In the Press
MTC is excited to announce that our Summer Showcase will be presented at the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café. Located in the heart of NYC’s theatre district, The Beechman is a premiere cabaret theatre that plays host to a roster of top performing artists. Sample the club’s delicious menu and treat yourself to the inspiring talent of our cast of
Theater Camp: More Than Just Acting Lessons - Best of NJ: NJ Lifestyle Guides, Features, Events, and More
April 15, 2016 | 8:00 am
When it comes to theater camp, the Musical Theater Conservatory in Livingston sets the stage for the best opportunity for your child to discover their true talent. Whether you have a pint-sized prodigy or a child who simply loves to perform, the three-week performing arts program offered at the camp offers a full theater experience for kids ranging from age 7 through 18, with courses in voice, stage combat, television acting, and comedy and improvisation, just to name a few.
Camp founders Randy Kravitz Elman and Mary Brienza are veterans in the industry, and have trained several successful stars before their big break including Natalie Portman, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and MichaelPitt.
“I feel what we do is very special because we have quality teachers who are real professionals that care about the kids,” says Elman. “Not only do they understand how to perform, but they know how to convey what they’ve learned to students.”
Their confidence-building theater program has transformed budding stars into Broadway performers and instilled invaluable tools in kids who can use what they learn in the program in many areas of their lives.
“We train everyone as if they were going to be professional, but many of our students are not going into the industry,” adds Elman. “We take anyone who shows an interest in the arts.”
Workshops are offered in the morning, with kids capping off the day learning song and dance routines — though these are hardly your typical classes; Broadway performers are brought in to teach the students dance numbers. Elman says during a recent summer program, the kids learned choreography from an actor pal starring in the play In The Heights.
“First he spoke to them about the business and then he taught them choreography from In The Heights, which was hip-hop, cool dance moves and they loved that. It’s not just meeting the person and getting an autograph, but the opportunity to ask questions and understand what it takes to get into the business.”
A former star in Cats worked with the kids to help them design their stage looks and taught them how to apply their makeup. And the learning doesn’t stop there: Students work each day on a cabaret routine that they will perform at the end of the program onstage in New York City. “It’s an incredible production with professional lighting and sound, and it’s just a wonderful experience for a young performer,” says Elman. “It’s also something good to put on their resume if they are working toward a professional career.”
Kids leave the camp with skills that they can use in the future. A class on how to audition not only helps to prepare students for a professional audition, but also trains them how to best present themselves in an interview or when delivering a speech. Improv classes help develop quick thinking skills.
“I believe that everyone should have theater training,” says Elman. “Not because they should become professional performers, but because it contributes so much to a child as a person and it carries over to when they become adults.”
“When I have a kid who is a little shy, and they come in they can’t project or a feel scared to sing and by the end of the summer they have all this confidence, it’s so rewarding for me,” she adds.
And Elman has seen many success stories — including one of her former students, Broadway actor Brandon Uranowitz (pictured), who was nominated for a Tony last year
for his role in An American in Paris. Last summer, actor James Freedson-Jackson attended MTC’s Broadway Boot Camp and recently appeared on two TV series — the Netflix hit Jessica Jones and NBC’s The Blacklist — and in the film Cop Car with Kevin Bacon.
“I feel proud that I’m able to give my students a well-rounded education,” shares Elman. “I feel like the program makes a real difference, and that’s why I like teaching. I believe I can make a powerful impact on kids.”
The MTC Broadway Boot Camp allows students to participate in classes and rehearse for a final performance in New York City. Broadway Boot Camp runs from July 5 to July 22 with a final show in NYC on July 23. It’s open to ages 7 through 18, and operates Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
To learn more about the Musical Theater Conservatory and to register online, visit or call 973-868-62595.
•••SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS FOR SUMMER PERFORMING ARTS PROGRAM
What do Natalie Portman, Jamie Lynn Sigler (Sopranos), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), and Brandon Uranowitz (Baby It’s You) all have in common? Each trained in the performing arts with either Randy Kravitz Elman or Mary Brienza when they were kids. Elman served for 25 years as artistic director for Performers Theatre Workshop, a performing arts training program for young people. Brienza has held faculty positions at American Theatre Dance Workshop and Broadway Dance Center and is currently teaching at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts.
Now the two veteran theatre educators offer their expertise through the Musical Theatre Conservatory they founded that includes program offerings like Broadway Boot Camp, Stage Door Kids, and Glee Goes Broadway ‐ each a three‐week performing arts camp in Livingston for young performers ages 7‐18.
Geared toward developing the complete performer, the programs includes classes in acting, theatre dance, vocal technique, and song interpretation as well as stage combat, TV/commercials, and auditioning.
“Summertime is a great time to try new things”, declared Elman. “If you’re a singer who’d like to try a dance class, or a dancer who’d like to try an acting class why not try it during the summer without the pressures of school and other extra‐ curricular commitments.” Musical Theatre Conservatory offers partial scholarships to students for this exciting summer program that runs June 30 - July 18th. Scholarships auditions are offered by appointment. Call today to schedule: 973.868.6259
There was only one thing Jessica, a rising star needed for her NYC debut: Her two front teeth. But that didn’t stop the pint-size performer from shining on the stage of the Laurie Beechman Theatre as part of a summer showcase of talent presented by the Musical Theatre Conservatory.
Over the past three weeks, aspiring actors studied the craft of musical theatre with New York City talent, including Dwayne Clark (Spiderman, In the Heights) and Steven Beckler (The Producers, Beauty and the Beast); casting director Cindi Rush; and South Orange’s Mary Brienza (Comedy Central).
Randy Kravitz Elman of West Orange said the “students really get inspired by working up close with someone succeeding in the way they hope to some day.”On Saturday, those dreams came true when the conservatory’s three-week intensive workshop culminated at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.
“Our goal is quality instruction in a positive, nurturing atmosphere,” said Brienza. “We have a faculty who are working artists as well as being highly skilled instructors.” The bonus, she added, is that all the various classes that a versatile performer needs — voice, acting, dance, stage combat, comedy improvisation, TV commercial acting, make-up and audition techniques — are all in one location.
That’s a big difference from when Brienza and Elman, the conservatory’s artistic directors, were young, aspiring performers. Learning from the best in the business meant riding a train into New York City, transferring to a subway, then walking some long city blocks to get to a dance studio or voice or acting coach. So when they launched Musical Theatre Conservatory they were determined to give students — and their families — the best of both worlds.
Elman served for 25 years as artistic director for Performers Theatre Workshop, a performing arts training program for young people. Brienza has held faculty positions at American Theatre Dance Workshop and Broadway Dance Center and is currently teaching at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts.
“Our goal is to pass on the love of theatre in a supportive and nurturing environment,” Elman said.
On Saturday, they also provided a chance for their students to perform on New York’s theatre row, an exciting evening for the young actors, from the “rising star” with the missing teeth to the summer intensive students from a variety of the region’s middle schools and high schools. (See the actors in action in the accompanying photographs by Hal Stern)
It’s official! MTC co-artistic director Mary Brienza will be starring in Holidays with The Chalks at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta this fall. In addition to her onstage role as country music superstar Judeen Chalk, Mary also shares book, music & lyric writing credits with her partners Kathryn Markey and Leenya RideoutSo, if you find yourself in Atlanta during the holiday and you like your entertainment “deliciously subversive”, then put this show on your must-see list!