The teachers

Matt Newton, owner

Matt Newton is the founder of MN Acting Studio, 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 his students.   Matt's students have booked roles on countless TV shows, films, and Broadway shows.  

As an on set coach, Matt has coached on Ava Duvarnay's CENTRAL PARK FIVE, Marvel's JESSICA JONES, as well as THE AFFAIR for Showtime, 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, and appeared as himself on the show "Raising Heaven," as a coach to Youtube sensation Heaven King.  

 As a director, Matt has created and developed four short films, as well as an upcoming TV series being developed by Full Picture ("Project Runway").   He is the writer and director of the short horror film "Hide/Seek" (nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay at the NEFF Film festival) is currently in development for a new comedy series called "Pretty People Inc", which he created and directed with Doug Keeve ("Unzipped"), as well as the upcoming short film "Vacation Rental" (which he starred in), and is in post production on a short film "Sins of the Son." 

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.  

Matt is also the author of the successful book "10 Steps to Breaking Into Acting" (available on Amazon, with a foreword by his sister Becki Newton, star of “Ugly Betty” and “How I Met Your Mother”), and writes a weekly advice column for Backstage Magazine.  

Matt teaches workshops all over the U.S., most recently at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, and at One on One Studios in New York City.     

Matt has been a professional actor in New York and Los Angeles for the past 14 years, and has appeared in dozens of television shows, films, commercials, and voiceovers. Matt's first TV role was playing a blind football player on Comedy Central's cult hit Strangers with Candy.  Since then, Matt has guest starred many shows, including Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty, Drake and Josh Go Hollywood, Gilmore Girls, All My Children, Dragnet, and most recently the FX TV series The Americans and USA's Royal Pains.  He has appeared in a half dozen national network commercials (McDonald’s, Volkswagon, Bud Light), as well as national voiceover ads for Sprint, Subway, McDonald's, Volkswagon, and many others.  On the film side, Matt has appeared in Van Wilder (starring Ryan Reynolds), Men Who Stare at Goats (starring Jeff Bridges), Dahmer (starring Jeremy Renner, and nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards), and the lead role in Poster Boy (starring Karen Allen and Oscar nominee Michael Lerner), for which he received rave reviews. He also won Best Actor at the Philadelphia First Glance Film Festival for his role in Nathan Crooker's Peace of Mind.

 Matt earned a degree in Drama from Vassar College, where he studied acting under Erin Mee (daughter of Charles Mee) and Dennis Reid.  He also studied at the highly regarded National Theatre Institute in Waterford, CT.  After college, he trained with acclaimed teacher Arthur Mendoza at the Actor’s Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.



Van Hansis 

Van Hansis is a working actor and coach, whose clients have booked feature films, guest star spots, and leads in independent films and web based media. Van is a four time Emmy nominated actor for his work on As The World Turns and Eastsiders, and continues to work in front of the camera guest starring in a number of network shows, booking leads in independent features. At the moment, Van is most excited to premiere Ms. Guidance, a dark comedy series he co-created and directed, coming soon.  Van has been a student of Matt Newton for the past year.  Upcoming projects:  HBO's The Deuce, Paul Schrader's First Reformed (starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried), and Crick in the Holler a Columbia MFA Thesis/ Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Short Production Grant Winner. 


Dena Tyler


Dena 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


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

Amy Russ 257 WEB.jpg

Amy Russ 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

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 .

Amy's IMDB Link

Jess Stark, studio manager

Jess hails from a really small town in Alaska called Chugiak, halfway between Anchorage (a city most people know) and Wasilla (a town most people try to forget). She graduated Chugiak High school where she was a vaguely emo kid with a passion for theater and choir, which she realizes is redundant. 

Jess has been lucky enough to receive amazing training since moving out of the woods from whence she came. She first studied with Ann Ratray of Laguardia High School at her NYC studio. Afterwards, Jess sought out an on-camera class and has studied with Matt Newton at the studio for just over 2 years. Jess has also studied with HB Studios, and University of Alaska Theatre and Dance.

Jess can be seen in several indie films and is the star of all your worst nightmares.