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. The home of the Great White Way is full of theater classes and camps where kids ages three and up—and of all levels of interest and ability— can get a taste of the theater. Each of the programs listed here has a slightly different personality and approach, but all want to give students the chance to be kids, be creative and build confidence so they can “act out” in style. Find the perfect NYC theater class for your little star here!
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.
TADA! Youth Theater
Founded in 1984, TADA! Youth Theater boasts Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington as former students. From “Broadway Babies” to “Broadway Bound”, TADA! Caters to kids ages three to 12, with all classes being team-taught by two professional Teaching Artists. They pull from both the Broadway and TADA! original musicals for all classes. One thing that really makes TADA! stand out among the crowd is its Resident Youth Ensemble, a free, by-audition-only, pre-professional training program for local children ages eight to 18. Kids who are accepted get to perform in TADA!'s original main stage productions. No experience is necessary, and TADA! prides itself on a program that balances diversity with talent. Note: Fall Semester Education Open House is on Saturday, September 7. (RSVP required.)
Beginner to Advanced Skill Levels
Ages: 3 – 12 for classes, 8-18 for resident ensemble
Cost: Spring and winter sessions are available for $360 and up.
15 West 28th St.
Treasure Trunk Theatre
Treasure Trunk Theatre is a theatrical arts program for children that explores drama through imagination—the name comes from a "real" treasure trunk kids open to discover what fun is in store that day. Offering classes, single-day, vacation and summer camps, Treasure Trunk Theatre engages kids with movement, music, theater games and more. Classes include Mini Shakes (as in William), Make a Musical, Put on a Play, Rock Star and Storybook Dance, and when applicable, grownups are invited to a performance at the end of the camp or class. Very tiny ones as young as six months and caregivers can join Musical Adventure ($35/session), a sing-along class with theatrical flair. Treasure Trunk Theater has an HQ in Brooklyn Heights, but also holds classes in Tribeca, Prospect Heights, Hoboken, Montclair and beyond. (They'll also bring their brand of theatrical fun to you for a birthday party.)
Beginner skill level
Ages: six months to eight years
Cost: starting at $60/day
Treasure Trunk Theatre
141 Atlantic Ave.
Broadway Bound Kids
Broadway Bound Kids (est. 2004) is a performing arts education organization based in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Their mission is to inspire and empower kids of all ages through the performing arts. Broadway Bound Kids passionately believes that involvement in the performing arts increases self-esteem, builds relationships, encourages respect, and releases creativity while learning skills for life. The program caters to ages five to 12. They pull from the Broadway catalogue to create a one-of-a-kind show.
Beginner skill level
Ages: Grades K - 12
Cost: Classes begin at $499
Upper West Side
Child's Play NY
Child's Play NY offers classes and camps for all ages in several locations, and provides after school programming for numerous NYC schools. The Pre-K set can unleash their imaginations and act out whatever they can conjure in Imagine That, its Adventure Series finds young kids reimagining classic and contemporary stories from children's literature, and older kids who are a little more serious about theatrical pursuits can explore musicals, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy and more. Child's Play will also hold a private class in your home or at a studio, and you even get a break on the price if you host at your place. (Private studio classes are currently available in Union Square, West Village, DUMBO, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill.)
All skill levels
Ages: three and up
Cost: Starting at $385 a semester
Numerous locations throughout NYC
A Class Act NY
For your serious aspiring thespians, A Class Act NY has an award-winning acting studio in Manhattan and instructors include prominent professional actors who provide students with an invaluable education and industry connections for performers. They feature programs for everyone ages four and up (including adults). 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.
All Skill Levels
Ages: 5 and up
Cost: Starts at $595
Applause New York
At Applause New York, there are separate classes designed for dance, film acting and theater. Classes begin at age four where preschoolers get their intro to acting through theatrical games, try improv, song 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.
All Skill Levels
Ages: 4 – 18 yrs.
Cost: Sessions vary on length and vary, beginning at $795
184 E. 76th St.
Upper East Side
Kids 'N Comedy
Got an older kid who is all about getting the laugh? Kids 'N Comedy helps kids ages 10 to 18 develop their skills in sketch comedy, stand-up, and improv. Founded in 1996, Kids 'N Comedy brings in a rotating roster of professional comedians to teach a small group of 13, and each two-week session ends with a performance at Gotham Comedy Club. They also offer weekly classes that run for nine weeks—the fall season starts on September 21 and 22.
Ages: 10 - 18
Cost: Starts at $765 for a nine-week season; partial financial assistance is possible for demonstrated need.
Gotham Comedy Club
208 W. 23rd St.
Brooklyn Acting Lab
From exposing Pre-K kids just being introduced to the world of musical theater to an 11th-grade Acting Lab, Brooklyn Acting Lab offers a diverse menu of classes for students that is designed to build confidence and teach collaboration and problem-solving skills. Kids are exposed to historical and contemporary pieces of musical theater including works from the Broadway musical canon and theater for young audiences. BAL offers fall, spring and summer sessions at multiple locations.
All Skill Levels
Ages: Grades Pre-K-11th
Cost: Sessions vary on semester/length and other factors. Prices start at $765.
1012 8th Ave.
Rising City Arts
Calling all princesses, knights and dragons! In Fairytale Adventures, your little one is invited to explore fairytales and learn more about character development, story structure and creativity. 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
— Heather Millen