Seeking serious students: Masters to hold class at BPA

Two prominent pedagogues will be in residence at Bainbridge Performing Arts, teaching advanced classes for serious students of the stage later this year, and reservations are now open.

Dinah Manoff and Wilson Milam will each be teaching intensive, small group classes for thespians of various degrees of experience — but the sincerest aspirations.

The classes, aimed at adult students and more experienced teens, are as different as the instructors, said Elizabeth Ellis, BPA’s director of education.

“His stuff is more freewheeling,” Ellis explained.

“Dinah is an actor and Wilson is a director, and I think that’s valuable to know if you’re considering which class to take, because Dinah is going to give an actor tools to work. When you go into an audition setting or you’re cast in something forever, after you take her class, you have more tools that you can draw upon. Whereas, Wilson really directs people and gives them the experience of the work. And those are both really valuable approaches, I think.”

Manoff will be teaching a “Scene Study” course and also an intensive “Nuts &Bolts of Acting” course, and Milam, who recently concluded a “Speaking Shakespeare” class, will offer training with an emphasis on techniques and work habits from his perspective as a director.

“Wilson’s class will be announced soon, and people can check our website or email me for details,” Ellis said. “[Dinah’s] been refining this ‘Nuts &Bolts’ class for a long time, and it’s a lot of insight for beginners or for people who may have lost touch with certain things, or maybe have strong intuition around things but haven’t learned the reasons behind the things.”

Milam is most famous for his work as a director, though he began his career in Seattle working as an actor before moving to Chicago and getting work as an assistant director at the Victory Gardens, Remains and Steppenwolf Theatre companies.

He directed the world premiere production of Tracy Letts’s “Killer Joe” at the Next Theatre, which subsequently moved to the Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Festival, where it won a Fringe First Award before transferring to London. A subsequent production of Lett’s next play, “Bug,” transferred to The Gate Theatre in London and Milam then began working on both sides of the Atlantic.

He was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Director of a Play” for Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” as well as a Lucille Lortel nomination for his direction of “Killer Joe.”

Manoff, a well-known figure on Bainbridge, received a Tony Award in 1980 for Best Featured Actress for her performance in the Broadway production of Neil Simon’s “I Ought To Be In Pictures.” She reprised the role in the motion picture of the same title. On television, she was a series regular on “Soap,” and is best known for her portrayal as Richard Mulligan’s daughter Carol Weston — the character she played for seven years on the NBC show “Empty Nest.”

In feature films, Manoff played the role of Pink Lady Marty Marachino in the movie “Grease.” Her other film credits include “Ordinary People,” “Child’s Play,” “Staying Together,” “Backfire,” “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael,” and, most recently, the independent film, “Bart Got a Room.”

She has coached and taught actors for many years in Los Angeles and on Bainbridge Island.

“Nuts &Bolts of Acting” will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 10 through Sept. 17. The cost is $225 per person. “Scene Study” will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 4 through Nov. 15. The cost is $275 per person.

Email eellis@bainbridge performingarts.org or call 206-842-4560 for more information about these and other BPA educational programs.

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