Recent graduates of the B.F.A. in Acting program showcase their talents during a performance in midtown Manhattan.

Brooklyn College Actors Set the Stage for Industry Excellence

June 20, 2014

Ready to take the world by storm: The talented and stylish B.F.A. in Acting Class of 2014!

The Brooklyn College B.F.A. in Acting Class of 2014 held its spring showcase at Theater Row in Manhattan on April 7 to introduce the latest cadre of Brooklyn College actors to an audience of industry insiders, family, and friends.

The show featured 12 students performing in 12 short plays written by up-and-coming playwrights from around the world.

"This is beneficial in a number of ways," said Rose Bonczek, professor and program head. "While still under the protective umbrella and support of the college, these students learn how to self-produce a showcase. They learn the practical application of how to make cold calls to agents, work with headshot photographers, and create effective résumés that properly tell their stories."

The performance also attracts industry executives and gives the students their first exposure in a professional setting. Some of the students have already received calls from interested agencies and production companies.

"One event does not make or break a career, but participating in one can only help," she added. "It gives these actors the best opportunity to market their specific abilities. Our main goal is to empower them to be working actors if not recognizable ones."

What constitutes a working actor has changed in recent years. Bonczek notes that in the private sector, captains of industry seek the expertise of actors to help improve the interpersonal skills of their employees in a time where corporate research shows a decline in congenial human relationships.

"It's interesting to see these industries bringing in actors to help not only with team building, but with empathy, communication, and other therapeutic work," she said.

This new field may be a perfect fit for graduates of the program given its the core ideals. Sergio Mauritz Ang '14, a graduate of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts who was once majored in nursing and education, and dreams of one day being a featured member in the cast of Sesame Street, said the skills he learned in the acting program have him prepared to walk through any doors that open up.

"It's been years of hard work, but also years of growth, and coming to the realization that ‘you're good enough.' The chief lesson I take away from my years of training is learning to collaborate with my fellow actors. It's the cornerstone principle of the program and its greatest gift."

Heather Zoll '14, a former English major who not only enjoys acting in front of the camera or on stage, but also has a knack for direction, film editing, and set design, said that the collaboration extends beyond her particular class.

"It's great that we have so many B.F.A. and M.F.A. alumni come back to help us with workshops, act as teachers and instructors. It says something that so many of them choose to return," she said.

Since performing at the showcase, two members of the Class of 2014 have signed with Richard Rosenwald Associates, a world-renowned agency; three have just opened in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Boomerang Theatre in New York; one has been been cast as the lead in a music video; and another as lead in a web series. They will be joining other notable B.F.A. acting alumni who have gone on to make their marks in every aspect of the industry from film to television to theater, including: Lisa Jill Anderson '10, who co-founded the Stable Cable Lab Co.; J.J. Condon '13, who had a featured role on the CBS primetime series, Blue Bloods; Justiin Davis '12, a regular on the Emmy Award-winning HBO series, Boardwalk Empire; Sean P. O'Hagan '93, who starred in the famed 2013 Super Bowl "Doritos fashionista" commercial; Cristina Pitter '12, who is a featured player at the award-winning Flea Theater; and Gillian Rougier, director of education at Barefoot Theatre Company.

The Brooklyn College B.F.A. Acting Program is a nationally renowned, 63-credit major offering intensive courses in Stanislavsky-based acting, Alexander technique, improvisation, voice production, diction and dialects, solo performance, stage combat, the business of acting, acting with the camera, and theater history. For more information about the program or to apply, please visit the Department of Theater website.


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