By Wenhao Ma
Huntington residents should get ready to break a leg, with the opening of a new acting studio in town.
Regina Schneider, 46, an actress and acting teacher, is set to open Take 2 Actor’s Studio in Huntington this September. Her studio offers eight different classes, including intro to acting, acting on camera, television crime drama intensive, college auditions, kids character builders and private coaching. Classes meet weekly or by appointment.
But these classes are not just for the seasoned actors in town. The owner said she encourages everyone to take an acting class, regardless of their experience.
“I welcome anyone to come in because I feel like as humans, we need to connect,” Schneider said in an interview. “We all have a voice. And we all deserve to have our voice heard and our stories told.”
The studio is located in a rented space from LaunchPad, a company that provides resources for startup businesses to grow.
Two classes are set to start in September: actor’s gym, a course designed for adults with basic acting knowledge, and teen scene, where teenagers get to learn about acting.
“My plan is to have everybody working every night,” Schneider said, explaining why she wants to keep no more than 12 students in each of her classes. “Every time they come to class they have an exercise.”
At the University of California, Los Angeles, Schneider taught acting, but after she graduated she stopped and focused on her own acting career.
“I love [teaching],” she said after getting back to it. “I love connecting with people. I love sharing what I know… I feel like everyone has an obligation and if you have a gift, you are robbing the world if you are not sharing it with others.”
Karen Lico, 57, a student at the studio, said that she loves Schneider’s way of teaching.
“She has a way of pulling us in and getting us to feel things that you don’t even realize you are feeling and can feel,” Lico said. “She just makes you feel good.”
John Battaglia, 57, another student, never had any acting experience until this January when he took a class with Schneider at Bare Bones Theater in Northport.
“I like the idea of being somebody else and using the feelings and emotion inside me in another character,” Battaglia said.
Schneider was born on Long Island and moved to California as a teen. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in theatre from UCLA. After meeting her husband, Steve Schneider, she moved back to Long Island and got married.
She has more than 20 years of acting experience, and yet she said she still goes to acting classes occasionally, as many famous actors do, Schneider said, because acting, just like sports, relies on muscle memories. Attending classes would help actors “flex their acting muscles,” she said.
However, most of the classes at Take 2 Actor’s Studio are made for students with little to zero acting experience.
“If you come in with acting experience, in some ways you may have habits that I need to break,” Schneider said. She said she is more inspired by students who come in uncomfortable acting in front of other people and leave her class motivated and excited by the progress they have made.
Schneider said that there are not many adult acting schools on Long Island and she welcomes people who are interested in acting but never got the chance to try it.
“No matter your age, if it’s something that you’ve always been curious about or wanted to try, then [you should],” she said. “It’s never too late. You will gain more than the skills needed to act. You will gain new friends and a deeper understanding of yourself.”