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Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theatre & Sanford Meisner To Be Honored By The The Office Of The City Council

Sanford Meisner and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre to be recognized with a Proclamation honoring their 90th Anniversary. New York Council Member Ben Kallos will be presenting the award at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre (340 East 54th Street) on Thursday, October 18 at 2 pm.

Created by philanthropists Alice and Irene Lewisohn, The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre was founded in 1915 and originally located in the famous Henry Street Settlement House. One of the first Off-Broadway theatres, the Playhouse was committed to community and devoted to renewing the roots of drama, mounting works both classic and modern. From the theatre grew a desire to focus on training and, in 1928, The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre opened its doors. The Lewisohns entrusted the direction of the school to Rita Wallach Morgenthau, a long-time board member and advisor to their theatre. The first class, comprised of only nine students, had the privilege of being taught by theatre luminaries Agnes DeMille, Louis Horst, Laura Elliott, and Martha Graham.

Since then, The Neighborhood Playhouse's alumni have included stage and screen's most illustrious stars, including Connie Britton, Mackenzie Davis, Robert Duvall, William Esper, Jeff Goldblum, Wynn Handman, Allison Janney, Diane Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Sidney Lumet, Dylan McDermott, Steve McQueen, Christopher Meloni, Chris Noth, Gregory Peck, Sydney Pollack, Tony Randall, Sherie Rene Scott, Marian Seldes, Mary Steenburgen, Eli Wallach, and Joanne Woodward.

In 1935, Sanford Meisner, one of the greatest acting teachers of the 20th Century and one of the founding members of The Group Theatre, joined the acting faculty of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in 1935 and in 1940, he became head of the acting program. It was at The Neighborhood Playhouse where he developed and refined what is now known as the Meisner Technique, a step-by-step procedure of self-investigation for the actor now globally recognized and among the foremost of modern acting techniques.

"All of us at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre wish to warmly thank New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, along with the rest of the New York City Council, in recognizing the rich history of this dynamic school and its historic place in the cultural life of New York City theater. We are eternally grateful to the paramount contribution that Sanford Meisner made not only to The Neighborhood Playhouse, but to the entire professional acting world." Executive Director of The Neighborhood Playhouse, Pamela Moller Kareman

"Theater is a beautiful art form that has helped New York City become known for its culture. Organizations like the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and individuals like legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner have a lot to do with that," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is a true honor and distinct pleasure to be able to officially recognize the many contributions of this organization and Mr. Meisner with a Proclamation from the City of New York"

For more information about The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, please visit

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