Anthony Abeson was the first man to inform me that I was funny. This news was bittersweet considering the information came just as I exited, having performed Chekov. I came off stage and I said, “they’re laughing at me.” And he said, “I know. They were….” Awkward silence. “Jennifer, let me tell you something: you’re funny.” Offended, I replied, “I’m not funny, I’m a serious actress.” And he said, “No, no, this is not a bad thing. Go with it. We love funny. Just understand that you can’t use that as a crutch when you need to go deep.” So all these years later, I guess you could say, Anthony Abeson sent me on my path because his words, to this day, resonate in me and in my work. My instinct was to find the funny. He steered me by understanding what was inside of me before I could, and how comedy can be deepened by a dramatic moment and drama can be enhanced by a comedic approach. They’re intermingled; that’s life. Anthony helps his actors find the honesty in every moment. So for any actor to just have a moment with Anthony or a class with him, or by luck, have his words to read and reread, one will be twice or three times the actor for it.
All my love and support,
(Lost, The Vampire Diairies)
There are very few people in one's life that make a profound difference whether it be from tutelage or just friendly advice. Mr Abeson gave me both. Learning and applying what is learned are two vastly different things; it takes the right teacher to offer a way in which to easily bridge the two while staying emotionally connected to whatever you find yourself doing in a professional situation on screen or stage. The way in which Anthony Abeson teaches is like no other- you are his equal, although he's going to know more than you at this point so close your mouth and listen... He's also the only man I've met whom can drop a Stanislavky quote in reference to a scene in a tv pilot and make it sound so utterly simple, making absolute sense while simultaneously making it usable to a scattered, young, and struggling actor. I think about him and use his methods constantly in my work and have a life-long appreciation for his unique teaching style, Buddha-Like patience and understanding. Those looking for guidance in order to make sense of this crazy business should listen to this man...
By making actors better at what they do from his studio to the stage and on the screen, Anthony Abeson's contribution to the world of Theater and Film should be appreciated and respected by all who reap the benefits of emotionally connected and moving performances by his former and future actors. teacher but more importantly, you can feel how deeply he roots for the success of every actor in the room. He is truly one of a kind.
(Ordinary Joe, Watchmen, Tell Me a Story, Goliath, Zoo, Mad Men, The Crazy Ones)
I was fortunate enough to be told about Anthony Abeson and smart enough to seek out his class the year after college, and his work forever changed my life. His words hold a boundless amount of wisdom and the language in which he speaks is so understandable and relatable that an actor can’t help but flourish and deepen their work just by talking with Anthony, sitting in his class, and now, by reading his book.
The other benefit (in addition to sharpening my tools and learning my craft as an actor) I accrued from studying with Anthony was uncovering my deeper purpose for pursuing the craft and learning to be proud of calling myself an actor. His love and reverence of acting is so contagious that you can feel it down in your soul.
If you are looking for deeper meaning in your work then look no further. I became truly alive as an actor after studying with Anthony, and I am forever grateful to him for this.
(Bumblebee, Jupiter's Legacy, Chasing Life, Zoo)
Anthony’s class took everything I have experienced (and quite frankly loathed) about acting classes and turned it on its head. The time I spent in his class made me remember why I loved to act. He demonstrates a perfect balance between educating you on the fundamental techniques in an engaging way, while reminding us that our job is simply to play and how damn lucky we are to use that skill set every day. During class, reality is suspended as you move from scene study to spur of the moment gibberish improvs to line by line breakdowns of pivotal scenes. Anthony is an incredibly gifted teacher but more importantly, you can feel how deeply he roots for the success of every actor in the room. He is truly one of a kind.
(500 Days of Summer, Witches of East End, The Ex List, In Plain Sight, American Dreams)
Here's to all the amazing artistic souls you touch each day with your heart and work! Can't wait to read your book!
Anthony Abeson is a true deep sea diver into the human soul. I met Anthony when I first moved to New York City from a mountain in Tennessee at 17. I was in this giant city with a southern accent and a subway map and was led to a class that dramatically shaped my life. From the very first day, Anthony inspired me to trust my heart and instincts. In a world that encourages and rewards the external and material, Anthony remains true to the internal and intangible. With compassion, humor, and humanity, he sets up an environment where you are safe to break down walls and find your truth. He teaches it and lives it and his teachings and life lessons are with me on every set and every step of the way.
