Jelani Alladin NCHS Class of 2010 NYU Tisch School for the Arts, 2014

Jelani Alladin NCHS Class of 2010 NYU Tisch School for the Arts, 2014

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Nothing can prepare you for that first morning after graduation. There is a strange feeling of accomplishment paired with a burning desire, clouded in disbelief. I had to ask myself, had everything I have ever worked for in my life just come true? But what I soon came to realize was that the journey was just beginning. Up until that point I had been preparing; ABC of New Canaan prepared me for higher education. NYU prepared me with the skills to sustain a career. But there I was unprepared for the realization that the time had come for me to stop preparing and do.

Since my matriculation from NYU, only 8 months ago, I have taken some major strides in launching my acting career. I joined an agency, performed in two off-broadway shows, one of which I choreographed as well, landed a leading role in a new play at a great regional theatre and I have joined the Actor’s Equity Association; all small stepping stones to the large scale career I plan on living.

What I gained from NYU is invaluable, well except for the loans I owe them, but that aside, the professional acting training provided me with several tools, methods and strategies that have sharpened and expanded the capacity of my craft. Not to mention the amazing connections with top professionals in the industry. After 4 years I was able to take something that began as a necessary after school activity at NCHS to an actual career in which I can make a living.

As I move forward I hope to honor the shoulders I stand upon in everything I do. I owe a huge part of my success to the A Better Chance foundation, New Canaan High School and the community of New Canaan. There are no amount of thank you’s I can say, that will adequately express the amount of gratitude I have for the teachers, guidance counselors, tutors, family, friends, host families and board members that have supported my journey. The longs nights of homework, the sweat and tears put into afterschool activities, the giving of myself in community service, it was all worth it!

Host Family – Richard and Marianne Grandin

Jelani is currently starring as Pharus Jonathan Young in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy at the theatreWashington in Washington, D.C. This is Jelani’s debut at Studio Theatre. Click here to read a recent interview with the actor.

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