New York City is where the Broadway’s at. If you’re an aspiring actor, when you think “New York,” you don’t think “Yankees” – you think theatre, musicals, stars, acting, songs, glamour, success, and Broadway. New York City is where acting training has received its roots in the US, so it’s only natural for us to now list all the best drama schools in New York.
While some of these acting programs might be better than others in one way or another, or more popular, or have produced more successful A-list actors, we strongly consider all of them to be great candidates for anybody who is looking for strong acting training foundation.
For additional details and which acting program might be more suitable for you personally, or which best drama schools in New York will open more doors for you, we advise you to visit their website and do some of your own research, too. This list of best drama schools in New York City is in no particular order.
Top 10 Best Drama Schools in New York
The Juilliard School
It’s only fair to begin the list of best drama schools in New York with one of the most popular acting schools in the world, and that’s Julliard. Founded in 1905, The Julliard School’s aim is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world, so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens.
Notable alumni: Viola Davis, Anthony Mackie, Kelsey Grammer, Robin Williams, Jessica Chastain, Kevin Spacey
Location: 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Tisch School of the Arts
Another great contender on the list of best drama schools in New York City is the well-known to Americans Tisch School of the Arts. This school’s drama department was founded in 1974, and they specialize in rigorous conservatory training in theater and film in the context of a great research university. The school quickly established itself as one of the leading arts schools in the country, creating additional departments of dance, theater design and lighting, and cinema studies within a few short years.
Notable alumni: Joel Coen, Billy Crystal, Michael Arndt, Bridget Fonda, Charles Kaufman, Martin Scorsese
Location: 721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Actors Studio at Pace
Famous through their Inside the Actors Studio talk shows with Dean James Lipton, Actors Studio at Pace is yet another one for you to consider from our list of best drama schools in New York. This drama school is the only MFA program officially sanctioned and supervised by the legendary Actors Studio, and it is the only school that offers the authenticity, continuity and authority of the Stanislavski System and the Method. Their curriculum has been designed and supervised by the leadership of the Actors Studio, including the Presidents of the Actors Studio: Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino.
Notable alumni: Bradley Cooper, Austin Basis, Eisa Davis, Chris Stack, Jason Odell Williams
Location: 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038
William Esper Studio
A more private institution and a shorter, 2-year Meisner program with William Esper is as good as any acting program can get, which is why they are part of our list of best drama schools in New York – it’s absolutely worth exploring, if you can get accepted. Thi studio was founded in 1965, and is dedicated to the work of Sanford Meisner and William Esper, Sandy’s disciple, and the proposition that acting is a creative art and true excellence in its practice may only be achieved through total mastery of technical craft.
Notable alumni: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Rockwell, Amy Schumer, Larry David, Aaron Eckhart, David Morse
Location: 208 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts
A famous institution is not only one of the best drama schools in New York, but they also have an acting program on the West Coast, in Los Angeles. The Academy was established in 1884, and they offer aspiring actors a fertile ground for professional and personal growth. The two campuses comprise one school, sharing the same philosophy, objectives and programs to provide students with the tools needed to make acting their profession.
Notable alumni: Adrien Brody, Kim Cattrall, Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, Danny DeVito, Kirk Douglas, Robert Redford
Location: 120 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
American Musical and Dramatic Academy
Another acting institution that is more famous to Americans, AMDA is a necessary inclusion to our list of best drama schools in New York City. American Musical and Dramatic Academy was founded in 1964, and is now recognized throughout the industry for its rich history and tradition of launching some of the most successful careers in theatre, film and television. They are now celebrating 50 years as one of America’s premier conservatories for the performing arts.
Notable alumni: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Emily Padgett, Christopher Sieber, Lee Targensen, Jason Derulo
Location: 211 West 61st Street, New York, NY 10023
That’s right, Columbia has its own drama department which is strong enough to be included on the top 10 best drama schools in New York list. Their drama courses are international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres.
Notable alumni: Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, James Mangold, Kimberly Peirce, Simon Kinberg
Location: 601 Dodge Hall, Columbia University, 2960, New York, NY 10027
Hofstra University also have their own acting school, which have been deservedly placed on the list of best drama schools in New York. Hofstra University’s Department of Drama and Dance program provides students with the opportunity to develop and hone their skills as performers, designers and technicians, and deepen their appreciation for these arts as they gain practical experience to pursue careers in the theater, dance and beyond.
Notable alumni: James Caan, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Davi, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Walken
Location: 1000 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550
The Maggie Flanigan Studio
Similarly to Esper’s studio in NYC, The Maggie Flanigan Studio is another great place for an actor to acquire strong acting foundations. Located in the heart of NYC, The Maggie Flanigan Studio was founded by Maggie in 2001 to provide a rigorous and inspiring conservatory-based acting program for talented young artists who would receive the highest quality Meisner training. We are committed to the belief that acting, at its best, is a creative art.
Notable alumni: Carlton Byrd, Tom Lipinski, Jes Macallan, Michael Oberholtzer, Piper Perabo
Location: 153 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001
The New School
Last but by no means least on our list of top best drama schools in New York is one of the oldest and very famous The New School University, which was founded in 1919 by forward-thinking educators to defy the intellectual constraints of traditional college education. As The New School approaches its centennial, it remains on the cutting edge—attracting active scholars, artists, and pacesetters who deploy creativity and innovation to challenge the status quo.
Notable alumni: Woody Allen, Bea Arthur, Tony Curtis, Jonah Hill, Tennessee Williams
Location: 72 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011