American ‘Acting’ Idol competition searches for NYC’s next great actor


We have “Shark Tank” for aspiring entrepreneurs, and “American Idol” for singers, but what about those of us who act? Enter stage right: Battle Acts, where, co-creator Philip Galinsky likes to say, “actors act their acts off and audiences make a new star.”

Starting at the end of the month and over the next several months, television and stage actors will duke it out at Chelsea Music Hall for crowning titles, bragging rights, and cash prizes. The contestants will be judged by a studded lineup of industry actors and a live audience. 

Battle Acts will be hosted by brothers Robert and Philip Galinsky, of the long-standing Manhattan Monologue Slam, that’s been something of a launchpad for big breaks and successful acting careers. Robert described the competition as sure to be “provocative, safe, and encouraging” for competitors.

“We are trying to attract someone who people want to see on their television screens,” Robert said. “It’s theatre at a high level.”

Guest judges for the first Battle Acts competition include actor and casting agent Jeffrey Dreisbach (“Die Hard 3” and “The Thomas Crown Affair”), coach and actress Alysia Joy Powell (“Judah and the Black Messiah”), producer, writer, and actor Lenny Platt (“Gotham” and “How to Get Away with Murder”), and a special “influencer” judge to be announced soon.

“It’s Manhattan Monologue Slam 3.0,” Robert said. “The whole idea is to give actors a chance to showcase themselves in a supportive, upbeat environment and put them in front of audiences and people who could change their lives.”

Comedian and actress Adrianne Frost at a Manhattan Monologue Slam. Photo courtesy of Philip Galinsky.

Rest assured, for Robert and his brother, Philip have been at this long enough to know that “even a comment from a judge can send ripple effects” for aspiring, as well as already-established, actors and actresses. 

“Part of our ethos is to uplift and nurture, but also to test the limits of our creativity,” Robert said. 

The competition will be split into two parts, or in this vein, acts. Auditions are only held for the first act, where producers will put out acting calls as well as mine their own database.

The audition requires a self-taped video no longer than two-and-half minutes with comedic or dramatic theatrical monologue (“No storytelling, performance art, or poetry,” Robert advised). Six actors will be selected for rehearsals.

”We dont do Simon Cowell,” Robert said. “We don’t bring in judges who come from a negative point of view. We dont tear them down.”

The Battle Acts Champ who wins this month will compete again next month to defend their title against a new score of actors and actresses. 

The second set is a 30-second slam. Interested contestants can sign up online and 15 will be selected. From top five, the winner is determined by the audience, and the volume of their applause. In real time, the audience will share ownership of the competition, Robert said. 

“We want the audience to make the next great NYC actor!,” he said. 

Some success stories include actors who have gone on to principal roles in the film “2012” and television series “Orange is the New Black” and “Law and Order.”

Actor Roslyn Terre at a Manhattan Monologue Slam. Photo courtesy of Philip Galinsky.

As advice to contestants, Robert encouraged people to just go for it and step into their fear. 

“Technically, make your piece right now in the moment,” Robert said. “Come up and be in the act and be right there in the moment. Its only 30 seconds, its just a slice. Grab people by the throat as quickly as you can.”

Battle Acts is produced by Terry Schnuck, a five-time TONY Award recipient and Broadway producer, music and television producer William “Chip” Quigley, Broadway producer Jeffrey Chrzczon, television producer Michael Ginsberg, Robert Galinsky, and Philip Galinsky. 

Actors can register to perform by signing up on www.BattleActsLive.com/performers.

The first Battle Acts challenge will take place at Chelsea Music Hall on Monday, Jan. 30. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Audience guests can purchase tickets by visiting www.BattleActsLive.com/purchase.