July 2019


With after-school programs on Summer Break, Opening Act is currently focused on our alumni programming, preparation for Summer programs, and the upcoming school year. The alumni series, “Lights, Camera, Acting”, was a huge success and we continue to celebrate the growth of our incredible network of students, alumni, artists and friends!

Act 2 Alumni Series: Lights, Camera, Acting

Josh Dawson with OA Alumni (Left) ; Geneva Carr & Blake Russell with OA Alumni (Center) ; Mustafa Shakir & Alexa Fogel with OA Alumni (Right)

As part of our ongoing focus on offering programming for our alumni network to extend the Opening Act experiences and opportunities beyond High School, the Act 2 program launched “Lights, Camera, Acting”, a three-part master class series focused on the skills, knowledge, and motivation young people need to succeed as professional actors. A group of passionate and focused alumni gathered for the first session to learn from Broadway veterans Josh Dawson (“Beautiful”) and Lucia Gianetta (“A Bronx Tale”) about vocal and physical self-care for actors. Next, the group returned for an audition practicum with casting director and Opening Act Artistic Advisory Board Member Alexa Fogel and actor Mustafa Shakir (“The Deuce”) and finished the series with an “Acting for the Camera” workshop with Geneva Carr (“Bull”) and former Opening Act Teaching Artist, Blake Russell.

Student Trip to MTC’s “Long Lost”

Actress, Annie Parisse with Opening Act alumni, actors from the Cobble Hill ensemble, Teaching Artists and staff

On Saturday, June 15th, Opening Act alumni and students from the Cobble Hill ensemble were invited to a performance of Manhattan Theatre Club’s “Long Lost”, starring Annie Parisse. Annie Parisse had worked closely with Opening Act actors throughout the Spring semester and students were thrilled by the opportunity to see her perform on stage. “Long Lost”, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Donald Marguiles, is a “funny, unsettling, ultimately moving play about the limits of compassion and filial obligation” and explores the themes of family unity and personal growth. After the show, Opening Act students stayed for a talk-back with the actors and caught up with Annie to congratulate her on her stellar performance!

Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments

With after-school and D79 programs currently on break, we’d like to share some student quotes from the 2018-2019 school year as they reflected back on their Opening Act experience.

What did you like best about your experience at Opening Act?

  • “They became more than just another class. They became my friends and gave me gifts that I can use in my future.” 
  • “The diversity and different backgrounds made the experience at Opening Act so much more enjoyable. It gave me a chance to view the world in a different perspective. It made me understand and comprehend why other people act the way they do.” 
  • “Being able to perform on a stage in front of an audience. The entire process was simply amazing. I’ve always avoided presenting in front of large audiences but I was able to do so with Opening Act.”


This July we are preparing for the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory, which will bring together students from across Opening Act programs to dive deeper into acting, movement, and theater training. Staff will also be gearing up for the annual staff retreat to regroup, reflect, and get ready for the next school year!

Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory

Actors, guest artists and Teaching Artists from the 2018 Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory

This July 22nd – August 9th, Opening Act will be hosting our annual Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory. The Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory is a free, three-week long summer theater intensive open to all Opening Act actors through audition. The conservatory is held in a professional rehearsal space in Manhattan where students take classes in Contemporary Acting, Shakespeare, Arts-Based Leadership, and many other challenging and exciting workshops. These classes are taught by an array of artistic professionals and guest artists that have worked On and Off-Broadway, as well as in film and television. During the summer, participants will work towards a final showcase performance, all while receiving a competitive stipend provided upon completion!

Spotlight: Cynthia Fontaine, 2018-2019 Alumni Fellow

Today we are shining a spotlight on Cynthia Fontaine, Opening Act’s 2018-2019 Alumni Fellow! While Cynthia recently completed her fellowship, we are continuing to celebrate the work and contributions she has made to a successful year of Opening Act programs. Cynthia is an alumnus of the Opening Act program at the Cobble Hill School of American Studies and recently taught on the Teaching Artist team at the Canarsie Educational Campus. This coming Fall, Cynthia will be returning to school in pursuit of her degree in Communications with a focus in Film and Drama. 

“My time as a fellow taught me patience and opened my eyes to how things work in the background. I played as a team member, I laughed as a team member, but most importantly I worked as a team member. Working as a team almost every day, we collaborated and helped each other achieve our goals. There was nothing more comforting than knowing that every single idea was taken into great consideration and that the core values I had learned as an Opening Act student resided heavily within the office and outside in our alumni community. The alumni that I had barely known are now my friends and colleagues. I thank Opening Act immensely for giving me this opportunity to learn and watch, but also empower.” – Cynthia Fontaine

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