring European performance practices to America ultimately brought HB Studio to life. So, if you are looking for an actor’s studio with a rich history at its heart, this is something to consider.

Approach to acting

Bergrdorf’s goal was for performers to practice consistently in a constructive space, regardless of their expertise or success level.

He believed that every actor should keep improving on their craft. Another focal point of HB Studio is Uta Hagen’s acting method, as described in her novel A Challenge for the Actor. Two famous alumni from HB Studio are Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) and Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost).

Three levels of acting classes

There are three categories of acting classes at HB Studio, depending on your level of experience.

  • Level 1: for you who are learning the basics and want a strong foundation.
  • Level 2: Focuses on analysis and characterization, working with what you learned in Level 1.
  • Level 3: gives you methods for acting in more advanced scenes and perfecting your methods as a performer. 

Studio practice

Studio Practice is another opportunity for you; if you see yourself as a qualified actor in the trade and would like to perfect things you have learned on stage or screen to develop a successful career, this is the place to do that.

If you are curious about a course offered here but not sure of your commitment to it yet, HB Studio allows you to join a class as an examiner for $20 per class(this opportunity is for 10-week courses).

Online learning and acting workshops (in-person and remote) choices exist. If you want to focus on Uta Hagen’s technique, there is a six-week intensive summer course and a one-year class.

6. Maggie Flanigan Studio

If your main focus is perfecting the Meisner technique, look no further than the Maggie Flanigan Studio. Founded by Maggie Flanigan herself, this location is renowned for using the Meisner Method.

This school is well-known in New York, and previous students, such as Susan Pourfar (In the Heights) and Luke Forbes (Gotham), have gone on to have professional careers.

Approach to Acting

Believing that no achievement comes without challenges, you would be in an environment that encourages trying, not succeeding, and trying again until something works monumentally for you.

This way, the class prepares you for the real world, filled with wins, losses, and forks on the road.

Various programs

No worries if you hope for an educational program shorter than a BA! Maggie Flanigan Studio uses a two-year curriculum to teach most courses and a summer intensive unit (three classes per week for six weeks).

The rigorous conservatory training class setup includes Combat for Stage and Film, Professional Actor Training, and Cold Reading, to name a few. 

On-screen training classes are eight weeks long. When you enroll in one of these courses, you will receive material the week before to prepare you for the upcoming lesson.

The first six weeks of eight are intended to develop the perfect craft when it comes to auditioning.

Classes are in person and on W. 25th St. Maggie Flanigan is the artistic director and a master teacher at the Maggie Flanigan Studio.

Summing Up

While there is a monumental array of classes offered in New York City to you, this list is full of beneficial, credentialed companies interested in perfecting your craft.

Even if you are already advanced in your methods, acting classes help sharpen skills and receive fresh ideas.

Through hard work and practical experience, you can achieve your acting goals. Figure out what is best for you and where the best school is, and leap!

Up Next: Method Acting vs Meisner Technique: Which is Better?

Author

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  • Richelle Talor

    Richelle Talor is an actress with talent agencies based in the Midwestern area. A driven creative, she uses her creative skills to write and direct her own short films when she's not on the other side of the camera.

    View all posts

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