From acting classes to dance workshops to singing lessons, New York offers a wide variety of Broadway theater classes and programs for kids and teens.
Do you have a Broadway theater baby at home who’s itching to take to the stage? There’s no better place than New York to satisfy kids’ Broadway cravings: Theater, singing, and dance classes, programs, and workshops run all year long, and whether you have a budding Kristin Chenoweth who’s longing to belt out a big, brassy, Broadway-style number; a young Ann Reinking, who longs to dance across a Broadway stage; or a mini Richard Burton who can’t wait to recite yards of Shakespeare, there’s a big choice of Broadway theater classes or training programs for everyone--at least if they live in New York.
Founded in 1984, TADA offers pretty much the penultimate kids’ musical theater class experience in New York. With an ensemble company made up of kids ages 8-18 that performs original musicals; arts education programs; year-round theater classes and camps; and even theater programs offered during school breaks, TADA offers one-stop shopping for kids’ and teens’ musical theater and those interested in Broadway theater classes. These theater classes are held at various locations around the city; those for the fall session include acting programs such as “Musical Theater Skills Building” (learning songs from musicals) and “Musical Theater Drama” (singing and dancing skills; improvisation; scene study).
The Broadway Workshop:
If “Future Broadway Star” is already on your child’s resume, The Broadway Workshop may be the next step in her acting training. Offering ongoing theater, singing, and dance classes; showcases; acting coaching; camps; and one-day theater workshops for children, the Workshop offers theater classes and training programs for those students serious about a Broadway (or Hollywood) career. On the schedule, for instance, is a children’s theater workshop with the casting director of “Hannah Montana,” as well as a six-week class for kids entitled “Musical Theater Performance” for 5th-7th graders.
Applause Theatrical Workshops:
Applause offers theater classes for budding Broadway stars from ages 1-18, and the names of the programs pretty much say it all: “B’Way Stars”; “Audition Technique”; “Rock ‘n’ Roll Babies.” Theater classes for the youngest Broadway sensations-in-training focus on music, singing and dancing; as they get older, the focus of the theater programs shifts to include acting games and musical production numbers. Acting classes are also included, taught by Broadway and TV professionals. For the acting student who’s really serious about his/her craft, there’s the Applause Weekend Workshop for 5th-12th graders; by audition only.
Stella Adler Acting Studio:
If your teenager has a flair for the dramatic--or just wants to hone his craft—the Stella Adler Studio of Acting offers fall, winter and spring Saturday acting workshops for serious acting students with their eye on the Broadway stage. Young theater actors are taught by the same faculty as those in the NYU/Tisch School of the Arts program. These intensive acting classes and programs for kids will expose dedicated young actors to literature, poetry and art, in addition to classic plays and music. Founded in 1949, it’s one of the oldest acting programs in the city, and many a Broadway actor has been trained there.
The Neighborhood Playhouse Junior School:
The Junior School, which has been in existence for about 80 years, is an offshoot of the well-known New York acting school. The Saturday acting program for kids runs two semesters of theater classes a year for kids ages 6-17. Students are required to take three classes each Saturday; they may include Creative Drama, Singing and Dance classes. The Neighborhood Playhouse bills itself as a studio school; no theatrical performance is held at the end of the semester, since emphases are on general skills rather than training for one performance.
If shimmying rather than Shakespeare is your child’s vehicle to Broadway, check out Steps: This training ground for young dancers has long been the dance school of choice for many aspiring Broadway professionals; at The School at Steps, aspiring hoofers and choreographers ages 2-18 can follow in their, well, footsteps. Offering dance classes and programs year-round, the dance school offers students the choice of trying out different areas of dance or focusing on one particular style, such as theater dance or jazz, in their dance programs. Some performance opportunities and educational workshops--an often-necessary part of stage training--for kids are also available.
A Class Act NY:
If your kids are Broadway bound (or have their eye on TV and film as well), A Class Act offers a range of professionally oriented classes and theater programs for children and teens with the acting, singing and dancing bug. Among the offerings: A 6-week tap-dance class led by a star from Broadway’s “Billy Elliot”; “The Annie Workshop” with Andrea McArdle, the Broadway musical’s original Annie (it includes instruction in a dance combo from the musical “Annie,” as well song interpretation and vocal coaching); a Musical Theater Scene Study class, and a “Shrek the Musical” theater workshop that includes scene work and a dance combo from “Shrek the Musical.” Broadway and TV professionals teach the bulk of these Broadway classes for kids.
Manhattan Children’s Theatre:
Younger kids are in the spotlight—in more ways than one—at the Manhattan Children’s Theatre, which offers theater classes for preschoolers through 5th graders. Think of it as Way-Off Broadway: These acting and movement workshops for beginning actors focus on the basics, from bringing stories to life through music and movement for the littlest thespians; to characterization and monologues for the older set. The company also does theater productions around the city (often of classic kids’ books), and in addition, offers birthday parties.