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LSTFI Alumni Creating Their Own Work

Many alumni from The Actor’s Studio and LSTFI have moved on to make incredible careers for themselves in the entertainment industry. Behind every success story, there is a unique trajectory. For many, this path has included writing, directing and the creation of original work. For example, Chazz Palminteri, lifetime member of the Actor’s Studio, kickstarted his career with a one-man show he wrote and starred in called The Bronx Play in 1989. He later adapted it into his award-winning film The Bronx Tale.

Here are some film projects by recent LSTFI alumni and the origin stories behind them!

Adventures of Lola and Dallas

Directed by: Daniel Sorochkin

Screenplay by: LSTFI alumna, Alessandra Mesa

With characters developed by LSTFI alumni Alessandra Mesa and John DiMiono, “Adventures of Lola and Dallas” is a short film that revolves around an unusual pair on the run, who are forced to find solace in each other when home is no longer an option.

“The conception of these characters happened through an acting group I was a part of. In this group we created character-driven improvised scenes. The creation and back story for these characters came out of a few weeks of exercises with these characters. The physicality for both characters were based on real people.”

Alessandra Mesa, LSTFI alumna

“Working with Ale and John was such a fun and professional experience. They were committed to rehearsals and to finding real moments. I appreciate how much they trusted me. They listened to my suggestions, and took them in, then were able to enhance those suggestions and give them a sense of unpredictability that was pure gold. With every single rehearsal or take they added something fresh and powerful to their characters. Their focus as actors was also very impressive. It was very easy for them to go into their characters in rehearsal or on set immediately. They have the ability to go into the most dramatic, vulnerable, emotional moments fast.”

Daniel Sorochkin, Director of “Adventures of Lola and Dallas”


The Disenchantment of a Young Adult and a Wild Child

Directed by: Caryn Waechter and Hannah Roze

Written by: Hannah Roze and Shannon Spangler

Co- produced, wrote, and starred in by LSTFI alumni Hannah Roze and Shannon Spangler, “The Disenchantment of a Young Adult and a Wild Child” is a film about two sisters growing up…or not. When Hazel runs away, into Prague’s wintry dizzying fairytale-esque nightlife, Rachel finds her. But the euphoria of their rekindled sisterhood shatters as the two talk…

“My teacher [at LSTFI] Geoffrey Horne said to me, ’Everything you hate about yourself… every embarrassing trait you are covering up, is what makes you unique, human, and unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. These things will make you, not break you.’ …I sat down and wrote… a fictional confrontation of those inner monsters. I made my monsters into girls. Two girls: Rachel and Hazel. In confronting each other, they confront the questions: ‘Who are we?’  and ‘How do we become that way?'”

Hannah Roze, LSTFI alumna

“Both Hannah and I were at Strasberg from August of 2012 – December of 2013. We graduated from NYU in May of 2014. We’ve been best friends since then, and began working on this project immediately after graduation…it took us about two years to write and then we began making it… We made the whole thing with the mission to empower women — both through the content of the script and the professionals we chose to help make it. Every member of our 18-person crew was a female”

Shannon Spangler, LSTFI alumna

Learn more about this project at: www.thedisenchantment.com


Tall Order

Written by: Lauren Mui, Drita Kabashi, and Jessica-Brittany Smith

About the Series:

The show takes place in a bar/ restaurant in the Upper West Side— one in which costumers have a lot of money. The show follows the story of three best friends working at said restaurant. There are seven episodes … each addressing a different “social construct” that we attempt to dismantle through humor. This includes racism, spirituality and ritual, the re-appropriation of subjecting language (“bitch” etc.), male-female relationships, and so on.  The show is episodic so it does not have a strict narrative arc, the passage of time in fluid (as in life). There are moments of surrealism, ones that are heightened for comedic value, but for the most part the show attempts to stick to a stark realism. Needless to say most of the scenes are drawn directly from true events.

The Team:

Lauren Mui (Writer, Actor and LSTFI Alum) wrote her first short play in January for Artist’s Sandbox, which has since gone up twice, and presently working on it’s third run, along with her newest play, THREE BITCHES, as a part of the NY Winterfest Festival, for more visit laurenmui.com.

Drita Kabashi (Writer, Actor and LSTFI Alum) since graduating from Tisch has been developing an actor driven, improv based work that has received the Habitat Grant that will be going up in late April. Aside from aiding in the development of new works, Drita has done various theatre, film, TV, and commercial projects (see also: dritakabashi.com.)

Jessica-Brittany Smith (Writer, Actor) since graduating found herself as a member of Watermill International, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and most recently directed her first piece at Columbia University, check jessicabrittanysmith.com.

“Restaurant workers are not unionized and therefore most service industry jobs are cesspools of exploitation. That is exacerbated when you are a female employee. The restaurant system feeds into an American consumerist model in which as long as a costumer pays for a service, they are not obligated to view the person providing the service as a human being. This show deals with the working class citizen. How do they maintain their sanity in the face of discrimination, in a subservient position?”

Drita Kabashi, LSTFI alumna
Winter 202111/1 Update: Online

The Lee Strasberg Institute announces that Winter 2021 term classes will begin with fully online instruction, per State & Local guidance.

Click here for Winter online classes in New York City. | Click here for Winter online classes for Los Angeles.

The Institute is also offering new short-term online only classes. See Online Acting

Please note that the State of California color-coded reopening system does not permit any in-person instruction until the County is at least in the red tier (25% capacity). Los Angeles remains in purple.