DIRECTOR TONY SAVANT & STAFF
ASSOCIATE TEACHER: ED ARISTONE
Ed Aristone is an award-winning actor who has trained at Playhouse West in Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA for many years. Along with past cast members James Franco and Ashley Judd, he has appeared on both coasts in what was the nation's longest-running play, "Welcome Home Soldier", a tribute play to Vietnam Veterans.
With a passion for smaller, independent film making, Ed has played lead and supporting roles in features, including Turning Point with Ernie Hudson and Joe Estevez and Fear, Love, and Agoraphobia with Lori Petty, as well as numerous shorts, winning multiple acting awards. His appearances in television include episodes of Desperate Housewives opposite Eva Longoria and Crossing Jordan. He has also produced several films including the award-winning Red, starring Jim Parrick, and recently directed two shorts, Password and To Happy Endings.
On stage, he has appeared in numerous productions including The King and I, Little Me, and My Big Gay Italian Wedding in venues as varied as The Santa Ana Playhouse in Santa Ana, CA and Resorts International Superstar Theater in Atlantic City, NJ.
Ed believes strongly in thoroughly researching each role and is an advocate of the rehearsal process. For his appearance in the film Welcome Home, playing an Iraqi war veteran, he traveled to a place called Flatworld, part of a USC research facility where virtual reality headsets are being used to heal soldiers with PTSD syndrome. The VR headsets recreate real time, war like conditions during therapy sessions. An article in New Yorker magazine was written about his experience. Ed has played several military roles in independent films and because of this experience became involved in organizations supporting those serving including Soldier's Angels.
His volunteer efforts include teaching adults with mental and physical challenges, helping the homeless, and is the sponsor of a child from the Ngoenga School for Tibetan Handicapped Children in India.One of his favorite quotes by Sanford Meisner about acting is: "Being an actor was never supposed to be about fame and money. Being an actor is a religious calling because you've been given the ability, the gift, to inspire humanity."Ed enjoys working with passion minded individuals who understand one's ego should be "left at the door" when stepping on set to engage in a collaborative process.
“You will never be better as an actor than your weakest fundamental acting habit.”
Tony Savant, Director of Playhouse West Philadelphia, is one of the foremost respected acting teachers in the country. Mr. Savant has been integral to Playhouse West achieving its top reputation throughout the industry and being considered one of the finest acting schools in the world. Mr. Savant studied for years as an actor and in 1990 became the first student chosen to teach under acclaimed teacher and Playhouse West Founder, Robert Carnegie.
Within a few years of becoming an instructor, Savant oversaw the expansion of the school from one to three studios, and earned the titles of Artistic Director and Head of the Theater Company. Mr. Savant helped train some of the most successful actors working in film and television today, including Ashley Judd, James Franco, Scott Caan, Scott Wolf, Scott Haze, Tessa Thompson, Jim Parrack, Reed Diamond, Heather Morris, Shawnee Smith, Nestor Carbonell, Kathryn Morris, Charisma Carpenter, Jamie Anne Allman, Wentworth Miller and hundreds of other working actors.
Mr. Savant earned a B.A Degree in Theater from Penn State University, and an M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach. In 1987 he joined Playhouse West in Los Angeles, where legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner chose to teach his private classes after moving to Los Angeles in 1987. Along with Robert Carnegie and Jeff Goldblum, Mr. Savant is one of only a handful of teachers privileged to observe Mr. Meisner teach during this time, learning the up-to-date innovations in Meisner's technique until his retirement.
Mr. Savant is a Founding member, and served over 20 years as the Artistic Director of the award-winning Playhouse West Theater Company in L.A., directing, writing and acting in many of the productions. Mr. Savant created, directed and co-wrote the critically-acclaimed, award-winning production, “Welcome Home, Soldier”, hailed as “the year’s most powerful theater” and “Best Drama” when it opened in 1991. The plays closed in Los Angeles in 2016 after 25 smash years. For many years the play held the distinction of being the longest-running drama in the country. Mr. Savant directed two more productions of the play in West Chester, PA (2014) and in Philadelphia (2015), PA.
Mr. Savant has directed over 70 plays, including critically-praised productions of "The Baby Dance", "Light Sensitive", "Country Singer", "Speed The Plow", "Dinner With Friends", and "Sin", and has produced or supervised dozens more. He has directed five films (several multiple award winners), including Red (2016), starring Jim Parrack, which has won 16 festival awards. He has acted in over twenty films and performed in over 40 plays in Los Angeles and around the country.
One of Mr. Savant’s proudest accomplishments has been as Director of the Annual Playhouse West Film Festival, of which he took the reins in 1999. Under his guidance, the festival has grown into a first class, nationally recognized event, considered by filmmakers to be one of the best film festival experiences in the country. In 2013 he founded a second Playhouse West Film Festival in Philadelphia. In 2005, Savant founded The Playhouse West Arts Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring new filmmakers and theater artists, and to the exhibition of their work.
In addition, Mr. Savant teaches screenwriting, script and film analysis and voice & speech for the actor. He is hired regularly as a script consultant and script doctor, and is regularly sought out as mentor to writers and directors, and as a casting advisor. In August of 2012, Mr. Savant moved from Los Angeles and founded the east coast branch of the school, Playhouse West-Philadelphia, where he currently trains a new generation of actors.
"Every day you either get a little better or a little worse."