It is OUR honor to award the VASSALLO AWARD for Outstanding Educational Outreach Program to the Stella Adler Outreach Division in New York City. We are grateful for the support our ensemble has received from Stella Adler Studio Of Acting, Tom Oppenheim, Artistic Director, Nina Capelli, Director of Cultural Programming and the entire staff but most importantly are thrilled about their work with inner-city High School students. Special shout-out to Tommy Demenkoff for his work as Director of Outreach.
We return the love and support to the Stella Adler Studio Of Acting by providing their Outreach students workshops that focus on producing, ensemble collaborations as well as free performances to our productions with post-show Q&As with artists.
The VASSALLO AWARDS is dedicated to the memory of Actor/Producer Ed Vassallo who inspired many with his talent and generosity.
Our Gala & Awards Ceremony will take place on Monday, June 23rd at the Beatrice Theatre (SVA) in the heart of NYC. For tixs and more information please visit: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/720710
Here's a closer look at why this program means a lot to us and why we feel it deserves every bit of attention and support. We're also excited to introduce you to the Artistic Director, Tom Oppenheim.
What is the Stella Adler Outreach Division?
The Stella Adler Outreach Division aims to empower young people through craft. Outreach provides free actor training to low-income and inner-city youth. Classes include Voice and Speech, Movement, Improvisation, Scene Study, Technique and Shakespeare. Students show their skills in public performances.
Outreach is committed to the long term, high quality education of its student artists. The average program is eight weeks long, many are longer. Shorter workshops are also provided as pilot programs for potential long term courses.
“I feel even more confident in my acting and I speak my mind more often. I feel I can express myself without saying (I’m) sorry.” Elizabeth, Adler Youth student
Artistic Director and President
Stella Adler Studio of Acting
Tom Oppenheim was born in New York City to one of America’s most distinguished theatrical families. Jacob Adler, Tom’s great grandfather, was one of New York’s preeminent Yiddish theatre impresarios. Stella Adler, Tom’s grandmother, was known as one of the worlds most famous acting teachers, having trained some of the most recognizable and distinguished actors of our era. As a child of such theatrical luminaries, Tom’s artistic education began in his grandmother’s living room and quickly became a natural and essential part of his life.
Established in 1949 by the great Stella Adler, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting was founded upon Stella’s belief in the supreme seriousness of her art, and has, for the last five decades, enriched every part of the American theatre and motion picture arts. Stella’s philosophies kept many well-known members of the theatre coming back for her intelligent and passionate advice and the school has since trained many of the brilliant actors of our time, including Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Elaine Stritch, Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek.
In his position as Artistic Director and President of Stella Adler Studio, Tom pays tribute to his grandmother’s legacy in his work and has guided the center with a style both visionary and rooted in tradition. For the past 15 years, Tom has continued Stella’s tradition and has built upon it, adding components that emphasize social outreach and the potential for theatre to influence society. It is the mission of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting to create an environment with the purpose of nurturing theatre artists who value humanity, their own and others, as their first and most precious priority while providing art and education to the greater community.
Under Tom’s guidance, the Studio has evolved from an acting conservatory to a cultural center with a unique focus on American actor training. Students are encouraged to not only be well versed in theater, art, music and literature, but to also be conscious of and involved in social, humanitarian and political issues.
To this end, Tom spearheaded the creation of the Harold Clurman Art Series which has presented eminent artists like Harold Bloom, Edward Albee, John Ashbery, Julianne Moore and Harold Mabern. The Studio’s annual benefit, the Harold Clurman Festival of the Arts, is a landmark event that explores the relationship between art and social activism in four days of discussion and performance. Participants have included Edward Albee, Derek Walcott, Olara Otunno, Zlata Filipovic, Ishmael Beah, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Terry Anderson, Giandomenico Picco, Jonathan Demme, Mike Medavoy, Wallace Shawn, Holland Taylor and Marian Seldes.
Under Tom’s visionary leadership the Stella Adler Outreach Division, a program designed to educate urban youth, was created. Since 2004, Adler Outreach has provided free actor training to over 5,000 low income New York City public school students and others.
The Stella Adler Studio of Acting currently trains over 500 actors per year and also presents world class lectures, poetry readings, jazz, classical music, theater, and dance theater events. In his time as Artistic Director and President of Stella Adler Studio, Tom’s involvement and innovative ideas have helped to increase student enrollment by 800%, have increased the school’s income by 400% with the addition of programs such as the Master Classes with Yoshi Oida, Andrew Wade and Zoe Caldwell, and have drastically enhanced the school’s international recognition.