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‘The Working Actor Monologue Slam with Malik Yoba’ and NBCUniversal Bring the Competition to 30 Rock

'The Working Actor Monologue Slam with Malik Yoba' and NBCUniversal Bring the Competition to 30 Rock

Here is some
fantastic news for you budding actors out there. 

Attika J. Torrence,
founder of Independent Film New York (IFNY), the IFNY Monologue Slam acting
competition, and ‘The Working Actor with Malik Yoba’ – an acting curriculum hosted
at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University – has announced a new
partnership with NBCUniversal. The partnership, which aims to bring the IFNY
competition to prime time television as a performance contest show for actors
in the vein of American Idol and
NBC’s The Voice, also brings a new
name to the slam: The Working Actor
Monologue Slam with Malik Yoba

The IFNY Monologue Slam and The Working Actor college course, already very prominent, has had mainstream
actors as past competition judges and attendees, including Joe Morton (Scandal), S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order), Michael K. Williams (Boardwalk Empire), Jamie Hector (The Wire), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Big Words; the upcoming 24: Live Another Day), Richard Brooks (Being Mary Jane; To Sleep With Anger), and many more.

“We decided
to change the name of the program after creating the LIU Brooklyn course with
Malik Yoba,” says Torrence, himself a filmmaker and an active member of the
film industry, who recognized several voids that actors and filmmakers discuss
constantly, one of which is the absence of seasoned, active veteran actors
teaching acting classes. He adds how several acting teachers offer classes that
capitalize on the willingness and naivety of bright-eyed newcomers, with
classes called ‘audition prep’ and ‘how to get noticed by casting directors’,
etc… but are rarely, if ever personally aware of the plight many young successful actors face because many of
them have not stuck it out in the industry. “Only a ‘working’ actor,” Torrence comments, “can teach a class called ‘The Working Actor’.” 

And Monologue Slam host and acting teacher
Malik Yoba, known best for his early work on FOX’s New York Undercover and contemporarily from the film Why Did I Get Married, and most recently
SyFy’s Alphas, with over 20 years of
experience all while still currently working, can now bring his invaluable
experience, resources and interpersonal touch to ensure life changing
experiences to even more actors. “Knowing firsthand how challenging it is to
get into this business or catch a lucky break its a pleasure to create and produce opportunities for others to have a chance to be seen and heard and hopefully get a shot at being discovered and employed,” said Yoba recently about his dedication to The Working Actor.  

With five years
of providing opportunities for budding New York-based actors to be seen and
become working actors, the name change to The
Working Actor Monologue Slam with Malik Yoba
was then appropriate. After
securing sponsorship from NBCU’s Diversity and Inclusion Department for one of their
events, at which Torrence tells us that several members of the NBCU family
attended, “we had another meeting and were able to secure a partnership which
now houses us in one of the most famous and recognizable studios in the world –
Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.” 

The Working Actor will be similar to competition shows
like The Voice in that it aspires to jump
start several careers in the entertainment industry by bridging the gap between
the actor and the industry people they need to be seen by: directors,
producers, managers, agents, casting directors, and more. Past contest winners
have been: Shana Solomon, Dorcas Evelyne Davis, Vladimir Versailles, Toni
Seawright, Josh Hyman, Melvin Mogoli, Krystal Farris and the current winner
Jesenia Bailey. 

Noted actress
and past attendee Rosalyn Coleman Williams (Brooklyn’s Finest) notes that, “The
Working Actor Monologue Slam with Malik Yoba is an awesome career boost for any
actor. It’s a major accomplishment to win this competition…Think Showtime at
the Apollo
meets American Idol. As an audience member it is the most exciting
thing I’ve ever witnessed.” Rodney K. Hurley, Managing Director of the Kumble
Theater for the Performing Arts at LIU Brooklyn where the past Monologue Slam‘s
have been hosted, agrees on how unique and entertaining the setting is, “The
energy on stage is equally matched by an engaged theater audience of fans and
knowledgeable working actors.”

Other past
judges and attendees include notables from the acting and industry world such
as Cassandra Freeman (Blue Caprice), Rodney ‘Bear’ Jackson (Precious), Julito
McCullum (The Wire), Choclatt Jared (Bring In The Noise Bring In The Funk; Conspiracy Theory), Mark Tallman (Single
Ladies)
, Marci Phillips (ABC Casting), Ken Lee (Innovative Artists), Jandiz
Estrada (NBCU Casting), Tahira Bhatti McClure (NBCU), Nancy Cadet (NBCU), Mike
Ellis (40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks), Jeff Friday (American Black Film
Festival), Reggie Scott (American Black Film Festival), Qasim Basir (Mooz-Lum), Michael BOOGIE Pinckney (You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You),
Stacey Muhammad (For Colored Girls) and many more. 

“We’ve heard for
years how challenging it is to meet an agent or a director or a producer all in
hopes of getting that next job,” remarks Torrence. “Well now, here is the
chance.”

The premiere of
the Working Actor Monologue Slam with
Malik Yoba
will be held on August 29th at 30 Rockefeller Plaza at Studio
8H.  Auditions will be announced
very soon, so look on these pages for that news.

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