NEW YORK – Maria Psomas Studio NYC presented its 5th annual acting showcase on June 7. The 2017 Actors Showcase took place at The Grand Theater of The Producers Club in Manhattan, 358 West 44th Street. The acting studio produces an annual showcase of its students to provide them with the experience of performing live theater in New York and the exposure to industry professionals. Past attendees of the Maria Psomas Studio Showcase include ABC Primetime Casting-NY and Tribeca Film Festival award-winning director Minos Papas. ABC Casting called in and auditioned two actors after attending the Showcase.
“Acting training should include the exciting and sometimes perilous experience of performing live theater,” Psomas said. “And there is nowhere like New York City to learn this skill. We endeavor for the experience to be rewarding both for the actors and the audience.”
Psomas is an acting coach who studied at Yale School of Drama. Her students have worked on primetime TV, on Broadway, and in films. She heads her own studio in New York and spoke with The National Herald about the Showcase, acting, and her own life and career.
Psomas noted that she is the only member of her family who works in the arts. Her father owned a diner and her mother was a homemaker in Minneapolis, MN before they retired to Florida. Her mother is from Crete and her father is from Eretria, a town in Evia. Her parents met in Crete where her father was stationed when he was in the Greek Navy at Souda Bay, her mom’s hometown. They moved to the United States 4 years before Maria was born. She has a sister, too, but only Psomas caught the acting bug.
She said, “I was a performer from when I was a child, dance, classical ballet, jazz and that was from age 8 through about 21 through college and then I started acting. I started working regionally in Minneapolis which at that time was a good regional market and doing a lot of commercials and print ads, small independent films, plays… a few years later I made the move to New York. And in the interim, I studied at Yale School of Drama, and I landed my first agent and she started submitting me here in New York for the Sopranos and independent films, but I started working quite a bit in theater.”
Psomas told TNH about teaching the Chubbuck technique. “In 2010, I went to Los Angeles because when I was at Yale, I was told there was a teacher [Ivana Chubbuck] in LA whose technique was so secretive that she didn’t even publicize her address. And her theory was that if students wanted to find her they would find a way. She was a very good coach and a demanding one. She also coached Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone. I studied with her both as an actor and then a teacher in her technique and started teaching it in Florida and ended up teaching it here [in New York], but I’ve also taught it in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and a few other places.”
“This technique is all about I would say psychological realism, and understanding human behavior because if you can understand human behavior and the way your character maneuvers through life it might help you and the study of acting exposes a lot of characters and personalities that we might not be familiar with but I think it helps us understand people better. Ideally it would help us to be more empathetic, ideally it would help us to understand one another,” Psomas noted.
When asked about the Showcase, she said, “Last year, we had ABC casting and they called in two of the actors and auditioned them, and that’s the goal of the Showcase to get these students-actors in front of industry who might want to represent them or get them work.”
The sixteen performers who took the stage for the Showcase are from Psomas’ Wednesday night scene study class. She also teaches private lessons for working actors and does coaching on set.
Psomas noted that one of her first plays in New York was at the Greek Cultural Center and she loves Greek audiences. “They let you know how you’re doing right away.”
When asked about upcoming upcoming projects, Psomas said she is writing a play about Greeks in America that centers around a diner. She would love to see it developed off Broadway and for it to be embraced by the Greek community and seen by Greeks of the diaspora because the story centers around a group of Greek immigrants pursuing the American dream.
Before the sold out 2017 Actors Showcase, the Invited Dress Rehearsal took place on June 5. More information is available online at www.MariaPsomas.com.