The teachers

Matt Newton

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 Marven's JESSICA JONES, as well as THE AFFAIR for Showtime, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, BLUE BLOODS, and MASTERS OF NONE.  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 three projects.   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"), and recently wrapped his new film "Vacation Rental" as a proof of concept pilot.   

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.



Blair Baker 

Blair Baker trained with Matt Newton and MN Acting Studio for two years before becoming a teacher.  She is a New York and Los Angeles based actor, director, writer, and teacher who has worked extensively in New York, California, and regionally. Just finished understudying the hit Broadway show THE HUMANSher other credits include: Broadway: Oleanna. Other Theater: The Hour of All Things (Philly WTF), The Erlkings (Off-Broadway, Beckett Theater) Bus Stop (Kansas City Rep), The Footage (The Flea Theatre), Sweet Life (semi-finalist Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival) and Let Me Ascertain You: LGTBQ All Out(Barrow Street Theatre). In development: The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen, starring Ed Asner. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Missing Bolts Productions, (, has been featured in various films/webseries and is represented by Professional Artists Agency and Vanguard Management.

Training includes: Atlantic Theater Acting Conservatory, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and MN Acting Studio.


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 is currently playing the festival circuit. He is represented by Prestige Management Group and has recently been seen on Discovery ID, Military Channel, and Lifetime as well as in several Feature Films and award winning Shorts.  Upcoming releases: TV - "A Crime To Remember", Film - "The Devil's Well" and "Into The Dark".