Photo from student production of Stage Door

BFA – Theatre – Acting Concentration

Innovative Professional Actor Training

Immerse yourself in multiple approaches to action, learn techniques that get to the heart of the craft of acting. Unleash your talents and transform yourself and audiences by your commitment to artistry in performance.

About the Program

Students appear in Twelfth Night in 2017, The Kasser Theatre.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre/Acting Concentration is a rigorous, conservatory-based program of study that prepares you for a career in theatre and film. This challenging curriculum covers the theoretical and practical application of the foundations of the craft of acting through an immersion in multiple acting techniques. This multi-technique approach provides you with the unique ability to draw on a range of methods and finely crafted skill set for work in any style or genre of theatre, film or television, with any playwright or director, in any medium.

Photo from Student production of Michigan Murders

Theory is put to practice with an abundance of performance opportunities in an array of challenging and differing styles with classical, contemporary and experimental material fully produced in the department season and in workshops, staged readings with our distinguished faculty, guest artists and guest directors. The program’s blend of theory and practice is supported by the personalized attention that you will receive both in the classroom and on the stage.

Dance alums on Broadway

New York City is only 14 miles away! Begin forging relationships and making connections with other artists now that will be your foundation and last a lifetime. Our proximity to Manhattan allows us to attract an outstanding full-time faculty and prominent guest artists. With Manhattan just 35-40 minutes away, you will have the luxury of experiencing professional theatre on and off-Broadway and the cultural vibrancy of New York City as a counterpart to your acting training.

What You Will Learn

Photo from student production fo Clybourne Park

Emphasizing comprehensive acting training, the program specializes in three essential areas: Acting, Movement, Voice and Speech. Dedicated to a holistic approach to the craft of acting, the program will give you experience all in areas of the theatre as part of your training including Text Analysis, Theatre History I and II, Directing, Introduction to Technical Theatre and Practicums in Stage Craft, Costumes and Production Operations.

An ever-expanding menu of electives are available including: Acting for the Camera I & II, Singing for the Actor, Playwriting I & II, Directing I & II, The Business of the Business, Audition Prep, Stage Combat, Stage Dialects, Devised Theatre Projects etc…


Acting

Year One: Students learn how to work intimately and collaboratively with an ensemble, actor-to-actor and moment-to-moment with bravery, vulnerability and an honest use of self through technique that progresses into contemporary scene work with an emphasis on diverse playwrights.

Year Two: Fall semester is devoted to Stanislavski technique through intense scene study with complex characters from classic American playwrights (Williams, Miller, Odets, Wilson). Spring semester focuses on Practical Aesthetics and advanced scene work from the plays of Anton Chekhov.

Year three: Centers on the specific challenges and demands of plays by William Shakespeare, including heightened language and given circumstances.

Year Four: The senior year of training in our program transitions students from an academic setting to the profession and culminates in a Senior Capstone Project fall semester and a Senior Showcase in New York City in the spring semester.


Movement

The Movement for Actor sequence is offered for six consecutive semesters and includes ensemble based Viewpoints Training, Yoga and Pilates to diagnose and release habitual tensions in the body through rigorous classes for flexibility, core strength, presence and expressivity, Andrei Droznin Movement for more advanced work on flexibility, strength and coordination with partner stretches, weight sharing and acrobatics, and an entire year devoted to Suzuki Training for the Actor. Our movement training is sophisticated, rigorous and transformational and one of the many strengths of the program.


Voice and Speech

The Voice and Speech for the Actor sequence is a six-semester sequence that focuses on freeing the breath, discovering the natural voice and creating an open channel expression. Students are exposed to several approaches to voice work including Scott Miller, Linklater and Fitzmaurice techniques and these multiple techniques overlap and inform one another. Students also receive Edith Skinner speech work and learn IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) as a basis for acquiring the necessary skills for Standard American speech and dialects.


Academic Theatre Courses and Hands-on Experience

The BFA Acting Program is as academically rigorous as it is artistic with a strong intellectual component. All members of the acting program take coursework in script analysis, theatre history and directing. Students are required to learn about all aspects of the theatre and engage in a four-course progression of technical classes (practicums) which provides them with hands-on experience working behind the scenes on three department productions in stagecraft, costumes and operations. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in film work through collaboration with the School of Communication and Media’s filmmaking majors. Our FAST (Friday Afternoon Student Theatre) also offers students a rehearsal and performance venue for student-generated work.


