Jun 29, 2009

Group of Rivals

One of the first controversies I covered at Back Stage West was the fraternal squabble among L.A.-based acolytes of Sanford Meisner for his coveted mantle. Everyone who ever trained with him at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, it seemed, was in L.A. claiming to teach the authentic "Meisner technique." I remember hearing convincing cases from William Alderson, John Ruskin, and Paul Kent, among others, that they were Sandy's true heirs--a claim complicated by the existence of Playhouse West, which had been founded by Neighborhood Playhouse grads, and then by the founding of the Sanford Meisner Theatre Center, featuring classes initially overseen, at least in part, by Meisner himself in his final years.

Along those lines, David Ng has an interesting update in the LA Times on a similar contretemps that has broken out between the East and West coast branches of the Stella Adler schools. Back when I used to write for Back Stage West, I would put a juicy story like this in the why-didn't-we-write-this file.

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