Some schools say only THEY have been authorized by Sanford Meisner to teach. Is that true?
That is a false claim of which there are many in Hollywood. Some schools are so desperate they claim Mr. Meisner's students as their own, such as Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen, and even Jeff Goldblum who is a CO-FOUNDER of PLAYHOUSE WEST. The fact is those actors, and many others like them trained with Sandy at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York in the 50's and 60's before there were any schools in Hollywood purporting to teach his method.
Do not be deceived by anyone who claims sole-proprietorship over Mr. Meisner's work. Sandy would always say in his classes, "If anyone claims to teach my method ask them if they have my blessing to teach." There are several of which that is true in Los Angeles. William Alderson was invited by Sandy to teach at The Neighborhood Playhouse, which he did for 20 years. Jim Jarrett, a student of Sandy's when he taught at Playhouse West, was encouraged to teach by Sandy, and runs The Meisner Technique Studio in San Francisco. He has taught in Los Angeles and several times a year instructs students at Playhouse West. He wrote and performs the award-winning show, "Meisner," about Sandy's teaching.
Hundreds of actors attended Sandy's classes at Playhouse West. Due to his friendship with Robert Carnegie, Sandy was encourage to escape the harsh New York weather, and moved his classes to Playhouse West in 1987. At that time we transferred an entire class Robert Carnegie and Jeff Goldblum were teaching over to Sandy. For almost the entire final years of Sandy's teaching carer he taught at two of our Los Angeles studios. Sandy has not only recommended Robert Carnegie to students, even before he moved to Los Angeles, but he said the Playhouse West production of "Welcome Home, Soldier," was "the most gripping performance in a theater" he'd send since he directed, "Waiting for Lefty," in the 1930's.
The accomplishments of Playhouse West over the past 35 plus years, are the accomplishments of those that actually teach at our school. We have never attempted to take credit for another teacher's students in an effort to enhance our reputation, as others do. Our reputation is based on the many actors, directors, writers, and producers who have been at our school who work professionally on all levels. There was a time when 4 of the 5 Movies of the Week starred our students. Our production of "Welcome Home, Soldier" won Best Play of 1991 and is still running to this day to sold out houses. For over 19 years we have produced a 3-day Film Festival screening the films our students make or appear in. We have spawned two legitimate Playhouse West schools in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, and we have many imitators who do their best to pretend they are somehow associated with us. One of our Staff members was invited by the oldest and largest theater school in Europe, The St. Petersberg Arts Academy to teach their 4-year students the Playhouse West method of delivering the work of Sanford Meisner. Playhouse West is on the short list given out by top agencies and management companies as to where actors should study in Los Angeles.
What IS "Authentic Meisner Training"?
The PBS American Masters series entitled the documentary about him, "The Theater's Best Kept Secret.". But since his book was published he became in vogue and many have gotten on that bandwagon with claims of teaching his technique. In actuality only a handful studied as teachers with Sandy, or were encouraged to teach by him. In fact, only a handful of those now teaching the Meisner method actually even studied acting with Sandy himself. Since we had Sandy with us at Playhouse West for almost a decade, and attended all his classes, and took note of advancements he made in his technique and incorporated those into our program, we can claim that we became heir to the last and final version of his approach.
How can I become a student at Playhouse West?
All potential students must first audit a class. Membership is granted on the basis of an interview. The interviews are brief and take place immediately after the audit. Accepted students are given a Student Acceptance Sheet containing a class schedule, tuition payment policies, and other pertinent information. The Student Acceptance Sheet must be presented to the instructor on the student’s first day of class.
In Los Angeles and Philadelphia an appointment is NOT required. An appointment is ONLY required in Brooklyn.
I really want to study at your school. Can I just show up and register for classes?
Yes. Attend one of our classes open for audit and before the class, express your wishes to the teacher.
Do I have to audition to get into Playhouse West?
No. We conduct an interview to ascertain the seriousness of the student.
How much do classes cost?
Our acting classes cost $195 per month; that is for 2 classes per week, 3 hours each class, and students work in every class. There are no hidden fees. Payment is on a month-to-month basis.
Does Playhouse West provide scholarships or financial aid?
It's the philosophy of Playhouse West to charge as little as possible, so our actors can spend their time rehearsing instead of working to pay confiscatory class tuition rates. Therefore, everyone is on scholarship at Playhouse West and ultimately, receives financial aid. (mic drop)
Does Playhouse West provide student visas?
Do I need any prior training or acting experience?
No, many of our most successful students came to us without ANY prior training or experience.
I have a lot of prior acting experience, do I have to begin my training in a Level 1 class, or can I audition to get into a more advanced level class?
We follow the pattern Mr. Meisner set at Playhouse West. Everyone starts at the beginning. But you will progress at your own rate of speed, depending on your prior experience. Exceptions have been made, as in the case of Academy Award-winning actress Terry Moore.
Can I audition to get into your plays or your repertory theater if I'm not a student at PW?
Unlike other schools that do productions, whose students are rarely if ever cast, we only use our own students in productions at Playhouse West. Because they are the best.
How can I find out the schedule for all classes?
We do not publicize our class schedule. All new or perspective students are given an available class schedule upon being accepted into the school.
Do I need to bring a picture or resumé to the audit or interview?
No. We will see what you look like and we will determine your background in the interview.
Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances" ~ Sanford Meisner