(Good Girls, Mike and Molly)
Anthony Abeson's effect on my life and career has been profound. If you study with Mr. Abeson, you are not only becoming a versatile actor-- you become a student of the history of the craft.
And as an actor you constantly challenge yourself to stay in the moment, think real thoughts and be private in public. "Your talent is in your choices," if you choose Mr. Abeson, you choose freedom and success. He is the last bastion of hope for the American actor. I am forever a disciple.
(Cloak and Dagger, Revenge, Greek)
Anthony was my first acting teacher. His passion & respect for the craft always shone through in class. Anthony taught me to always have respect for the work & challenged me to find the life & humanity behind the words. He challenged me to always make specific choices.
I can’t express enough how fortunate I was to find a teacher & mentor who taught me what it is to raise my work, especially in a world where what we try to achieve as story tellers is mostly overshadowed by frivolity.
(The Carrie Diaires)
Guidance and Discipline. While one requires a lot more dedication on the part of the individual, outside influences play a major role in the advancement of said individual’s career. Throughout my life, I have been blessed with the privilege of a mentor - someone to see the potential within and believe adamantly in my ability to reach the full of it. In 2010, this wise instructor came in the form of an infinitely knowledgeable, astoundingly articulate, remarkably comprehensive silver fox named Anthony Abeson. From the moment we started working together in a private audition, I could sense his passion for and vehement dedication to the craft of acting, and, the actor. In an age when the industry is getting lost in “What’s Hot and What’s Not”, Anthony is the beacon that draws us back to a safe place of compassion and human understanding. That is, after all, the objective. An actor’s goal is to increase the humanity of the audience by virtue of his own humanity (Abeson). What better way to instruct young actors in the art of human expression than to lead by example? Anthony provides a nurturing atmosphere where actors can forge on through their work fearlessly because they know the “classroom” is void of judgment. He engages fully and invests himself wholeheartedly in the work of his pupils. Behind the scenes, he is an advisor as well. It’s not just in a class setting or in a private coaching session that he’s focusing his energies on his students. I’ve sought Anthony’s help a number of times for audition preparation or career counseling or just plain life advice, and he’s never made me feel I wasn’t worthy of his time; And might I add, a moment of his time is sought by many. He has always made himself available and accessible to all of his students. I’m blessed to have Anthony’s guidance. It has certainly been a determining factor in the fruition of my recent success, and it is comforting to know I’ve got Anthony Abeson in my corner ready, willing, and able to oust any oh-so-insidious doubt.
(Powerbook II: Ghost, The Fosters, Rescue Me, In Treatment, Gossip Girl)
Anthony Abeson is my secret weapon. Working with him has raised my game in ways inumerable. I don't walk onto a set or into an audition room without his principles guiding me, and I am a stronger actor for being his student.
I was nervous as I handed Anthony my headshot and resume when I came to his cozy little studio to audition for his class. "How much did you pay for these head shots?" he asked. I told him proudly that they were free. He chuckled and said, "Well you get what you pay for."
He took a moment to read my resume, looked down his nose over his glasses and said "you've got no acting experience." He took a deep breath, shook his head and had me perform my monologue. Awkward headshot and skimpy resume aside, he saw something in me and allowed me to start his class the next week. After a month or so, it became clear to me that my retail job and good attitude weren't enough to help me pay for classes. I was discouraged as I told Anthony I couldn't afford to come to class any longer. "You need to be in class," he said as if he hadn't heard me, and in the first act of generosity I'd seen out of a New Yorker since I moved from Indiana, he put me on a tab. It's this combination of no bullshit and generosity that make Anthony such an extraordinary human being and acting coach.
Anthony has a "no recipes" approach to acting and over the course of two years I watched him pull from his eclectic and wide reserve of knowledge to create coaching that is catered to each student based on their needs and ability. He can also dole out tough love.
