As the daughter of two acting teachers, it’s no surprise that Shay is who she is. At age 14, Shay caught the “acting bug” when asked to fill Julia Garner’s role in Anthony’s production of “The Travel Dance”. Throughout rehearsals, Shay would ask her father, “Dad. Am I talented?” “I don’t know yet”, he would reply. Little did he know he would hear his daughter drop her first accidental F- bomb on stage the next night. “I cursed! I’m so sorry!”, she said. “NO! YOU HAD AN IMPULSE!”, he replied proudly. And thus, Shay’s acting impulse was discovered.
After graduating from The Professional Children’s School, Shay decided to forego college and get to work. After landing a few commercials and TV roles, she completed her first feature film, sending her to Sundance Film Festival 2018. During this time, Shay also completed her 2 years of study at Anthony’s studio, culminating in a self- written 18-piece showcase. Pre-pandemic, Shay completed 5 years as a teaching artist for Wingspan Arts, fulfilling her passion for fostering creativity in children. Over the pandemic, Shay worked remotely as the head of enrollment for Shanelle Gray Studios (based in Los Angeles), learning what it takes to be an administrator and business owner. Now, Shay is excited to combine her passions and join the family business.
Meet The Summer Intensive Faculty
DANCE / THEATER - JENNIFER GRUENER
Jennifer Gruener made her broadway debut in Ivo Van Hove’s new West Side Story as Pauline and the understudy for Anybodys. Other NYC credits include Eurydice at the Metropolitan Opera, I Married An Angel at New York City Center and Trip of Love off broadway. She has also danced on Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, and on the I Heart Radio Music Awards with Camilla Cabello. She is a graduate of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.
COMMERCIAL - SAMANTHA JANE TILTON
Samantha Jane Tilton has worked for many casting houses and studios from New York to LA including: Donna Grossman, Stacy Gallo, Bess Fifer, Paladino, Grande Morris, Beth Melsky, Envision Studios, Endeavor Studios, Actors Connection, Three Of Us, One on One and more. Sammy works in film, TV and commercials. Commercial clients include big brands such as Burger King, Levi's, Cadillac, Disney, Crest, Pepsi and Verizon. TV credits include shows such as The USA network's “The Purge” as well as multiple Nickelodeon shows. Film projects include Director Jason Reitman's 'Front Runner' starring Hugh Jackman as well as “Stronger”, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Director David Gordon Green.
Sammy says, “I love being able to help fellow actors. I understand actors because I am one, so I'm able to be supportive and create a safe, open, and fun environment. Working as a freelance casting director has put me in a unique position to help actors from both sides.The knowledge and experience I've had enables me to share 'the real deal' so to speak so I can help actors get out of their own way, move past barriers and focus on what really matters. Acting should be fun and I love helping actors find that joy again, all while learning and becoming better actors and creatives, for themselves and within the business.”
ON CAMERA ACTING - LUNA TIEU
So, how does a former NCAA Tennis Player with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy end up in the entertainment industry?
Conan the Destroyer. Yes, the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
As a kid, I couldn't get enough of the magic, sorcery, and sword-fighting. Fast-forward to two college diplomas (funny enough, Arnold was the "Governator" at the time and signed my college diploma), a Masters Degree, and a Social Work career later, I ended up fulfilling my childhood dream of being an actor. Sometimes, the child in us had it right the first time and as adults, we forget to dream.
One fateful day while working at the Cheesecake Factory, I happened to drop off a Chinese Chicken Salad for an agent, who gave me the best piece of career advice: study with Anthony Abeson. I found him, joined his class, and never wanted to leave. Before I knew it, I had the honor of sharing the screen with Susan Sarandon (Ace the Case: Manhattan Mystery), Naomi Watts (Gypsy), Aidan Quinn (Elementary), and Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods). This past summer, I joined the DC Comics Universe in a recurring role on Stargirl.
IMPROV - NATALIE ORTEGA
Natalie Ortega is a New York based actor, writer, and musician whose credits include the final season of "Search Party" on HBO Max and a role in the upcoming feature film "Maybe I Do" opposite Susan Sarandon. She trained in sketch writing and improv at UCB and can be seen performing live standup and musical comedy at several comedy venues across the city. She produces and hosts a monthly stand up show at The Stand Comedy Club which you should totally come check out! In the meantime, you can watch her (very convincingly) impersonate her Italian mother on Instagram and Tik Tok.
ACTION ON FILM - CELIA AU
Born in HK and raised in NYC, Celia Au is an Actress/Producer who believes that the power of storytelling can change one's perception by showing the audience what it's like walking in someone's shoes. Au can be seen in shows on Netflix, AMC, NBC, etc and her latest film In A New York Minute will be available on VOD May 3rd. Currently, Au is working with the Hearst Media Production Group and NBC to develop a show where they are using food as a cultural bridge to showcase PoC's stories in America. In addition to acting, Au’s been an active and outspoken member of the community in fighting injustice and supporting people of color. She’s been invited to speak on a number of topics affecting the PoC community at a number of events and companies, including at Goldman Sachs, IPG Group, AEG Studios, Wash The Hate, Act To
Change (501c3) and others. In 2020 and 2021 Au was named the "Ambassador of Hope" at the Rise Above The Storm Gala.
VOICE - SABINA PETRA
Sabina Petra is a Dutch American actor, singer, composer, writer and teacher. She has been teaching voice for the last 15 years in both the Netherlands and the United States.
Favorite theatre credits include: Into The Woods, Steel Magnolias, The Tempest, Sweeney Todd, The Crucible (Wolfbane Productions), Billy Elliot (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Convicted (Broadway Bound Festival), Onward Victoria! at Feinstein’s @ 54 Below, the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts), Working Theatre’s production of The Ballad of Ella May Wiggins, and Forest Boy (NYMF). She is currently in the process of producing her new musical Mercury and writing two new works, as well as finishing her scripted series Ether.
www.sabinapetra.com @sabinapetra @mercurythemusical
MUSICAL THEATER - ALEC NEVIN
Alec Nevin is thrilled to be teaching at the Abeson Summer Intensive! From an early age, Alec has spent his life acting and singing on stage. Recently he starred as Calogero in the Broadway national tour of A Bronx Tale.
Select theatre: XANADU, RENT, Grease, and Some Girl(s).
Tv: Drowning in Secrets (Lifetime).