Meet the Winners of the Lee Strasberg NYCHA Acting Competition
On January 23, they walked through the red doors of the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Union Square for the chance to be trained by one of the best acting schools. And a few hours later, three NYCHA residents walked out of those red doors with full scholarships to two sessions of the Institute’s prestigious 12-week “method acting” program.
The winners of this year’s Lee Strasberg NYCHA Scholarship Competition are Elijah Morgan, 8, from La Guardia Houses (Youth), Maya Holtman, 15, from Straus Houses (Teen), and John Harper from Astoria Houses (Adult).
“It actually feels really good!” said Elijah Morgan, who performed a monologue called “Sharing.”
Mr. Morgan was one of 18 residents who interviewed and auditioned for judges from the Institute. Anna Strasberg, Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Institute and widow of Lee Strasberg, told the audience she looked forward to this event every year, adding, “you are all welcome here. Lee used to say, ‘Keep those doors open to talent!’”
Ms. Holtman, winner in the teen category, performed a monologue from the classic play “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov. Being an actress has always been her dream. Of winning she said, “I’m humbled and extremely thankful for such an opportunity. I hope I do this justice and make the most out of this opportunity.”
John Harper, winner in the adult category, showed off his musical abilities, too. He sang “Skid Row (Downtown)” from the musical Little Shop of Horrors along with performing a monologue called “Patience.”
Mr. Harper said “It was a euphoric feeling and it encourages me to keep pushing forward. I do music and now with acting, this will make me a greater artist overall.”
The Lee Strasberg Institute has partnered with NYCHA on resident scholarships since 1983. The competition is open to NYCHA and Section 8 residents at least 6 years old.