Career Building

Your four-year experience will prepare to launch your acting career after graduation with courses that focus on “the business of the business,” hands-on workshops with casting directors and agents, and a New York Senior Showcase on Theatre Row.

For complete BFA Acting course requirements and descriptions, go to:

Opportunities That Await You

Photo of student production of West Side Story

As a BFA Acting student, you will have access to a wide range of performance opportunities. We produce as many as 10 plays each year. Visit our Productions and Photo Gallery links to see examples of current and past student work.

  • Production Season: Department of Theatre and Dance’s produces full seasons of contemporary and classical plays and musicals in our multi-dimensional performances spaces in the Alexander Kasser Theater, 900 seat Memorial Auditorium, 125 seat Dance Theatre, the 100 seat flexible black box, the Howard Fox Theatre, and an outdoor amphitheatre.
  • The Studio Series: Features workshops of plays and staged readings directed by faculty and guest directors as an extension of the production season. The Lab Series functions as an extension of the technique classes providing additional opportunities for our students to work on process and performance with a rotating repertory of styles and genres.
  • New Works Initiative (NWI): In partnership with New York Producers-In-Residence, Bisno Productions, NWI commissions high profile guest artists to create new work with our students that feature a developmental rehearsal period, a presentation in New York City and a fully produced work as a part of our department season.
  • Theatre on the Move: Our Educational Touring Company performs original theatre pieces addressing current social issues for high schools and middle schools throughout New Jersey and New York.
  • The Dirty 9: Our Late Night Comedy Improv Group is created and directed by faculty and students.

Watch a clip of BFA Acting students perform and discuss Clybourne Park, a play which examines American social issues in the late 1950s.

Tom Stoppard

Expand your creative horizons as an artist and study abroad to experience diverse, international theatre.

Spring Break Trip to London: Experience world-class professional theatre in one of the world’s most esteemed theatre meccas. (Trips to London occur every other academic year).

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile Spring Break 2018: Acting Exchange with students and faculty from the BFA Acting Program and the Universidad de Mayor in Santiago, Chile. Featuring a bilingual acting experience, master classes, and cultural adventures which explore the history and cultural diversity of this dynamic South American city. Read more about Spring Break 2018 in Santiago Chile.

Shanghai, China: June 2015: BFA Acting student Rebecca DeMarco was cast in the student film collaboration between MSU’s BFA Filmmaking Program and the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China. Rebecca starred in the film Runaway that was shot in Shanghai, China in June 2015.

Who You Will Become

The careers of BFA Acting alumni take flight after graduation:

Producer and Actress Allegra Cohen ’02 is maximizing her experience from both sides of the camera to create All In One, a lifestyle brand which forges successful partnerships in business and the arts. Allegra graduated with top awards in Theater and was the commencement speaker for her graduating class. She co-produced Split the Difference, which won Best Comedy at the New York Television Festival and was later bought by NBC. She followed up with The Crawl, which evolved into Spike TV’s Weekend Pre-Game. Her production Putzel won Best Picture at the 2013 Phoenix Film Festival and was released worldwide by Filmbuff. Allegra worked product placement into the feature film, I Am Michael, starring James Franco, Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts, and premiered at Sundance Film Festival and at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015.

Carlos Gonzalez was born and raised in Cuba. Carlos graduated from Montclair State University Class ’11 with a BFA in Acting and Minor in Dance. Touring credits include: In The Heights (national tour), Zorro The Musical (Asia tour) and the off-Broadway sensation FUERZA BRUTA and various regional productions. Also performed for Telemundo, Norwegian Cruise Lines, PBS and more. Carlos returned to Cuba as part of the creative team in the first two professional musicals produced there in 50 years, Carmen Jones El Amor Cubano and RENT. He made his Broadway debut with On Your Feet at the Marquis Theater and performed with the cast on GMA, The View, Macys Day Parade and alongside Gloria Estefan in concert. The love and support of his family and friends are what inspires him to approach every day with a smile.

Dustin Fontaine is a Montclair alumnus (class of 2011) and recipient of the Marc Mattaliano Theatre Award for excellence in performance. He has since performed in plays, workshops and readings everywhere from The Actors Studio and Premiere Stages to Harlem rooftops and Brooklyn garages where he has collaborated with directors like McG, Wes Grantom and Rachel Chavkin. His current escapades bring him to Las Vegas where he performs as a Blue Man in the internationally renowned Blue Man Group. He has also performed as a Blue Man in New York, Boston, Orlando, Detroit, Mexico City, San Jose, Panama City and Bogotá.

