The team


MASTER TEACHER Matt Newton (NYC AND DARIEN) is the founder of MN Acting Studio in NYC, and is widely regarded to be the one of the best on-camera acting coaches in New York City, a leading industry expert, and a passionate advocate for actors.   Matt's coaching clients include Tony winners, Emmy award winners, Gold Globe nominees, Broadway stars, well known comedians and musicians (including Aziz Ansari and Lisa Loeb), and well known actors from film and TV.  

As an on set coach, Matt’s credits include Ava Duvarnay's upcoming WHEN THEY SEE US miniseries,  JESSICA JONES, THE AFFAIR, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, BLUE BLOODS (4 seasons), and MASTERS OF NONE (coach to Aziz Ansari).  He was also the on set coach for the hit film "#Horror," starring Chloe Sevigny and Timothy Hutton.

As a filmmaker, Matt has written, crowdfunded, and directed three short films, one of which snagged him the Best Director award at the 2018 Northeast Horror Film Festival, and was recently picked up by Amazon Prime.

As a writer, Matt wrote the popular actor’s business book "10 Steps to Breaking Into Acting" , and is also an expert industry contributor to Backstage.

As an actor, Matt has guest starred on dozens of TV shows, and been in numerous films and commercials. Credits include: Van Wilder, Gilmore Girls, Criminal Minds, Drake and Josh Go Hollywood, Royal Pains, Ugly Betty, the Americans, Dragnet, JAG, Family Law, Dahmer (with Jeremy Renner), Poster Boy (with Karen Allen), Miracles, Undressed, Guiding Light, and All My Children, Peace of Mind (award for Best Actor at Philadelphia First Glance festival).

 Matt earned a degree in Drama from Vassar College, and spent a semester training at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut.

Matt teaches workshops all over the U.S., most recently in Montreal, as well as the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut.




Van Hansis (NYC) is a working actor and coach, whose clients and students have booked over 40 different network shows, as well as a number of feature films, and Broadway productions. Van is a five time Daytime Emmy nominated actor for his work on As The World Turns and Eastsiders, and continues to work in front of the camera in a number of network shows, and films including Paul Schrader's Academy Award Nominated film First Reformed, and HBO's The Deuce. At the moment, Van is most excited to premiere Ms. Guidance, a dark comedy series he co-created and directed and the fourth and final season of Eastsiders, which will be streaming on Netflix this fall (you can currently catch the first three seasons on the platform right now!) Van is a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.



Dena Tyler (NYC) has recurring roles on 2 great TV shows right now! She plays the dynamic, somewhat geeky attorney, LIBERTY on CBS's hit show, Bull and she's shooting a recurring character on HULU'S The Path, Season 3.  Other credits include: The Deuce, Homeland, Orange is the New Black, LOUIE, Blue Bloods, Unforgettable, 30 ROCK, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  On stage she’s performed in a succession of plays at 59E59th, EST, The Women's Project, plus THE CHERRY ORCHARD (Charlotta) opposite Ellen Burstyn at The Actors Studio.She has degrees in Neuroscience and Dramatic Arts from the University of Rochester and is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio.  More at


Bryan Manley Davis (NYC and DARIEN) just wrapped a Netflix film called “Tigertail.” Hailing from the great state of Texas and currently residing in NYC, Bryan received his B.A. in Theatre before earning his M.F.A. in Acting, and successfully completing the esteemed Actor’s Apprenticeship at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.

Bryan spent several years successfully navigating the New York and Regional Theatre circuit before fully transitioning into Television and Film. Notable theatre credits include the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Musical Theatre Festival, Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Fireside Theatre, and the Tony award winning McCarter Theatre.

A dedicated, lifelong student of the craft, Bryan continues to hone his skill-set in masterclasses at MN Acting Studio with his mentor Matt Newton. Matt cast Bryan as the lead in his first film "Hide/Seek", which played in festivals across the country. He is represented by Center Stage Management and has recently been seen on Discovery ID, Military Channel, and Lifetime as well as in several Feature Films and award winning Shorts. Upcoming Films: Tigertail (Netflix) directed by Alan Yang; The Girl in Apartment 3.

