What's This Blog About

BHP, n., 1. Beverly Hills Playhouse, the best acting school you’ll find – currently with ongoing classes in LA, NYC, and SF.

Allen Barton is the current Owner/CEO and principal teacher at the BHP, and a director, playwright, and classical pianist. His is known for his 25-year association with the BHP, and apprenticed with its founder, the legendary Milton Katselas, for 16 years. Directing work includes:  ABOUT FAITH, I MAKE YOU LAUGHING, BURN THIS, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, RABBIT HOLE, THE REAL THING, ENGAGEMENT, THE HEIDI CHRONICLES, OLEANNA, SPEED-THE-PLOW, GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES. Playwriting credits include: ENGAGEMENT, YEARS TO THE DAY, DISCONNECTION and the upcoming CIRCLING. YEARS TO THE DAY garnered significant critical praise, was named one of LA Weekly’s 10 Best New Plays, was invited to be performed in Paris in October of 2013 and at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014, and is slated for further productions in New York, London, San Francisco and Athens. He has additionally written several one-act plays, has written & directed five short films, and his first feature screenplay, REAL MUSIC, was a top-three finalist in the CAPE New Writers Award Competition. Allen earned many years’ worth of L.A. stage, television and film credits as an actor. As a pianist, he performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” at the 25th Annual S.T.A.G.E. fundraiser at the Wilshire Theatre, was a prizewinner in the 2002 Los Angeles Liszt Society Competition, has recorded five compact discs (available for streaming/download on Apple Music and other services) and performs solo recitals regularly on both coasts. In 2010 he was made a Steinway Artist.  Allen is a native of Boston and a graduate of Harvard University.

This blog, “The Oasis of Insanity," is Allen’s ongoing contribution to the work of BHP founder Milton Katselas, who was, from the 1960s to his death in 2008, one of America’s foremost acting teachers. Katselas’ books, ACTING CLASS and DREAMS INTO ACTION, are in and of themselves complete works that lay out the BHP approach for both acting and the career of acting. This blog is a means for Allen, who edited both of Milton's books, to add further commentary on the current state of acting study and the pursuit of acting in the 21st century.

Barton on the blog’s title: Why “The Oasis of Insanity”? I was critiquing an actor at some point, and he was bitching and moaning about the frustrations of an acting career, and after listening for a while, I brushed it aside, saying something like, “Look, you love this insanity. In some way, all performing artists love this insanity, and what they hate is actually the boredom of a more safe, predictable life. This stuff you’re bitching about, it’s actually your oasis. We’re all here in an oasis of insanity.” I hadn’t thought about it like that before I said it extemporaneously, but as soon as I said it, I knew I had the title for the blog.

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