Peter Sklar

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Peter Sklar
Peter Sklar, 2020
Alma materHarvard University
OccupationSpecialist, Talent Discovery & Development

Peter Seidman Sklar (/ˈsklɑːr/) is a New York-based lecturer, educator and talent scout.[1] The founder of the Beginnings Academy, Sklar has lectured for the past forty years throughout North America on child development, education, and the arts.[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Sklar was born on April 3, 1949 in New York City.[5] His father, Harold, was a public elementary school principal and his mother, Sybil, taught special needs students at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.[6][7]

Sklar began to study piano at 6, and at 12, he auditioned and was awarded a merit-based scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied classical piano and music theory.[8]

In 1965, while trying to interview Martin Luther King Jr. for the New Rochelle, New York chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, 16-year-old Sklar was arrested at King's hotel in Philadelphia.[9][10] In 1970, while a student at the University of Hartford, he was part of a group called Concerned Connecticut Citizens for Sincere Dialogue and participated in a demonstration against a visit by Spiro Agnew.[11] Also while a student, he wrote several articles published in the university newspaper UH News addressing racism, the environment, and other controversial issues of the time.[12][13][14][15][16]

He studied education, psychology, and theater arts at the University of Hartford and University of Massachusetts Boston and was admitted to the Harvard University Graduate School of Education based on a theater arts program for disadvantaged children and teens he developed at a youth center in Boston.[8] He earned a Master's degree in Education (Ed.M.) from Harvard in 1978.[1][17][18] Sklar's contributions to the youth center in Boston were chronicled by the center's founder, Fred Rosene, in a self-published memoir, Making a Difference.[19]


After he graduated from Harvard, Sklar moved back to the New York area. In 1981 he founded and directed a vocal showcase in New York "Professional Children's Revue," where he worked with young actors appearing in films, TV, commercials and voiceovers, including a teenage Sarah Jessica Parker, Justin Henry, Ricky Schroder, Lori Loughlin and most of the child actors appearing in the original casts of Broadway's Annie and Evita, and the revival of Peter Pan.[2][18][20][21][22]

The Professional Children's Revue
Peter Sklar in 1981 with (clockwise from front): Justin Henry, Jon Ward, Liz Ward, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allison Smith

In 1983, Sklar began to speak on the connection between child development and the arts. His talks evolved into a series of lectures, presented several months each year to high schools and performing arts venues throughout the United States and Canada.[22][23] Topics include the role of self-esteem and health in achieving success in the professional performing arts field.[1][3]

His work with professional children evolved into a yearly resident performing arts workshop "Beginnings", which he founded in 1984.[3] The program evolved into the Beginnings Academy which provides training in acting, voice, dance, and writing by working New York casting directors, talent agents, Broadway and TV/film actors, playwrights, vocal coaches, and choreographers, and culminates in an Off Broadway showcase at the Orpheum Theatre, Union Square Theater, and other New York City theater locations.[24][25] Mischa Barton, Reese Witherspoon, Zachery Ty Bryan, Hunter Parrish, Kirsten Storms, and thousands of other actors have attended Beginnings.[3][4][26][27]

In 1995 Samuel French, Inc. published a collection of monologues containing dramatic and comedy pieces written by Sklar, entitled Winning Monologues from the Beginnings Workshop, with additional pieces written by actor and writer, Mark Weston, a former instructor at Beginnings.[28]

In 2004, the Academy began offering training with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as classes with industry professionals from British television, film, and theater, including performers and directors from London's West End and the Royal National Theater.[29][30]

In 2008, Sklar began a series of yearly workshops in Hollywood, California. Students currently work with on-set coaches including Marnie Cooper (students have included Miley Cyrus, Mila Kunis, Miranda Cosgrove, Olivia Holt, and others) as well as talent agents, film and television casting directors, and actors.[31][32][33]

In the late 1990s, Sklar began writing an original musical which he intended to produce on Broadway entitled The Kid Who Played the Palace. The project is still in development.[1][3][34]