Amy Russ (NYC)most recently appeared as Carol Gordon, sister-in-law to Josh Radnor, on NBC’s drama-musical series, Rise. She can also be seen alongside Paul Giamatti in the upcoming Netflix film, Private Life, directed by Tamara Jenkins. Other credits include roles on Orange is the New Black, Divorce, The Blacklist, Royal Pains and the series finale of HBO’s mega-hit, The Sopranos, directed by series creator David Chase. She emerged in A&E's digital release feature film thriller, Till Proven Innocent, and worked opposite Meryl Streep in the Oscar-nominated Steven Spielberg film, The Post.

Amy has brought juicy roles to life on-stage as well. She starred as the brilliant scientist Sonia in Boston’s New Repertory Theatre’s production of The Ice- Breaker, part of the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Amy also co-starred in the leading role of Mary Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at the Music Theatre of Connecticut, which earned a Moss Hart Award. She has frequented many other well-respected theaters, including Atlantic Stage, Soho Rep, New World Stages and The Belt Theatre among others. A self-confessed computer geek, Amy not only taught herself how to code HTML by hand, but she turned it into a thriving side-business. Today, she is the founder of the web design company , and shares tips with fellow actors as an Expert Contributor at . For more, visit .


Daniel Cosgrove (DARIEN) is an American actor who has appeared on numerous TV  shows. He is currently playing the role of RON on YOU and DAN MARGOLIS on BILLIONS. Daniel also played JON LEMONICK on IN JUSTICE, and FREDDY MASON on DIRTY SEXY MONEY. Daniel has also appeared on LAW & ORDER SVU, ELEMENTARY, UNFORGETTABLE, THE GOOD WIFE, ALL SOULS, as well as countless others. Daniel has series regulars on numerous shows. He first joined the cast of ALL MY CHILDREN in 1996, portraying SCOTT CHANDLER, before exploring other opportunities such as MATT DURNING on BEVERLY HILLS 90210. where he remained for 1998 until the show ended in 2000. Cosgrove's other series regulars credits include, GUIDING LIGHT as BILL LEWIS which earned him his first DAYTIME EMMY for OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR in a DRAMA SERIES, in 2008. March 2010, he began the role of CHRIS HUGHES on AS THE WORLD TURNS until the show ended. A father of four, he is happy to share his passion and experience in acting with the next generation of young actors.


Karen Summerton (DARIEN) just wrapped a horror-thriller feature film called The Improviser, where she plays Hilary, a demeaning menace that loves to cause trouble for others.  She is currently the voice of Brittany for an animated series called Nonstop Bachelorette Party Squad, about a bachelorette party that turns into a covert operative crime fighting squad.

She frequently appears on Saturday Night Live as a day player, notable characters include a Kardashian, and monster in Monster PALS.  She has appeared on Inside Amy Schumer, Sara and Nikki Live!, USA Network's Partners in Crime, LittleThings, and Get Him to the Greek.  Karen has been in several commercials including Budweiser with John Mayer, Chobani, and Arm & Hammer.

Karen performs in two monthly shows at the Peoples Improv Theater, catch her in The Magical World of Musical Improv, where your Disney childhood classics meet musical improv; and Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour, a wacky interactive game show mixed in with zany characters and sketch comedy.   Karen has created and performed two solo shows; Me, Myselfies, and I; and The Reality Starlette.

In addition to acting, she's also a director, writer, and a producer.  She starred in and co-wrote "The Karen and Jackie Show," a pilot for ABC.  And also directed and acted in a pilot for Disney XD called "Not So Super."

Karen graduated from Long Island University/C.W. Post with a BFA in Broadcasting and Acting, and spent a summer at Carnegie Mellon for an acting intensive.  She's trained at the Groundlings in Los Angeles; the Upright Citizens Brigade and Peoples Improv Theater in New York City.


