Burt Reynolds Re-Opening Jupiter Acting Conservatory
Reporting from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Bill Hirschman writes that acting icon Burt Reynolds will re-open the Jupiter Acting Conservatory, a program he once operated in the 1980s and 1990s for hundreds of aspiring actors, many of whom later achieved celebrity. The conservatorty was also a presenter of developmental works, including the original THE NEWS, which premiered on Broadway in 1985.
The effort falls under the banner of the Burt Reynolds Institute of Film and Theater (BRIFT), with the goals of securing a 99 seat theater and offering training classes to aspiring thespians, directors and screenwriters much like Robert Redford's Sundance Lab. The project will begin by offering a smattering of classes for children and adults.
The project is an enhancement of an informal masterclasses run and sponsored by Reynolds since 2008 when he moved back to Jupiter. The program was held at a small theater inside the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum, which will continue to be BRIFT's home until a new, larger theater is found and a full curriculum of classes is established. Reynolds plans to be very hands on throughout the process of curriculum development and staff selection.
Though in its embryonic phase, significant progress is being made in the selection of Kenneth Kay as Executive Director of the program, to begin immediately. Kenneth Kay was the former Artistic Director of the old Jupiter Conservatory from 1993 - 1995, prior to moving to North Carolina to head the Blowing Rock Stage Company (now closed). He is a four-time Carbonell winner. Hirschman reports that Kenneth is thrilled to be back working for an old, but familiar mission. "We're doing what Burt Reynolds always told us: Give back," he explains. Nor is Kay or Board Co- chair Suzanne Niedland worried about the competition: "we have Burt Reynolds, a man who has made his living in the industry for 50 years...he knows more about acting for the camera and directing film than, I think, anyone in a school locally.
Burt Reynolds is most famous for playing Lewis Medlock in "Deliverance," Paul "Wrecking" Crewe in "The Longest Yard," Coach Nate Scarborough in the 2005 remake of "The Longest Yard," Bo 'Bandit' Darville in "Smokey and the Bandit," J.J. McClure in "The Cannonball Run," the voice of Charlie Barkin in "All Dogs Go to Heaven" and Jack Horner in "Boogie Nights." He is one of America's most recognizable film and television personalities with more than 90 feature film and 300 television episode credits. He made his Broadway debut in LOOK, WE'VE COME THROUGH in 1961.
For further information, visit: www.brift.org.