Once during a ridiculously theatrical exercise I made the mistake of saying "I can't do this." So he told me to sit down. That stung a bit. There was no coddling or coercing. I could either sit and watch all my classmates do the exercise or suck it up and be willing to make a fool of myself to allow him to teach me. Because “if Spielberg asked you to do it, you’d do it," he'd say. There is no "I can't" or "I don't do that" with Anthony because "we have the universe inside us." I came into class afraid of my own anger and in the end he had me screaming at the top of my lungs, not for the sake of volume but for what that volume permitted. "Because," he said, “it can lead to a deeper connection to the words. To be connected to the words is to do the words justice.” Because, as he teaches, “we have no right to speak for our characters if we don't know and believe what we are saying.” Anthony is a protector of the art of acting and encourages his actors to act with integrity. "What are you gonna bring into the room," he asked us, “your bad self with your good hair?"
Anthony is a nurturer. He can be firm but he's also a champion of the vulnerable actor on stage. "Protect the moths; the delicate intricacies of your talent." You'll never see a person pay more attention to another human being than Anthony Abeson does an actor on stage. It's fascinating. His whole body is listening and absorbing the performance. He gives you 100% of himself.
He demands that everyone in the room give the performing actor the same. He feels with us and for us, and is proud of us when we succeed. He is offering a gentle hand to pull the "caged bird" from inside us. I've watched it time and time again with myself and my classmates. People grow in Anthony's class. They bare places in themselves they never knew existed because inside those walls of that little old theatre and in his gifted hands we are safe.
My time in Abeson's class has been such an important part of my life- not just as an actor but as a person. He introduced me to parts of myself I didn't know or didn't want to know. But after Anthony's gentle and sometimes not so gentle encouragement, I discovered new places in my instrument. And for that I am a richer, more complex, more honest human being and therefore a better actor with more places within myself to visit.
I'm so excited that he's written this book. I love that there might be another girl with a dream from small town Indiana who will have access to the words of this wise old wizard of a man!
(P-Valley, Dynasty, Power)
I’ve been working with Anthony for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve seen him completely transform students in class. With something as simple as a suggestion, he brings out powerful performances of his actors. In his class, I had a safe space to play and explore my creativity. Implementing what I’ve learned from my work with Anthony has made me a stronger actor, always seeking what he calls “the interesting truth”.
JUSTIN MARCEL MCMANUS
(Powerbook II: Ghost, Star)
I remember my first time sitting in Anthony's class to audit. Even though I had never taken an acting class before, I knew it was special. I felt so inexperienced and had no idea what I was doing and even questioned whether I belonged there.
Needless to say, Anthony assured me I belonged there, and for the next couple years, I didn't miss a class. Anthony has a way of making you better. He is like a magician; he simply sees things in a special way and gets you to a place in your work that feels right for you. To this day, I still can hear Anthony's voice in my head during auditions, on set, and when I'm working on material at home. He will always be a foundation for me in my work.
I don't think I will ever find a replacement for Anthony. He is a passionate student of the craft with an unmatched dedication to his students and a love for acting.
(L.A.'s Finest, Dynasty, All My Children)
Anthony Abeson taught me everything I know about the craft of acting & the dedication and work ethic required to succeed. I constantly hear his words & wisdom in my head whilst preparing material and on set, and it's both comforting and empowering.
In his classes, Mr. Abeson always pushed us out of our comfort zones. He helped us to understand that stepping out of our known, safe reality & into the magical unknown of our imaginations might feel “scary” at first, but it’s also a great way to surprise both ourselves and our audience; to grow, and to let go of the fear that’s holding us back from realizing our full potential as storytellers.
He taught me to never limit myself to typecast long term, and to always understand the power of a grounded, yet unexpected acting choice.
He also taught me the power of “play”, and that when we as actors allow ourselves to truly have fun, others will have more fun watching us.
I was hustling in New York with no training for years, feeling good about myself, until I hit my roof and couldn’t break through it. I didn’t trust any acting coaches because after all of that time teaching myself through trial and error I didn’t want someone to confuse me with what’s “right” on paper. Finally, after 10 different people recommended Anthony I decided to audit a class to see what he was all about, and it took no time for me to realize that his expertise and way of thinking was exactly what I was looking for.
(Broadway: Next to Normal, Rent, Peter and the Starcatcher; Film: The Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn)
In an art form so personal and so often mystifying, Anthony's approach cuts through the fog with clarity, sensitivity, richness, and options. His exercises are meant to empower the actor with confidence in the boundlessness of one's own imagination. If we're lucky, a modicum of his curiosity, generosity, playfulness and passion will rub off on readers like me.
