Stephanie LaVardera is a New York City based AEA actor. She holds an MFA in classical acting from the Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University, and has performed at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and is currently a resident acting company member of Hamlet Isn't Dead.
Born and raised upstate in New York’s Capital District, my main passion and drive in life has always been creativity. As a child, I spent most of my time drawing, painting, writing (I once wrote a “neighborhood newsletter” that I made my mother deliver to all of our neighbors), and directing shows that I would force all of my friends and cousins to be in! When I got to middle school and high school, this creative energy finally found a (perhaps more appropriate?) outlet in acting.
I received my BFA in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I trained at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and The Stonestreet Film and Television Studio. After graduating from NYU, I discovered I had a passion for classical theatre, especially Shakespeare, and was accepted to the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting in Washington, DC, where I spent every second of the next year swinging a sword, opening up the breath, scanning iambic pentameter, performing my own clown show, and constructively resting (not all at the same time…but sometimes at the same time.) I came out on the other side with my MFA in classical acting, and have been working in between Washington, DC and NYC ever since.
Who Am I As An Artist?...
As an artist, what excites me is collaborating with others. For me, there’s nothing greater than a group of people coming together to create something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts- synergy. I believe that’s where the magic is. I love big, ensemble driven pieces where everyone gets to play around with each other onstage, and I also love creating devised work. Language is the second thing that I’m passionate about as an artist- a big part of the reason I’m drawn to classical theatre. Words have power, and when you get to tell a story using the richest, fullest language, it makes the story all that more powerful. Shakespeare was of course the master, but a few others whose words I love speaking include Chekov, Wilde, Tom Stoppard, Sam Shephard, Michael Weller, Annie Baker and Amy Hertzog, just to name a few.
Who Am I As An Actor?....
As an actor, I’ve had the privilege to play a variety of roles, from little boys to leading ladies, and a lot of stuff in between! Most of the time, though, the characters I play have some things in common; they're really intelligent, super genuine, poised, and maybe a little bit plucky. They're the intellectual with a moral-compass type. The girl who's always underestimated, but will work harder than anyone to achieve her dreams. The girl no one expects is as smart and fearless as she actually is- a little bit Elizabeth Moss or Allison Brie, part Jenna Fischer or a younger Julianna Margulies. Some of my favorite role roles to date are Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well, Celia in As You Like It, Lolita in Zorro, Rose in Dancing at Lughnasa, and three different turns as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
I am currently a company member with Hamlet Isn't Dead and New Place Players in NYC.
When I’m not on stage, I can usually be found doing yoga, reading in a park, listening to James Taylor, the Dave Matthews Band or Sara Barielles, skiing in Vermont, trying to befriend a dog, and of course, drinking tea!
This above all; to thine own self be true