Master Artists - Theater

YoungArts’ master artists are some of the most distinguished and accomplished artists in their fields. These master artists support YoungArts’ mission to cultivate and inspire the next generation of artists by graciously lending their time and expertise to work with YoungArts participants in each of our ten disciplines.  Spending time with these master artists in an intimate setting, YoungArts participants come away with inspiring and life-changing experiences.

YoungArts master artists serve in a wide variety of capacities: as discipline coordinators, national reviewers, selection panelists, master teachers, editors and curators.  These master artists, each at different points in their careers and with unique perspectives on their art form, represent the myriad of versions of what it means to be a successful artist, and have helped many students understand what it takes to make a career and find fulfillment in the arts.

SELECT MASTER ARTISTS IN THEATER

Jonathan Groff | Jonathan Groff is an American actor and singer. At the age of 22, Groff received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Melchior Gabor in the Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening. He also portrayed the role of Claude in the critically acclaimed revival of Hair. Regularly seen on the off-Broadway stage, Groff has won an Obie Award for star­ring in two of Craig Lucas’s plays, Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forest. He made his West End debut in the revival of the play Deathtrap opposite Simon Russell Beale. He also starred in the two-man play Red alongside Alfred Molina. In 2013, Groff starred in the first-ever screen adaptation of author David Sedaris’s work, C.O.G., in which he portrayed a character based on Sedaris himself, and as the voice of Kristoff in Frozen. On television, Groff portrayed the recurring role of Jesse St. James in the Fox series Glee, and from 2014 to 2015, he starred as Patrick Murray in the HBO series Looking.

Neil Patrick Harris | Neil Patrick Harris is an American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian, magician, singer, and television host. His television roles include playing Barney Stinson in the television comedy series How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014), for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards, and for his teenage role as the title character in Doogie Howser, M.D. In 2014, he starred in the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, for which he won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Harris was named as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010.

Debi Mazar | Debi Mazar is an acclaimed actress who made her feature-film debut in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Her onscreen work includes films with legendary directors Woody Allen, Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and Joel Schumacher. She also starred in her own television sitcom, Temporarily Yours and in the HBO series Entourage.

Tarell McCraney | 1999 YoungArts Winner in Theater | Award-winning playwright Tarell McCraney is best known for his acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays: The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet. He is currently a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects.

Michael McElroy | 1985 YoungArts winner in Theater | Actor Michael McElroy has appeared in numerous on and off-Broadway productions, including RentViolet and Next To Normal. Michael was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Big River and was also nominated for Drama Desk Awards for Violet and Big River. Founder and director of Broadway Inspirational Voices, he also received a Grammy nomination for their first album Great Joy!, and has performed with Mariah Carey, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Elton John and Sting. Michael earned his BFA in Theater from Carnegie Mellon University and is the head of Vocal Performance in the New Studio on Broadway at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. 

Brian "Stokes" Mitchell | Stage, Film, and Television Actor, Composer, Vocalist, and Producer. Brian "Stokes" Mitchell celebrates 35 years as a Tony-award winning star of stage and screen (Ragtime, Glee, Prince of Egypt...). He's performed with the country's best orchestras and conductors from Carnegie Hall to the White House and has recorded over 20 albums including his latest, Simply Broadway. Additional recent television credits include Madam Secretary and Mr. Robot.

Andrew Rannells | 1997 YoungArts winner in Theater | Rannells is perhaps best known for his role as "Elijah" on the hit HBO series Girls and for his work on the NBC series The New Normal. Prior to working in television, Rannells originated the role of Elder Price in the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon, for which he won a Grammy Award and was nominated for both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award. He also appeared on Broadway in HairsprayJersey Boys and most recently as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Rannells will also be seen in the upcoming season of Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick on Cinemax and in Nancy Meyer’s upcoming film, The Intern. Rannells is a native of Omaha, Nebraska.

Anthony Rapp | Rapp is best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the hit musical Rent, a role he also played in the movie version of the musical. He also starred as the title character in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and returned to Broadway in 2014 in the new musical If/Then opposite former co-star Idina Menzel.

Joan Scheckel | Interdisciplinary Master Teacher | Joan Scheckel is a producer, director, writer, photographer and teacher. She is the founder of JSFL and the creator of "The Technique", a groundbreaking approach to writing, directing and acting craft known throughout Hollywood and the international film world as the crucial force behind the most exciting film and television being made today. Joan's Filmmaking Labs have fostered 80 released projects, 71 of which came to the Labs without financing or finished scripts. To date, they have earned over 700 award nominations and over 400 wins, including major nods at the Emmys and Oscars. Her credits include Emmy Award-winning Transparent (Consulting Producer); Academy Award-winning Beginners (Executive Producer); Academy Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine; Spirit Award Winning "Anvil:The Story of Anvil"; Mark Ruffalo's Sundance Award-winning Sympathy For Delicious; Jill Soloway's Sundance Award-winning Afternoon Delight and many more. With her reputation as a master of film and episodic craft firmly established, Joan believes passionately in the power of story.

Zuzanna Szadkowski | 1997 YoungArts winner in Theater and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts | Zuzanna Szadkowski played Dorota in the CW’s hit drama series Gossip Girl and was voted #7 in Rolling Stone’s “50 Reasons to Watch TV.” She can be seen as Nurse Pell on the Cinemax series from Steven Soderbergh, The Knick and the fourth season of HBO’s Girls as Priya. Her other television credits include ElementaryGuiding LightThe SopranosLaw and Order, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Her film credits include Growing up and Other Lies and Butterflies of Bill Baker. Zuzanna appeared in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore off-Broadway and on tour. Her other theater credits include Olly’s Prison at A.R.T., directed by Robert Woodruff, and Spring Awakening in Moscow. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the A.R.T./MXAT Institute at Harvard in 2005.

Marisa Tomei | Marisa Tomei has an extensive film career that consists of an incredible range of roles. Numerous accolades include the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (My Cousin Vinny) and numerous year-end critics’ awards, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations for In the Bedroom and The Wrestler. Other recent films include Crazy, Stupid, Love and Parental Guidance.

Kathleen Turner | Turner has appeared in over 25 notable films, including Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, Prizzi's Honor and Peggy Sue Got Married, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Turner also works actively in the theater and was nominated for Tony Awards for Cat On a Hot Tin Roof and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

Kerry Washington | 1994 YoungArts winner in Theater | Washington has received high acclaim for her work on stage, on television and on film. Washington debuted in 2000 in the highly acclaimed independent film Our Song and later in the film Save the Last Dance, for which she received a Teen Choice Award for Best Breakout Performance. In 2004, Washington starred alongside Jamie Foxx in the Academy Award nominated hit Ray, and her performance earned her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. Washington has also received NAACP Image Award nominations for her performances in The Last King of Scotland and Night Catches Us. In 2010, Washington made her Broadway debut in David Mamet’s Race. Washington currently stars in the hit ABC drama Scandal, and in 2013, earned her first primetime Emmy award nomination for her portrayal of Olivia Pope.  

YoungArts would also like to thank our extraordinary group of discipline coordinators, national reviewers and selection panelists in the Theater discipline.