Teacher, Coach, Director, Actor, Guest Artist, Lecturer.
Mari Lyn Henry (Mari Lyn Henry is a career coach, teacher, and former director of casting for ABC-TV.)
“I have known Rita Litton for many years. She is a pioneer in the area of helping young people get the best kind of acting training to prepare them for a career in film, TV and theatre. I have featured Rita in a chapter in the book I co-authored “How to Be a Working Actor.” If anyone knows how to give young people an overview of what it takes to audition and be prepared for the world of show business, Rita does. Her alums are featured in series, films, and of course on stage.”
Rita Litton began her actor training by studying Meisner technique while attending UCLA’s acting specialization program. Seeking more classical theater training she studied voice, speech and Shakespeare at both San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre and with John Fernald’s American version of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in Michigan. After graduation she moved to New York where she appeared Off and Off Off Broadway. While serving as assistant coordinator for the Playwrights Unit of The Actors Studio she had the opportunity to audit the studio’s select acting sessions taught and moderated by Lee Strasberg, Ellen Burstyn, Arthur Penn, Estelle Parsons and other greats. This exposure to diverse acting processes and tools sharpened her versatility and ability to work well with a variety directors and actors. In her work as a professional actress Rita appeared in New York and regional theaters in leading roles ranging from Shakespeare and the classics to American premieres, comedies, tours and musicals. Throughout her performing career she supplemented her theatrical work with appearances in daytime dramas (for CBS-TV and ABC-TV), feature films, and industrials. She has recorded many national and regional commercials and voice-overs, including narration for an Emmy Award–winning children’s documentary. She is a long standing member of Screen Actors Guild, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors Equity Association.
As an instructor, Ms. Litton has taught acting and audition technique for various professional theater companies, universities, the Screen Actors Guild Young Performers Conservatory, and acting schools around the country. After a casting director noticed her talent in improvisation, Rita was asked to guest teach at the Weist Barron School, the first on camera acting school for adults in the nation. Shortly thereafter Weist Barron asked her to create an acting program for teens. The success of that program prompted Ms. Litton to create ACTeen in 1978, the first on camera acting program for young adults. ACTeen grew from two courses in film/TV to over sixteen distinct courses covering all aspects of theater and on camera acting training, taught by a distinguished roster of professional instructors enriching the lives and careers of thousands of former students. Hundreds of her students have gone on to successful professional careers in acting, directing, producing, casting, or as agent/managers. She is a three-time winner of Backstage Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award (“Favorite Acting Coach & Classes.”)
“Rita Litton, Director, on the way she teaches: ‘I combine the discipline of the theatre with the immediacy and naturalness of the camera.’ Rita guides actors to test the limits of their creativity, hone their audition skills, and showcase their talents in a multi-media environment.”— Seventeen Magazine
A writer and contributor to various acting books, Ms. Litton is the author of “Acting and Auditioning for Television Commercials” (© revised 2010 R. Litton) a comprehensive teaching text on the subject for teens. She has been interviewed for the book “How to Be A Working Actor” by Lynne Rogers and Mari Lyn Henry (former head of casting for ABC-TV), “Acting for Young Actors” by Emmy winning director Mary Lou Belli and Dinah Lenney, and “The Actor’s Other Career Book” by Lisa Mulcahy. She is a contributor for ““The Young Performer’s Guide” by Simon & Padol, and “Acting Like a Pro” by Mary McTigue, and a ‘Backstage Expert” for Backstage magazine. Favorable press about Ms. Litton or ACTeen has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The New York Post,” “Variety”, “New York Magazine,” “The Chicago Tribune,” “Seventeen,” “Cosmo Girl,” “Backstage,” “The Princeton Review,” “Dramatics Magazine” (published by Educational Theater Alliance) and others. Rita was interviewed for TV Asahi in Japan, and featured on NBC’s “Wednesday’s Child” with Janice Huff. Agent & industry professionals consistently recommend Rita for their clients and prospective clients. During her many years of teaching, Ms. Litton has served as a casting consultant for such diverse studios as Nickelodeon, Fox, Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, CBS, NBC, and ABC on projects ranging from major motion pictures to TV series, sitcoms, television pilots, & daytime dramas.
Many of Rita’s students have achieved successful careers in film, television, and the theater. For example: Emmy & Golden Globe TV series winner Jamie Lynn Sigler (‘Meadow Soprano’ in HBO’s “The Sopranos,”) Jon Seda (Emmy winning mini series, “The Pacific,”— “La Brea,” “Chicago P.D.,”) and Emmy nominee Cara Buono ( “Stranger Things,” “Person of Interest.” “Mad Men.”) Other working actors include Daniella Alonso (“Dynasty,” “Friday Night Lights,”) Sofia Black D’Elia (“Single Drunk Female,” “Your Honor,” “The Mick,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Night Of,”) Jordana Spiro (“Ozark,” “Royal Pains,” “The Good Wife,”) Danny Masterson (“That ’70s Show,”) Jordana Brewster (“Fast & Furious” franchise, “American Crime Story,” “Lethal Weapon,”) Julia Goldani Telles (“The Girlfriend Experience,” “The Affair,” “Bunheads,”) Lucca De Oliviera “Clarice,” “Seal Team,”) Davi Santos (“Good Sam,” “Tell Me a Story,” “Power Rangers,”) Daniel Puig (“Naomi,”) Imani Lewis (“First Kill,” “Hightown,” “Forty-Year- Old Version,”) Samm Levine (“Freaks and Geeks,”), Kimberly Williams Paisley (“Nashville,” “According to Jim,” “Father of the Bride.”) Rita has also taught many students on Broadway such as Caitlin Kinnunen, Tony Award nominee for ‘Lead Actress in a Musical’ for her performance in “The Prom,” Jillian Mueller lead in “Pretty Woman”, and others in “Aladdin,” “Matilda,” “The Book of Mormon,” ” The Lion King,” “Billy Elliot,” “Jersey Boys”, “Les Miserables,” “The Band’s Visit,” etc. Many acquired their first representation through her competitive industry showcases. In addition, her alumni roster includes graduates who have become successful talent agents, managers, film directors, screenwriters, and producers. See Testimonials