×

New York Film Academy Looks to Launch the Creators of the Next ‘Glee’

Though movie musicals are once again on Hollywood’s radar thanks to “La La Land,” the next great example of the genre might come from a student, not the studios. Since 2012, the New York Film Academy has been producing original musicals through its two-year Conservatory program, which allows students to create original stories and music in collaboration with its musical theater department faculty — such as chair Mark Olsen, creative director Kristy Cates, instructors Carl Danielson and Jay Russell, as well as actress Charlotte d’Amboise. These projects have received festival acclaim — “The Ghosts of Ethan Dean” captured the prize for musical short at the 2017 Garden State Film Festival — and interest from the industry itself.

The attention and praise is a point of pride for NYFA senior executive vice president David Klein and president Michael Young, who have seen their dream of a musical theater program that drew on both Broadway talent and the history of movie musicals come to impressive fruition.

“We have the right people teaching the students, and telling them what they will experience as soon as they step into the actual musical theater marketplace,” says Klein.

Both Klein and Young are also pleased by how the success of “La La Land,” and prior to that, “Glee,” which featured two Academy students, Chord Overstreet and Naya Rivera, in its cast has brought long-overdue attention to the musical.

“We’re not sure what kind of impact [they] will have on our program,” Klein says. “But young people are being exposed to movie musicals due to [their] success, so maybe they are attracted to it and they find us.”

But the NYFA administration and faculty isn’t waiting for any post- “La La” bump. They are forging forward with long-term plans, including the creation of a feature-length musical project with the students, and expansion of the musical theater program to NYFA campuses in L.A. and Miami. There are also plans to deepen creative collaborations with musical theater students in Brazil, China and India.

“The musical form is something that has great currency overseas,” Young says. “There is an opportunity to develop these programs and bring them around the world.”

Prospects like these, as well as its award-winning domestic product, have NYFA poised to produce a major musical production with impact.
“We’re so excited by this program because of the quality of what the students experience in the classroom, and the quality of what they put on film,” says Klein. “There is so much opportunity for them.”

For more information: https://www.nyfa.edu/musical-theatre/

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Review: Taylor Swift Finds Giddiness, Amid

    Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Lover'

    Sitting in a hot tub on “Saturday Night Live,” Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch stole the sobriquet “love-ah” from the lexicon of acceptable terms of endearment — and, by golly, Taylor Swift is reaching into that oily water and stealing it back. The word doesn’t sound unctuous on her lips as she repeats it in [...]

  • Travis ScottWireless Festival, Finsbury Park, London,

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

  • Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings

    Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings 'Archer' During YouTube Livestream (Watch)

    Taylor Swift went live on YouTube today to talk about the inspiration behind her new album “Lover,” dropping tonight. Those who tuned into the live event on Swift’s YouTube channel were virtual attendees of the “Lover’s Lounge,” which included an acoustic performance of her already released single “The Archer,” a Q&A sesh and a behind-the-scenes [...]

  • Missy-Elliot VMA

    Missy Elliott to Drop New EP, ‘Iconology,’ Tonight

    It’s been nearly 15 years since Missy Elliott dropped her last album, and in that time she’s released a handful of songs, made some guest features, played some lconcerts, appeared alongside Katy Perry at the 2015 Super Bowl and this year she’s been voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on Monday night she’ll [...]

  • John Janick Interscope Geffen

    And the New Interscope Records Publicity Chief Is...

    Variety has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music business: Cara Donatto is joining Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) as its new head of publicity. She arrives at the Universal Music Group label from Atlantic Records, where she has spent nearly two decades of her career guiding public relations strategy for such artists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content