Aaron Sorkin joins Kristin Chenoweth as guest lecturer for Oklahoma City University's new Master’s in Screen Acting program
Oscar winner and four-time Emmy Award winner Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network,” “The West Wing,” Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”) will join Tony- and Emmy Award-winning Oklahoma native Kristin Chenoweth (“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Wicked,” “Pushing Daisies”) to present guest lectures for the newly created Master’s in Screen Acting program from Oklahoma City University and London’s Academy of Live and Recorded Arts.
The two-year program will feature master classes led by industry professionals, including Sorkin and Chenoweth, an OCU alumna. As previously reported, the program, which will prepare graduates to work professionally in film, television and other recorded media, will begin in January 2021.
Year one of the program will start with hands-on learning in Los Angeles’ historic Culver City, including internship opportunities at L.A. film industry companies. During the second year of the program, students will study in London at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, according to a news release.
Students will learn how to develop, pitch and produce their own content and gain invaluable experience working alongside and networking with industry professionals - actors, directors, casting directors, agents, and producers - in both L.A. and London.
Applications are being accepted at this time. Details for submission of an audition and materials can be found at www.okcu.edu/mfa-screen-acting.
“I am so thrilled to have Aaron Sorkin join OCU’s invaluable Master’s in Screen Acting program,” Chenoweth said in a statement. “With his incredible success writing for stage, screen and television, I know he can provide students with his unique perspective on adapting to the very different skills required for each format.”
In a recent interview, Chenoweth talked with me about working this year through the coronavirus pandemic, which included shifting her master classes as OCU artist in residence to Zoom.
"It's been really hard for those of us who are live artists. I miss the audience. I miss that feeling. Zoom has been, obviously, a gift. … But Broadway is down, and we don't know when that's going to be (over). So, basically my family are out of work," Chenoweth said in our interview.
"The secret about when you give is that you get so much in return. Getting to be an adjunct professor with my alma mater, OCU, I'm doing that once a week, teaching with over 150 kids ... hearing them sing and teaching. It's important for me to let them know that I understand what it must feel like, to be like a horse at the gate and not being able to go. Think about graduating, think about being a freshman, I don't know what I would've done or what that would have been like. So, it's been me an opportunity to do a lot for Oklahoma and therefore receive such joy. I think that's the key during this pandemic is really being there for each other. ... Obviously, I want it to end but until we figure it out, I'll continue to operate this way."
Sorkin won the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA and Writer’s Guild Awards for “The Social Network” and received Academy Award nominations for his screenplays for “Molly’s Game” and “Moneyball.” His other films include “Steve Jobs” (which won a Golden Globe Award), “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “The American President,” “Malice” and “A Few Good Men.”
His television credits include “The West Wing” - which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for four consecutive seasons - where he previously crossed paths with Chenoweth.
Sorkin's other TV credits include “The Newsroom,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “Sports Night.” His Broadway credits include “A Few Good Men,” “The Farnworth Invention” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Chenoweth’s career spans film, television, voiceover and stage. She is an Emmy Award winner for “Pushing Daisies” and a Tony Award winner for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” She was also nominated for Tony Awards for “Wicked” and “On the Twentieth Century.” She has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award for her role on “Glee.” Along with "The West Wing," her additional television credits include “The Music Man,” “GCB,” “The Good Wife,” “Hairspray Live!” “Trial & Error,” “BoJack Horseman,” “A Christmas Love Story,” and “The Biggest Star in Appleton.” Her film credits include “Running with Scissors,” “Stranger than Fiction,” “The Pink Panther,” “RV,” “Hard Sell” and “The Witches.”
Additional guest speakers include Krystal Joy Brown, currently playing Eliza Hamilton in “Hamilton” on Broadway; Emma Ago, director of development at MadRiver Pictures; Austin Leshay, talent agent at Hyperion; Mark Morikawa, manager at MGMT Entertainment; Dia Frampton, recording artist and actress; Siena Oberman, producer at Artemis Pictures; Aaron Brown, manager at Avalon Management; Nora May, manager at 3 Arts Entertainment; McCrae Dunlap, manager of development at FanFare; Sean Woods, manager at Fourward; and Erin Dicker, producer at BrooklynWorks Films.
OCU has also partnered with Jesse|James Films, the production company headed by Jesse Murphy and James Sears Bryant. The university will work with the production entity to provide first-hand experiences for the students with industry professionals.