Got a natural performer, drama king or queen or grade-A ham in the house? If so, you’ve probably considered tapping into the rich offerings of the NYC theatrical community. As it should be, the city is full of classes and schools where kids as young as 18 months — and of all levels of skill and commitment — can get a taste of the theater. Got stage parent anxiety? Don’t worry. Each of the programs listed here has a slightly different personality and approach to working with young actors, but all want to give students the chance to be kids, be creative and build confidence so they can “act out” in style.
photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos via New Victory Theater Facebook page
The New Victory Theater at The New 42nd Street Studios
A little something for everyone is available here, from weekend workshops to an entire semester of classes in the performing arts. Little tykes and the older set can take their onstage art forms into the Studio (at New 42nd Street Studios, where Broadway companies rehearse) led by resident teaching artists. Programs include puppetry, clowning, hip-hop dance classes and even acrobatics for the whole family. Intrigued? Book early! These classes sell out!
All Skill Levels
Cost: 90-minute workshops offered on Saturdays and Sundays for $17; weeklong sessions start at $500.
229 W. 42nd St.
photo: Brooklyn Arts Exchange/Carolina Kroon
Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX)
Taught by professionally-trained faculty, young performers learn technical skills and creative expression through dance, theater and tumbling. Classes are developmentally-appropriate and ensure that each child is challenged and supported; toddlers learn to Move & Groove while the older set can check out Dance Performance Workshops, Ballet FUNdamentals, and more. At the end of the fall and spring terms, your child will showcase original class work in the BAX Theater.
Ages: 18 months – 18 years
Cost: Classes are offered by the trimester ranging in price from $160 to $580.
421 Fifth Ave.
photo: stage/play Brooklyn Acting School
stage/play Brooklyn Acting School
Dream Up/Act Up is a program all about having a student use his or her imagination to dream up the wildest things and see them come to life! This class gives your little actor the space, freedom and guidance to create while strengthening listening and communications skills. Participants play theatre and improvisation games that hone and stretch their ability to imagine, move and create by creating their own characters, building stories and acting them out. Big bonus: Your little beansprout will also learn the art of collaboration and being part of an ensemble! The end of the course features an open rehearsal and a final presentation of the original play.
All Skill Levels
Cost: Sessions offered for $325 and $25 single classes are offered on Mondays after school.
First Unitarian Chapel
119 Pierpont St.
106 Calyer St.
photo: via TADA! Theater Facebook page
TADA! Youth Theater
Broadway babes can begin at age two a TADA!, with the parent-and-me program Theater on Their Scale (T.O.T.S.), which finds families playing and learning together. Fun, play-focused classes for young thespians help teach the basic elements of musical theater: characterization, coordination, cooperative play and musicianship. Dancing, acting and singing classes are also offered for students from preschool to eighth grade, with each group putting on a semester-end performance for family and friends. Note: WINTER SEMESTER EDUCATION OPEN HOUSE is on Saturday, January 16, 2016. (RSVP required.)
Beginner to Advanced Skill Levels
Ages: 2 – 14 yrs
Cost: Spring and winter sessions are available for $275 and up.
15 West 28th St.
A Class Act NY
For the tiniest of aspiring thespians, Magical Music Theatre Class is a seven, nine, or 16-week class and enrichment program for five- and six-year-olds of all levels. Students work on performance and life skills in a safe and nurturing environment with professional theatre actors. Your young performer is guided through a series of exercises and games designed to promote creativity, quick-thinking and confidence in a musical theatre setting. At the very end of the program, the children perform a showcase not just for parents and for friends, but for talent representatives in the industry. (A Class Act also offers classes for older kids, and entry by audition classes for the hard core performer tykes.)
Ages: 5- 6
All Skill Levels
Cost: Starts at $595 for seven weeks
500 8th Ave.
photo: via Applause Facebook page
Applause New York
Your petite prodigies can begin “training” as early as four months old at this UES spot. For the baby set, musical classes include Broadway Babies, or 70s and 80s rock ‘n’ roll, both of which incorporate a supply of props, costumes, puppets and instruments. Preschoolers at Applause NY get to play theatrical games, try improv, sing and dance. Kindergarteners and older children work as an ensemble cast to perform musical numbers and present their work for an audience at the end of the semester. Skilled, seasoned students can take more focused classes for on-camera work, singing, acting and hip-hop.
Ages: 4 mos. – 18 yrs.
All Skill Levels
Cost: Sessions vary on length and vary, beginning at $280.
184 E. 76th St.
Upper East Side
photo: via Brooklyn Acting Lab
Brooklyn Acting Lab
Mommies and caregivers can get in on the pretend play with Ready…Set…Imagine, an interactive theatre and storytelling journey at the Brooklyn Acting Lab. Pre-K and Kindergartners can enroll in Storybook Theatre, in which children are invited into the world of a new picture book each week. During the class students are guided through dramatic play and story dramas to bring the books and stories to life. Other classes are available for first grade and up include full theatrical training with a end-of-semester performance for family and friends.
Ages: 2 yrs & Up
All Skill Levels
Cost: Sessions vary on semester/length and other factors. Prices start at $200.
1012 8th Ave.
photo: via Rising City Arts Facebook page
Rising City Arts
Attention please: Princesses, Knights and Dragons! Expect your little beansprout to laugh and dream up magical worlds where their own stories unfold before their eyes. In Fairytale Adventures, your little one is invited to explore fairytales and learn more about character development, story structure and creativity. Imaginations go crazy as students are encouraged to collectively re-imagine and re-create their chosen stories in preparation for Fairytale Adventures Sharing — the final day of class when parents and friends get to see the fruits of kids’ labors.
Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Beginner Skill Level
Cost: 10 sessions/$300
Broadway Dance Studio of Astoria
Where does your family get schooled in the theatrical arts? Tell us in the comments below!
— Victoria Prather