MATTHEW PORRETTA just shot a guest star on NBC’s THE BLACKLIST and recently played recurring guest stars on the Hulu comedy DEADBEAT and LMN’s I LOVE YOU BUT I LIED. He played a supporting role in Bart Freundlich’s WOLVES (Starring Michael Shannon and Carla Gugino).  Matt is best known from his lead role as ‘Robin Hood’ in the TNT’s series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD and his role as ‘Will Scarlet O’Hara’ in Mel Brooks’ ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS.  He has starred in Broadway shows such as LES MISERABLES and PASSION. 
Feature Films: 
ThinkFilm’s DREAM WARRIOR (Dir. Zachary Weintraub), TURKEY CAKE (Starred opposite Tim Bagley, Dir. Sean Whalen), KATE'S ADDICTION (Dir. Eric Delabarre), DESPERATE BUT NOT SERIOUS (Starring Christine Taylor, Paget Brewster, John Corbett; Dir. Bill Fishman), CASTLE ROCK’s DRACULA:DEAD AND LIKING IT (Starring Leslie, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck, Mel Brooks; Dir. Mel Brooks), Columbia Tristar’s ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (Starred opposite Carey Elwes, Richard Lewis, Amy Yasbeck; Dir. Mel Brooks), THE UNVEILING (Dir. Craig Randelman). Series Regulars: TNT’s THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Starred as the lead role of ‘Robin Hood’). Recurring Guest Stars: FOX’s BEVERLY HILLS 90210. Guest Stars: CBS’s CSI: NEW YORK (Dir. Deran Sarafian), CBS’s WITHOUT A TRACE (Dir. Andy Wolk), SCI-FI’s CODE NAME ETERNITY (Dir. Jon Cassar), DISNEY’s 30, NBC’s WINGS, FOX’s SOUTH BEACH (Pilot), FOX’s CLASS OF '96. Broadway: PASSION (Plymouth Theatre), LES MISERABLES (Imperial Theatre). Off-Broadway: EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

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Colin Walker is an American film, television and stage actor best known for his roles on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme and  Lee Daniels' The Butler. His career spans television, film, theatre, and commercials over more than 20 years. He's shared the screen with and worked alongside his share of Oscar, Emmy & Tony winners including Melissa Leo, David Morse, John Cusack, Forest Whitaker, & David Simon. Colin is native of New Orleans, where  most of his family still lives, so he considers himself lucky to be able to "go home" so often for work. Before moving to Los Angeles, Colin studied and worked as an actor in New Orleans (long before it became "Hollywood South"), Boulder, Boston and Santa Fe. He received a bachelor's degree in acting and directing from The College of Santa Fe, but is far from finished with his studies. He has trained with many amazing teachers including Stephen Book, Karen Grassle, Jack Hannibal, Lily Parker and many others. Proud of his theater roots, he also started a theater company in the basement of a Santa Fe, NM coffee shop with acclaimed playwright Steven Adly Guirgis (who at the time was just another hungry young actor.) Colin is married to Cathy Kim Walker and they have two young children and currently live in Westport Ct outside of NYC. He built the home where they live which is a little piece of "Nola" (New Orleans La.) in LALALand. Colin is an avid marathoner and Ironman triathlete - and an enthusiastic surfer. He loves to cook creole dinners, and is known for his annual crawfish boil. 

Jess Stark (NYC) is the studio manager for MN Acting Studio, as well as an actor, social media consultant, and professional self taper.

Jess most recently wrapped on a feature film opposite Seth Rogan titled ‘An American Pickle’ coming out in 2019. She simultaneously wrapped on an indie film ‘Milkwater’ starring opposite Molly Bernard (‘Younger’, ‘Chicago Fire’), and ‘Caviar’ also coming out in 2019. Currently Jess can be seen in an indie short film, ‘Tell Me Twice’ that is currently making festival rounds.

When Jess isn’t auditioning or studying at the studio, she is helping students and clients with audition self-tapes. Jess is also a social media manager, editor and photographer, helping actors find their brand and helping them showcase it online via Stark Contrast Media.

IG: @starkcontrastmedia