Alex Hernandez is a 2013 graduate of the BFA Acting program at Montclair State, where he was seen in Romeo and Juliet, Attempts on Her Life, The Grapes of Wrath, The Seagull, and was the 2013 recipient of the Marc Mattaliano theatre award for excellence in performance. Since then he has been seen in numerous productions in the NJ/NYC area such as That Day in Tucson at Urban Stages, Comida de Puta (f*ckin lousy food) at the West End Theatre, Profiles at Passage Theatre Company, and The Virilogy at Strangedog Theater company to name a few. TV credits include Law and Order SVU and the premiere episode of HBO’s Vinyl where he had the privilege of working opposite Emmy winner Bobby Canavale and was directed by Martin Scorsese. He is currently a member of the Acting Apprentice Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he was last seen in Peter and the Starcatcher directed by Meredith McDonagh and will be seen in the world premiere of Wondrous Strange directed by Marti Lyons in the 40th Annual Humana festival of new American plays.

Bret Lada is a 2011 graduate of Montclair State University and the National Theater Institute. During his time at Montclair, he was the recipient of the Garden State Arts Foundation Scholarship and the Dennis K. McDonald Senior Theater Award. Since graduation, he has held a recurring role in Amazon Studios Alpha House opposite John Goodman. Other television credits include guest stars on Hostages (CBS), The Good Wife (CBS), I Love You…But I Lied (LIFETIME), Person of Interest (CBS), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Deadly Sins (ID). Off-Broadway credits include That Bachelorette Show and Love and Contempt. Regionally he played Kenny in the Austin Pendleton helmed production of A Loss of Roses at the Arkansas Repertory Theater. Film credits include BADA BING BADA BOOM which was awarded best comedy at the 2015 Williamsburg Film Festival and the upcoming Night Sweats which is slated for a 2016 release.

Aryana Sedarati is an actor/designer, specializing in theatre arts, commercial and fine arts photography, makeup design, and graphic artistry. In 2014, she received her BFA in Acting from Montclair State University. Combining her passion for human expression and connectivity with a keen sense of aesthetics, Aryana’s designs have been recognized nationally at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. As an actor, she was accepted as one of seven apprentices at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and was seen under the tent in their apprentice production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Hermia, Egeus & Starveling. She was then seen as Banquo, a Witch, and the Porter in HVSF’s educational touring production of Macbeth. Most recently, Aryana returned to her alma mater to direct Macbeth with the MSU Players. Currently, Aryana works as a headshot photographer with Studio Vashti.

Lorenzo Villanueva has recently been cast in the production of The Glory of the World (ensemble) by Chuck Mee at the Brooklyn Academy of Music directed by Les Waters. He was part of the 2014-2015 apprentice company at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His past credits at Actors Theatre of Louisville include the apprentice show That High Lonesome Sound written by Charise Castro-Smith, Diana Grisanti, Jeff Augustin and Corey Hinkle, directed by Pirronne Yousefzahdeh. The 10 minute play The Markers By Martyna Majok directed by Marty Lyons. Also the production of The Glory of the World at The Humana Festival. Past regional theater productions include On Borrowed Time directed by Joel Grey at Two River Theater at Red Bank, NJ and Melissa Arctic by Craig Wright directed by Aaron Posner at Two River Theater at Red Bank, NJ.‌

Our Faculty

More than 75 permanent faculty members and visiting professionals – including internationally renowned celebrity guest artists and artists-in-residence – mentor our Theatre and Dance students each semester. These working professionals share insights gleaned from their professional experiences in the “real world” of theatre. Faculty mentoring can often lead to opportunities beyond the classroom.

BFA Full Time Faculty

Meet the BFA Acting Adjunct Faculty:

Jordan Baker-Kilner

Education: AA American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NY;  BA Smith College; MFA Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts

Credits: IMDB,  “C”, Edward Albee’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize play Three Tall Women, The New Adventures of Old Christine (over 100 television shows), Another Earth (Winner, Sundance Alfred P. Sloan Award).

