Acting and Drama

 

Anthony DePoto Elyse Jasensky Matthew Rebecca Rabinowitz

The Discovery Center welcomes all who have a desire to act. The Center’s main focus is comedy.

SO WHAT IS SKETCH COMEDY?

Sketch comedy is a brief scene or skit lasting one to ten minutes. Sketch comedy began in the days of vaudeville and today is widely used on Sesame Street, or more provocative shows like Saturday Night Live. It can also be a combination of live reactions such as Man on The Street pioneered by Steve Allen and most notably seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Often sketches are first improvised by the actors and written down based on the outcome of these improv sessions. Sketch comedians often differentiate their art from that of the skit, maintaining that skits tend to be a (single) dramatized joke, while a sketch is a comedic exploration of a concept, character, or situation.

Our Sketch Comedy Workshop will bring out the inner comedian and help students learn how to develop a comedic scene. Students may work individually or in groups or as  one large group developing one or more comedy sketches. The day will spent on improv, theatre games, character development and writing down and revising the sketches. The very best Sketches are selected for The Best of The Best program. This is a one week program offered throughout the year and the students registered for that program will perform the sketches. Often the students who register are also the authors and original actors of the sketch. It makes for great fun and a reunion type atmosphere. The Best of The Best is typically 8-12 sketches and is open to the public. This program is offered often so we can include a great majority of the sketches that are written the previous year ( ie each program will have 8-10 different sketches so most can be included)

WHAT OTHER COURSES ARE OFFERED?

FUN WITH COMEDY– one day or two night improv

EXPLORING SHAKESPEARE:

Students will learn what it was like to be an Elizabethan actor and have the opportunity to perform in a short rendition of one of William Shakespeare’s plays. Students will also learn how to properly breakdown a Shakespearean script and learn the Elizabethan acting style and techniques.

MY TALE- An Original Story 

Students learn how to create stories by playing various acting games, exploring fairy tales and using their imaginations culminating in an Original Story

WHO ARE THE TEACHERS?

ANTHONY DEPOTO

Anthony De Poto is originally from Danbury, CT and resides in Milford, CT with his wife Katie and daughter Cora.  Anthony received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Western  Connecticut State University and his M.F.A. from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  In 2009 Anthony directed the first of many  Encore Players productions, a high school based improv group founded by Westchester Hebrew High School Alum Matthew Newman.  Anthony was no stranger to the Putnam Children’s Discovery Center, directing several Discovery Center Players productions. Some of his acting credits include three Off-Broadway plays, an appearance at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the cast of Romeo and Juliet and in Mary Zimmerman’s Odyssey presented at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C.  He also has various film and voice over credits too.  Currently Anthony works at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT where he is a Teaching Artist.  Anthony has directed several  plays at Westchester Hebrew High School; Neil Simon’sBrighton Beach Memoirs in spring of 2009 and student written plays: To Be Honest (2013), Twisted (2014) Please Let This Be The End (2015), Burnt (2016) all plays written by the WHHS Drama Society (high school students) with writing coach Janice Newman.

ELYSE JASENSKY

Elyse combines her two true loves: teaching and theatre. Having been an elementary educator at a Jewish day school for 21 years Elyse also finds time to write fairy tales for Fairy Tale Theatre in Richter ( Danbury CT). In her theatrical life, Elyse has been on stage in one form or another since age 4. (Yes, that’s a lot of years, but it’s not necessary to say how many…) As the founder of Fairy Tale Theatre, a children’s theatre troupe entering its 15th season, Elyse serves as director, producer, writer, and Mother Goose. Her most recent, and most gratifying, acting experience was as Betty in The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Other favorite roles include Mama Rose (Gypsy), Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown), Joanne (Company), Miss Hannigan (Annie), and many varied roles in a long string of Sondheim musicals. Elyse won the Friedrich Schorr Medmorial Performance Prize in Voice, an international competition, and is a two-time winner of the “Best Actress in a Musical” award, given yearly in Fairfield County. However, Elyse’s most rewarding role has been that of wife and mother (Whaaa? No award for that?), and she forgives her husband and three children for all defecting to the “dark side”. (Yea Tech!)  Elyse directed Miles to Go a student written play by the 2012 WHHS Drama Society with writing coach Janice Newman

MATTHEW NEWMAN

Matthew Newman was nominated for an Evvy Award for OUTSTANDING TV PERSONALITY for his anchor position on Breaking News News a satire on current events, a show that airs in Boston. Matthew hosted the 33rd annual Evvys in 2014.  He won an EVVY award in 2015 along with his writing partner Kate Blye.  Matthew has been writing comedy for over 8 years. As a high school freshman he founded the Encore Players the first Sketch Comedy group of the Discovery Center. Matthew has performed at numerous comedy clubs in NYC.  He recently graduated Emerson College with a major in  Screen Writing for Film and Television. Many of you may remember him as the talented improv guy at our dinner shows during his high school years. During college he interned at The Colbert Report and FX. He is often back to teach a variety of comedic courses. You can see Matthew on You Tube: Matthew Newman Live @ Gotham or search Jimmys Traveling All Stars (JTAComedy) to see him in several sketches. Follow him on twitter or Instagram @MattsNewmans. View his Super 8 commercial . Matthew can be seen in many sketches on Flambe Comedy on Facebook or Youtube

REBECCA RABINOWITZ

Rebecca Rabinowitz attended the Hartman Theater Conservatory studying acting and directing. She continued with theater studies at SUNY Purchase and HB Studios. Rebecca has appeared on Law & Order, The Chappelle Show, Third Watch, recently in a pilot called the ³U², and an upcoming short, ³Melville². Rebecca started teaching and directing children when her own kids got into the act. She has directed and taught for Brewster Theater Company, Putnam Children’s Discovery Center, and coaches acting privately. Rebecca has enjoyed working as director with the amazingly creative and hard working students at Westchester Hebrew HS.

KATIE DE POTO

Katie De Poto is originally from Naugatuck, CT and now resides with her husband Anthony and daughter Cora in Milford, CT.  She graduated with her BA in Theatre Design from Western Connecticut State University in 2007.  She has been the set designer ofHeidi Chronicles and Blue Window Off-Broadway and Puppet Designer and Technician in Iphigenia which was also Off-Broadway.  Katie has also appeared in Romeo and Juliet in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007 as Katie Capulet.  She has worked with PCDC as an assistant director on numerous shows as well as a costume and make up designer.

Please note all acting classes are at other locations such as your school, church or synagogues.
Ask us about bringing a program to your location.
THE DISCOVERY CENTER IN MAHOPAC IS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON