Animus Theatre Company Announces Professional Workshop Programming for 2018

Animus Theatre Company Announces Professional Workshop Programming for 2018

Animus Theatre Company (Jonathan Judge-Russo, Founding Artistic Director), the artist-driven company whose mission is to explore and illuminate the resilience of the human spirit and lead producer of the now running N.Y. Premiere of Leslye Headland's Surfer Girl , is excited to announce the programming for its 2018 Professional Workshop Series.

As a company committed to the development of the actor as an artist, Animus Theatre Company offers its Professional Workshop Series in an effort to provide advanced training with some of the industry's top talent to both its members and professional performers at a fraction of their regular cost. These two-day workshops, presented as many as 5 times a year, are led by some of the most impactful teachers and leading industry professionals - the very artists who share the company's commitment to the exercise and practice of what they do.

The first Professional Workshop on the roster is Musical Theater Audition Prep on Saturday May 5 and Sunday May 6, 2018. Led by Broadway veteran Michelle Aravena (A Bronx Tale, Rocky, Jersey Boys), participants will alternate between one-on-one coaching and small group work to improve their understanding of music cut selection, monologue selection, and how to better face the often elusive dance call. Ms. Aravena will be joined by Broadway Producer and Casting Director Stephanie Cowan (Amelie; Oh, Hello), giving participants top-level perspectives from both sides of the table.

Musical Theater Audition Prep will kick-off with a panel discussion and Q&A with industry-leading professionals, including Tony-Award Winner Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It With You, Sunday in the Park with George, Showtime's "Masters of Sex"). Additional panelist to be announced at a later date.

Participants will be asked to prepare 1-2 cuts (32 bars) from their books, a monologue of their own choosing (no more than 2 minutes), and should come prepared to participate in a movement call. Musical TheaterAudition Prep will run 10AM-5PM both Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, at Studios 353 (located at 353 West 28th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). Tickets are available at

For its second workshop, Animus will welcome back company member Matthew Lillard ("Good Girls," The Descendants, SLC Punk, Scream) who returns to the classroom for his third installment of Scene Study with Lillard. Attendees will also be invited to a panel discussion and Q&A with Mr. Lillard and other leading industry professionals, to be announced at a later date.

Participants will be paired up at least one week prior to the workshop and asked to prepare a scene that they will explore over the course of the workshop with Mr. Lillard's coaching. Scene Study with Lillard will run 10AM-5PM both Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 at a location to be announced. Tickets are available at:

Each Professional Workshop can accommodate up to 12 participants at a rate of $200 per 2-day workshop. Those interested in participating in both workshops can take advantage of a discounted rate of $350 when purchased together. In addition, due to the limited space each workshop will offer Auditor Ticketing at a rate of $50 per day or $75 per weekend, allowing those unable to participate the opportunity to attend the panel discussions and/or observe class.

For more information about Animus Theatre Company and its Professional Workshop Series, please visit


Michelle Aravena has been in the original broadway companies of A Bronx Tale, Rocky, Jersey Boys and A Chorus Line (revival). She has been seen touring the country in leading roles with West Side Story, Les Miserables and Mamma Mia. She has performed at some of the top regional theaters such as Old Globe, Goodspeed Opera House, Actors Theater of Louisville and Asolo to name a few. Michelle is a two time nominee for the Jeff Award and took home the award for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story at Drury Lane. She has students currently in the productions of Once on this Island, Harry Potter, Lion King and School of Rock.

Stephanie Cowan is a New York based producer, casting director, and dramaturg who specializes in cultivating new works for film, television, and stage. From 2008-2017, she was Director of Development at Triptyk Studios (Amélie; Xanadu; An American in Paris; Will Ferrell's You're Welcome America; Oh, Hello). At Triptyk, she had a hand in developing several upcoming projects, including the television series 'Freedom Run' and 'Big Dead Place'. She has served as judge for the New York Musical Festival, as well as a selection committee member for the NAMT Festival of New Musicals from 2012-2014, with whom she continues to consult every year.

Annaleigh Ashford was most recently seen on Broadway opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, as Dot in Sunday in the Park With George and The Public Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park's Midsummer Night's Dream, as Helena (Drama League nom). She won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Essie in You Can't Take It With You. Other Broadway credits include Sylvia in Sylvia (Drama League nom), the original Lauren in Kinky Boots (Clarence Derwent Award, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle noms), Glinda in Wicked, Jeannie in Hair, and the original Margot in Legally Blonde the Musical. Off Broadway credits include Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at Encores!, Maureen in Rent (Drama League nom), and Marcie in Dogfight. Annaleigh played Betty on Showtime's critically acclaimed Masters of Sex. Other television and film credits include American Crime Story: Versace, the upcoming film Second Act, Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Law&Order, Law&Order SVU, Smash, Unicorn Store, Sex and the City, Better Off Single, Top Five, Rachel Getting Married, Frozen. Her critically acclaimed solo show, Annaleigh Ashford: Lost in the Stars Live at 54 Below was released by Broadway Records in 2016.


Animus Theatre Company is an artist-driven company whose mission is to explore and illuminate the resilience of the human spirit. Animus Theatre Company (Amy Northup, Assoc. Artistic Director; Karen Sours, Literary Director) produced its first play, John Patrick Shanley's Where's My Money? at the Cherry Lane Theatre, in 2012. Notable productions include Collected Shorts by Tennessee Williams (Moony's Kid Don't Cry, The Pink Bedroom, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, and The Long Goodbye), Pericles, Prince of Tyre by Shakespeare, and two 12-Hour Reading Festivals featuring the Sin Cycle works of Leslye Headland (The Accidental Blonde, Assistance, Bachelorette, Cinephilia, Reverb, and Surfer Girl) and John Patrick Shanley (The Big Funk, Defiance, Italian American Reconciliation, Moonstruck, The Red Coat, Sailor's Song, Savage in Limbo, Women of Manhattan) at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre.

Notable artists who have worked with Animus Theatre Company include playwrights Lesyle Headland, Theresa Rebeck, John Patrick Shanley, Bob Glaudini; directors Pamela Adlon, Edward Berkeley, Matthew Lillard, Andrew Lippa, Alan Langdon; and stage & film actors Alexis Bledel, Ben Foster, Andre Holland and Margo Seibert, among others.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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