Doug Chapman

Education: Interlochen Arts Academy, BA, Magna Cum Laude; Oberlin College MFA; ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University; Certified Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework

Credits: Solutions Grassroots Tour, International WOW Company, Directed by Josh Fox Spiral Ramp Library/Time Temple, Guggenheim Museum, Directed by Wang Jianwei Romance, American Repertory Theatre, Directed by Scott Zigler

Erin Gorski

Education: The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University

Credits: The Shakespeare Theatre Company/ACA Hamlet (Hamlet), Emmy Award Winning HBO Film The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not For Sale(Allison “lead”), Artist-in-Residence at The Berkshire Theatre Festival (two years)

Carole Healey

Education and Training: MFA University of Delaware PTTP, Florida State London/Tallahassee

Credits: Oregon Shakespeare Company Member, Mint Theatre, Utah and Alabama Shakespeare Company Member

Tia James is an actor, teacher and director and has been seen in Loving and Loving, with Stella Adler Studios, The Golden Drum Year (Radical Evolution), The Merchant of Venice (Broadhurst Theater), Much Ado About Nothing (Two River Theater), The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale (The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park), Civilization (All You Can Eat) (Woolly Mammoth Theater), #NYC (Ugly Rhino). Television: “Nurse Jackie”  “Treme”. Tia has directed  The Mystery PlaysHamletOthello, and Sewing Circle at NYU Grad Acting, Richard III and Two Gents with the Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford. Tia teaches for NYU, PPAS, The Public Theater’s Public Works program, and DreamYard. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting

Ellen Lancaster

Education and Training: Northwestern University, American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University

Credits: Broadway: La Bete and The Visit

Television: Host of We Television series Cinematherapy, Law and Order

Film: Films with Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Meryl Streep, Alfred Molina, and Nicolas Cage.

Voice Over: Voiced spots for commercials from Charmin to Pepperidge Farm, Coffee to Tylenol and many more.

Jim Ligon

Education: BFA from University of Alabama, MFA from University of Virginia

Credits: Greater Tuna, Playwrights Theatre of NJ/Shadowland Theatre, Ellenville NY: “Rising Water” by John Biguenet, Dorset Theatre Festival in Dorset, Vermont, as Estragon in Waiting for Godot

Television: Law and Order, The Mysteries of Laura, Guiding Light

Becca L. McLarty received her MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College in 2009. She has worked as an adjunct instructor of voice and speech and improvisation at various institutions in NYC including Pace University, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Marymount Manhattan College, and Brooklyn College. Becca’s approach to the voice and speech work draws on her experience and training in the methodologies of Scott Miller (Miller Voice Method), Kristin Linklater, Patsy Rodenburg and Edith Skinner. As a professional equity actor/improviser, Becca has worked in NYC and regionally, including credits at: Arden Theatre, Luna Stage, Mt. Gretna Theatre, Bakerloo Theatre, and Stable Cable Lab, Co. She has also helped to develop new works with Brooklyn Generator, Writers Theatre of NJ, as well as a solo show with TH/TW Project in the summer of 2017.

Nurit Monacelli has appeared in award winning independent films that have circulated nationally in over 20 festivals. Film and TV credits also include Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, Blacklist, Dietland, Person of Interest and Law and Order, Criminal Intent.  In NY she has appeared at the Drama League, New Georges, New Dramatists, The Culture Project, HERE and the Flea.  She has performed regionally and internationally at such places as ART, the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ and the Andrews Lane in Dublin.  She is thrilled to be a company member of Inviolet Theater and an affiliated artist with Blessed Unrest. She is a certified yoga instructor, has a BA from Brown University and an MFA from ART/Moscow Art Theatre. Nurit has taught Viewpoints and Movement for the Actor at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and AcTeen. She also teaches Acting 1 and 2, Auditioning for Film and Theater and Movement for the Actor at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Tommy Schrider

Education: NYU Graduate Acting Program, MFA

Credits: War Horse (Broadway – Vivian Beaumont Theatre) Hamlet at the Yale Repertory Theatre (Laertes to Paul Giamatti’s Hamlet Recurring role on The Americans (on F/X)

Guest Artists

Apply Now

To apply to the BFA Acting program, or to any Department of Theatre and Dance program, please visit Department Admissions.

For additional information about our programs, please visit us to tour our facilities and/or plan to attend one of our Arts Days and Open Houses.

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Contact Program Coordinator Heather Benton
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