The Actors Studio is a membership organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights at 432 West 44th Street in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It was founded October 5, 1947 by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Anna Sokolow, who provided training for actors who were members. Lee Strasberg joined later and took the helm in 1951 until his death on February 17, 1982. It is currently run by Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, and Harvey Keitel. The Studio is best known for its work refining and teaching method acting. The approach was originally developed by the Group Theatre in the 1930s based on the innovations of Constantin Stanislavski. While at the Studio, actors work together to develop their skills in a private environment where they can take risks as performers without the pressure of commercial roles.
After an initial meeting held on October 5, 1947 at the Labor Stage, located at 106 W. 39th Street (formerly the Princess Theatre), in which goals and ground rules of the new organization were discussed, the studio officially opened for business the following day at the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 229 West 48th Street, previously home to the Actors' Kitchen and Lounge (maintained to assist actors and others unable to afford meals), and long a source of rental rehearsal space for local theatrical producers.
Before settling in its current location in 1955, the Studio moved regularly over an eight year period: In January 1948, it was a dance studio on East 59th Street. In April of that year, a move to the CBS Building at 1697 Broadway, near 53rd Street, established some semblance of stability; the Studio would not move again until the summer of 1952. From that point, the old Theatre Guild rehearsal rooms on the top floor of the ANTA Theatre became home, as they would remain until October 1954, at which point theatre renovations reduced the Studio to simply renting space twice a week. This it did at the Malin Studios at 1545 Broadway, room 610 (entered on West 46th Street). This arrangement would persist throughout the 1954-1955 theatrical season, even as the Studio was acquiring and renovating its current venue.
Graduate drama school
From September 1994 through May 2005, the Studio collaborated with The New School in the education of masters-level theatre students at the Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS). After ending its contact with the New School, the Actor's Studio established The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in 2006.
Inside the Actors Studio
The television program Inside the Actors Studio first aired in 1994 on the Bravo cable television network. Its host was and still is James Lipton, Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School. The program provides in-depth interviews with actors, directors, writers and other artists, some but not all of whom are members of the Studio. The program is taped in front of students of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and serves as a class seminar for them. Beginning with the twelfth season in the fall of 2005, Inside the Actors Studio is taped at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace's New York City campus. The show now has a new set with a backstage feel, designed by Will Rothfuss.
Notable actors and directors
- Anna Sokolow The Rebelious Spirit by Larry Warren pages 89–94: The Actors Studio. ISBN 90-5702-185-4
- Garfield, David (1980). "Birth of The Actors Studio: 1947-1950". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 54. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- "30c Dinners Offered to Actors by Church Planning Restaurant Operated by Them" The New York Times. March 29, 1935.
- Driscoll, Charles B. "New York Day by Day". The Washington Reporter. December 2, 1939.
- "Actors Kitchen in Church Closed". The New York Times. May 17, 1942.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Strasberg Takes Over: 1951-1955". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 111–114. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship by David W. Dunlap. Columbia University Press (April 21, 2004) ISBN 0-231-12542-9
- Lee Strasberg and Viveca Lindfors were Actors Studio members number 1 and 2.
- Dick Kleiner: "The Actors Studio: Making Stars Out of the Unknown," The Sarasota Journal (December 21, 1956), p. 26
- Mel Heimer: "My New York" The Rochester Sentinel (October 19, 1965), p. 2
- Leo Seligsohn: "Actors Studio Needs Cash Birthday Gift," The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (January 6, 1974), p. 6-B
- Liz Smith: "Controversy Engulfs Actors Studio As Anna Strasberg Resigns," The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (May 30, 1983), p. 4-C
- Jeremy Gerard: "Frank Corsaro to Head Actors Studio," The New York Times (April 8, 1988)
- Robin Pogrebin: "Pacino, Burstyn and Keitel To Lead the Actors Studio," The New York Times (June 20, 2000)
- David Garfield, A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan, 1980. ISBN 0-02-542650-8
- Foster Hirsch, A Method to their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio. New York: WW Norton & Co Inc, 1984. ISBN 0-393-01783-4
- Shelly Frome, The Actors Studio: a History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2001. ISBN 0-7864-1073-6
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Actors Studio / 7th Associate Presbyterian Church (Manhattan).|
- Official website
- PBS American Masters Series profile
- Inside the Actors Studio
- The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace University
- Audio collection of the Actors Studio from 1956–69 at the Wisconsin Historical Society
- A brief history of the Actors Studio, including Lee Strasberg on its origin and purpose.