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Drama Classes for Your Best Actor

If 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis’ Best Actress Academy Awards nomination has your kid dreaming about performing her way to a night of ball gowns and golden statues, sign her up for an acting class! Go figure, as the home of Broadway and the real life stage for many movies and TV shows, NYC has plenty of options for children to learn the craft. From baby-friendly musical classes to semesters of training that end with a performance allowing you to see your kid’s progress, here are the best acting schools to cure Oscars fever!

The New Victory Theater
Ages: 3-11
The program: You don’t have to sign your kid up for a whole semester of classes to give them a taste of the performing arts. Family weekend workshops cover everything from songwriting and set design to Shakespeare and acrobatics for older kids while younger children can try their hands at puppet making, clowning and even break dancing. Weeklong programs for circus or theater skills are also offered in the summer.
Take it: 90-minute workshops are offered on Saturdays and Sundays for $17 and weeklong sessions are $500 to $1,000. Sign up at newvictory.org.

Stage/Play Brooklyn Acting School
Ages: 3-14
The program: Think of it as acting school for the hipster set – enroll your future Michael Cera or Zooey Deschanel in an 8-week long signature class to dream up and act out their own characters and plot lines, explore the roles of Romeo and Juliet or embody the personalities of animals. One-off character immersion classes are also offered so kids can try playing their favorites like Harry Potter and Dora the Explorer.
Take it: Sessions are offered seasonal for $325 and $25 single classes are offered on Mondays after school. Sign up at stageplay.squarespace.com.

Applause New York
Ages: 0-18
The program: Think your baby is Broadway bound? Your little star can start his training as early as 4 months old at this UES spot. For the youngest thespians classes include songs from musicals or 70s and 80s rock ‘n’ roll along with a supply of props, costumes, puppets and instruments. Preschoolers will play theatrical games, try improvisation, sing songs and learn to dance. Kindergarteners on up get to work as a cast to perform musical numbers and perform for an audience at the end of the semester. Seasoned students can take more focused classes for on-camera work, singing, acting and hip-hop.
Take it: Sessions begin in the winter and fall and range in price from $525 to $1395. Sign up at applauseny.com.

TADA! Youth Theater
Ages: 2-14
The program: If it’s musical theater your kid wants to explore, this is a great place to start. Younger thespians can partake in pretend play-focused classes that help teach the basic elements of musical theater – characterization, coordination, cooperative play and musicianship. Later classes cover the core skills of singing, dancing and acting. They even have a class that helps kid create their own original mini-musical. In the summer, your child will love selecting a themed weeklong camp – TADA! Time Travelers or Fractured Fairy Tales anyone?
Take it: Spring and winter sessions are available for $135 to $335 as well as special $100 1-day and $450 weeklong camps during the summer and school breaks. Sign up tadatheater.com.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX)
Ages: 18 months – 18 years
The program: Dance, theater and tumbling are all taught at this Park Slope spot. Classes aim to strike a balance between technical skills and creative expression. Start your toddler off with a BAX Bambinos program like Move & Groove, a creative movement experience filled with rhythm, rhyme, song and plenty of wiggling, giggling and shaking. Older kids can choose from a range of options including Ballet FUNdamentals; Boys Movement; Dance, Sing, Act; and Dance Performance Workshops.
Take it: Classes are offered by the trimester ranging in price from $160 to $580. Sign up at youth.bax.org.

Broadway Edge
Ages: 8-18
The program: Does your little thespian think he’s ready to for the real thing? Invest in a workshop that’ll help him master the art of auditioning. Broadway professionals, award-winning director and acting coach Jill Jaysen and choreographer and movement coach Michael Schloegl will give one-on-one coaching and use the B.E.S.T Approach (belief, energy, strategy, talent) to prepare your future star for his first audition.
Take it: The next workshop is scheduled for March 2 and 3 and costs $500 for the weekend. Sign up at getthebroadwayedge.com.

Where do you take your little actors to hit the stage? 

– Julie Seguss

Images courtesy of Alexis Buatti-Ramos, The New Victory Theater

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