Acting Teaching Drama

Master Class

Yana Paskova for The New York Times. The actor Raúl Esparza, rear, with Elyse Beyer during a master class in New York.

If I was a musical theatre performer I would run, not walk, but run, to take a master class with Broadway performer Raúl Esparza. The master class can be a tricky animal, though. Just because someone is a great performer, a master, doesn’t mean they can teach. Nor should they. But what a great opportunity to learn from someone who does for a living, what you may be trying to achieve.

Have you ever taken a master class? I feel that these types of classes are most successful when they combine sharing and doing “” it should never be the “expert” talking the whole time. When I teach, I always include practical exercises because that’s how I excel as a learner. Sitting and listening only goes so far. It’s the doing, especially with such an active craft as the theatre, where learning becomes ingrained.

Do you have a favourite learning moment where you felt your skills taken to a whole new level? Or, do you have a least favourite moment where you felt the teacher did not create a positive learning environment? Share with us!

About the author

Lindsay Price


  • I spent an hour chatting with Raul back in 2001, when he was starring in “tick, tick…BOOM.”  He was supposed to speak to us about the craft of writing, but the conversation veered slightly…well, not so slightly…off course.  Let’s just say he told us about his deodorant of choice and what he wears (or doesn’t wear) to bed.  It was an interesting master class to say the least.  But I never get tired of watching him in Company.  The tip of his nose has a life of its own!

  • We recently watched the PBS show of Company. Totally agreed he’s amazing. It’s my favourite musical and I really live the 2006 version. Had the chance to see it live and have always regretted it.

  • I happened to catch it when I was in NY.  We couldn’t get into Letterman, so we got rush seating way up in the far reaches of the balcony.  It was terrific and I’m glad to have it on DVD to revisit again and again. I distinctly remember leaving the theatre and wondering what their Windex budget was.  Those plexi cubes were spotless.