Acting in the City: Taking a Masterclass with Derek Klena!

I got the chance this past weekend on Sunday (December 9th, 2018) to take a masterclass with Broadway leading man Derek Klena. It was an experience that helped me grow so much as an actor and all-around performer.

The class was held at Ripley Grier studios in New York City and was a very positive and helpful learning environment. The class itself was small (13 performers in total) which allowed for the setting to be intimate and personalized for each student to receive feedback from Derek. He did a Q&A at the beginning of the class which allowed us to gain insight into life as a performer and musical theatre/film and television as a future career. Most students sang for Derek (I did a monologue) and he spent an extensive amount of time with each of us: working with us on our piece, giving advice, and helping us be the best performer we can be. Derek’s main focus was helping each person connect with their piece and understand our backstory: what we were saying (or singing) and why we were telling that story.

I chose a monologue that had many layers to it and focused on a dysfunctional family and Derek took the time to break down the monologue piece by piece and dissect my character. Although this was a one day class, I gained so much insight from him and felt myself grow so much with my monologue but also, as a performer in general. If you ever have the chance to take a masterclass with Derek, I would highly recommend it. He was comfortable with us which in turn made us open and comfortable to try new things with our songs/monologue. Whether it was approaching the piece in a whole new way or just discussing the backstory of our characters, Derek helped all of us greatly and was an amazing teacher. One of the biggest takeaways from the class and a point that Derek emphasized was: strong and wrong. Don’t be afraid to be completely wrong with your choices because there are always different ways to approach a monologue, a scene, or a song. If you are open to new ideas and changes, you will thrive and grow as a performer.

I took the class through Broadway Artist’s Alliance and would highly recommend taking a class from them! Their staff was beyond helpful and provided a great experience for me at my first masterclass.

Sending love and light,


JuJu Jaworski