One of my appointments on my trip east was with the Atlantic Theater Company. Of course I know their reputation as a producing company with Tony Award winning productions such as Spring Awakening, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and The Lieutenant of Innishmore. Of course I know some of their award winning founding members. Artists like Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy and David Mamet. None of that is a secret. It’s not a secret that they’ve garnered Tony Awards, Drama Desk Award Nominations, Obie Awards and the list goes on. It is not a secret that they serve as an acting studio for New York University Tisch School of the Arts undergraduate program.
What then is the “best kept secret?” Their own excellent conservatory program. It is a comprehensive two year training program taught by some of the best dedicated faculty anywhere. Why do I say it’s a secret? Because in talking with some of my colleagues, who certainly should know better, they kept insisting that I was making a mistake. They were certain in their contention that the Atlantic Theater Company is an ensemble company made up of fine actors who sometimes teach in the Tisch program. They had that part right but when I arrived for my appointment with Mary McCann, School Executive Director, I found a school teeming with the energy of emerging artists. I observed students rehearsing with honesty and generosity and I knew there was good work going on. It is a school clearly focused on the process of the craft. My bet is their graduates come out ready to work. Remember this is the school that gave us Spring Awakening!