  1. ^ a b c d Lord, Mark (2001-06-07). "Broadway Producer Peter Sklar Speaks To Middle Village Stars". Queens Chronicle. Rego Park, NY. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Children in Entertainment". The Phil Donahue Show (Interview). Interviewed by Phil Donahue. New York, NY: WNBC-TV. 15 June 1988.
  3. ^ a b c d e Duckett, Richard (2006-03-16). "Can he make you a Star?". The Telegram. Worcester, MA. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Nestor, Frank (19 October 2011). "Theater Actors to Watch 2011". New York, NY: Backstage Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  5. ^ Steele, Stevie (11 November 1991). "Local Resident Broadway Bound". The Standard Star. New Rochelle, NY.
  6. ^ "HAROLD G. SKLAR". The New York Times. 1984-08-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  7. ^ Staff writer (2014-12-14). "Sybil Sklar". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b Fischberg, Carole (26 February 1975). "'Beginnings' on stage". Newton, MA.
  9. ^ "New Rochelle Youth Freed". New York Times. 11 August 1965. p. 20.
  10. ^ Markoff, Bethany (14 May 1965). "CORE Youth Group's New President". The Standard Star. New Rochelle, NY.
  11. ^ "5,000 Expected Against Agnew". The Hartford Courant (1923-1991) [Hartford, Conn]. 22 October 1970. p. 5.
  12. ^ Sklar, Peter (4 February 1970). "On Gaining Perspective- The Black Panther Party". UH News. Vol. 2, no. 15. Hartford, CT.
  13. ^ Sklar, Peter (18 February 1970). "Vietnam- Facts Concerning the War in Vietnam". UH News. Vol. 2, no. 17. Hartford, CT.
  14. ^ Sklar, Peter (11 March 1970). "Black Nationalism- Socialism". UH News. Vol. 2, no. 20. Hartford, CT.
  15. ^ Sklar, Peter (18 March 1970). "Eldridge Cleaver- Soul on Ice". UH News. Vol. 2, no. 21. Hartford, CT.
  16. ^ Sklar, Peter (8 April 1970). "Revolution and Environmental Pollution". UH News. Vol. 2, no. 24. Hartford, CT.
  17. ^ Staff writer (1965-02-24). "Performing Arts Show To Aid Mississippi Center" (PDF). The Herald Statesman. Yonkers, NY. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  18. ^ a b Blau, Eleanor (1981-02-20). "Where to Scout the Youngest Talent". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  19. ^ Rosene, Fred (10 September 2010). Making a Difference. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, Corp. pp. 180, 182–184. ISBN 978-1453552377.
  20. ^ Woller, Barbara (9 January 1985). "Starry-eyed youths". Westchester, NY: Gannet Westchester Newspaper. p. 1.
  21. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (3 March 1981). "Where life is a kiddie cabaret". Daily News. New York, NY. p. 5 (Leisure Section).
  22. ^ a b Sumner, Jane (28 December 1987). "Show Biz Kids". Dallas, TX: The Dallas Morning News.
  23. ^ "World-Renowned Talent Scout Peter Sklar". Eyewitness News (Interview). Interviewed by Michele Reese and Steffany Brewer. Tyler, TX: KYTX-TV 19. 19 February 2008.
  24. ^ Fuquay, Ashley (7 September 2010). "Three attend rigorous dance workshop in NYC". Brownwood, TX: Brownwood Bulletin. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  25. ^ Cole, Sally (July 23, 2012). "Dancing toward their dream". The Guardian. Charlottetown, Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  26. ^ Sklar, Peter (April 10, 2008). "Talent Scout Brings Advice". NBC Nebraska Midday (Interview). Interviewed by Katie Ferrell. Hastings, NE: KHAS TV NBC.
  27. ^ Barton, Mischa (10 September 2006). "Mischa & Kristin: Babes of OC". E! True Hollywood Story (Interview). Interviewed by Ray Van Ness. Los Angeles, CA: E!.
  28. ^ Sklar, Peter (1994). Winning Monologues from the Beginnings Workshop. New York, NY: Baker's Plays. ISBN 978-0874400205.
  29. ^ Whitehouse, J. T. (10 December 2009). "New beginnings await talented local youth". Warren, OH: Town Crier. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  30. ^ Staff writer (5 May 2011). "Groth attends acting workshop in London". West Point, NE: West Point News. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Local: It takes more than talent". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  32. ^ "Peter-Sklar". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  33. ^ "Peter-Sklar".
  34. ^ "Peter Sklar seeks kids to play the palace". Retrieved 2020-07-29.

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