(The Baker and the Beauty, Being Mary Jane, The Division, E.R., Third Watch)
My years studying with Anthony Abeson have been some of the most exciting and educational times in my career. He truly has a way of reaching an actor's inner thought process that proves to be a handy tool in creating the moments and experiences needed to develop a character. Anthony Abeson creates a blackboard for the actor to use as a beginning to the life of a character.
(9-1-1 Lonestar, The L-Word: Generation Q, Queen Sugar)
Anthony Abeson is an absolute gift. A masterful teacher and mentor who not only provides you with tools to book work, but he fosters in you a deep sense of trust in your instrument and creativity.
When I began working with Anthony I was struggling with how to apply my theatre based crafting process into auditions for TV and film. It was so hard for me to connect when so much of the script and story was unavailable. I thought it would take months to figure out, but within minutes of working together, I was able to drop in and deliver a truthful, electrified performance with half a page of script.
Throughout my time in class he deepened my understanding of the mechanics and rhythm of television and film writing and I learned how to pull critical information from the page and build the world, relationships and situation I needed to come to life in the room.
He creates an environment in his classes that makes artists feel safe and valuable while pushing us to dig deeper into our wells of creativity, practice the skills to channel our impulses, and stretch into roles and projects that are at the edge of our comfort zone.
He also reminded me of the legacy and honor in being an actor. He made sure to connect us to the history of the art and profession while preparing us for the present and what may lay ahead.
My work with Anthony gave me a deeper appreciation for the work, practical tools to unlock my imagination when faced with challenging or limited material and most importantly confidence in my instincts and voice as an artist. For that I'll be forever grateful and recommend any actor to study with him.
(Mad Men, Hart of Dixie, The Social Network)
Working with Anthony has been a pleasure right from the start. He has an abundance of knowledge that comes from a life of experience, a strict work ethic, and a sense of humor that makes for an excellent mentor. In the classroom, he is a captivating lecturer. But he won’t stop there. Class is active from the start, with improvisational work alongside other materials to be prepared. He makes sure to select actors he feels have ambition and talent, so your partner is bound to help you grow, and they constantly change.
Somehow he manages to give every actor an individual experience, and it is always a positive one, even when we aren’t at our best. And there is a positive and realistic motivation: “Do work that gets work.” Private coaching sessions are always beneficial. He quickly finds the heart of it, and lets the actors’ discovery be their own. Anthony is one of the greatest teachers and persons I have ever had the honor of knowing, and I would recommend him to anyone.
(Dallas, The Walking Dead, Final Destination 5, Life Inside Out, Bedford Diaries, Gracie)
Anthony made me want to act again. After going through many acting programs which beat one particular method into me, I began to feel restrictions around my art. I started resenting the process of getting into character. When I joined Anthony though, he made it very clear that 'what every way works for you, works for you.' He gave me the tools from all different methods and allowed me to pick which one worked the best for me. He is the greatest teacher and mentor anyone could ask for.
(Future Man, American Koko, Mind Games, 10,000 Days)
I am so glad I met Anthony. He has given me a new approach to sides! One thing he said that I always keep in my mind is that sides reflect different sides of the character.
Anthony has a way of getting one to be available in both subtle and extreme ways. Fleshing out has been my saving grace in auditions.
Anthony really really loves doing this and I think he makes every student feel like they are first priority.
(The Society, Madam Secretary)
There are not enough words in my vocabulary (or possibly even in the dictionary) to fully express how Anthony Abeson's class changed not only my journey as an actor but as a human being. I apply his teachings to every job and audition that comes my way and I often find myself sharing his approach with others in my every day life. After all, we are "not actors saying a line but people having an experience." I cannot give this man enough praise. I was never someone who particularly enjoyed being in an acting class. In fact, I hated it and would find every excuse not to go. But then I found Anthony's class and everything changed. I would sit in the back of the room and just watch in complete awe and admiration. He is the kind of teacher that can transform a performance in a matter of seconds by simply making a suggestion. He has the natural and powerful ability as an educator to set a fire within an actor's soul. His deep respect for the art form and his students is simply unparalleled. He believes that actors are "athletes of the heart and can reflect and reveal the human condition. Therefore humanizing, teaching, moving and inspiring us for the rest of our lives." I believe that also is very fitting description for Anthony Abeson.