A word from Madelyn Burns

“For nearly 40 years, I’ve had the greatest pleasure watching young and talented children grow into successful and confident actors.

In developing The Performing Option, it has been my objective to go beyond the problems of the classroom actor and provide a forum for the professional. Pre-screening has always been my policy and when a professional meets a professional in a mutually supported environment success is very apt to be the result.

We do not promise jobs. We do promise the opportunity to study with working professionals.”







About Madelyn Burns and The Performing Option

A graduate of Emerson College, Madelyn Burns earned a degree in Theater Education. She was a tenured, certified teacher in the areas of speech and drama and an instructor at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before performing professionally in musical theater, nightclubs, commercials and voice overs.

In 1983, Ms. Burns partnered with Leonard Finger and opened Burns and Finger Casting in Boston. By 1986, she had expanded her casting business to New York and for the next 20 years accepted casting assignments in film, television, commercial, radio and theater.

Able to share the knowledge of being on both sides of the desk, Madelyn developed a series of courses for the professional actor. Always looking to maximize opportunities for her students, Ms. Burns pioneered the method of bringing in working casting directors as instructors for whom better to teach her students and provide opportunity to actors than industry professionals who could employ them. People have been trying to emulate her method ever since. She firmly believes. Improve your skills with the people who employ your skills. This quickly gained the interest and respect of working professionals. Enrollment steadily increased as members of the performing arts community flocked to classes for the all important feed back from casting directors and others who hire actors.

Currently in its fourth successful decade, and still under the direction of Ms. Burns, The Performing Option remains the premier center in specialized training for children and young adults. Ms. Burns continues to offer professional age-appropriate classes for working (and/or soon-to-be working) performers using the same methods that she pioneered and which others have tried to emulate through the years. All classes are conducted exclusively by working Casting Directors conclude in an unrivaled showcase with at least 15 industry professionals (agents and managers).

To ensure and maintain a premium level of quality and integrity Madelyn Burns has never advertised on television and radio as some of her imitators. The majority of her students remain and continue to come through industry referrals and satisfied first and second generation parents who have benefited through her proven methods.

If the industry does not know who you are, this is a very expensive hobby.



“You already have the talent and the dream. Doesn’t it make the most sense to steer your career with the guidance of people inside the business who judge performers?” – Madelyn

The Performing Option is an amazing venue for networking in the industry

  • All classes are taught by currently involved New York Casting Directors who provide the students with first-hand information about the entertainment industry

  • Our Casting Directors teach in their fields of expertise whether it be film, television, commercials, voice-overs or musical theater

  • All classes end with a showcase with at least fifteen Invited Industry Professionals – Agents, Managers, Casting Directors – who are actively seeking talent.

  • Our classes offer an opportunity for each actor to work from current scripts provided by Casting Directors for insight and feedback on audition technique and presentation.

  • We are proud of our students consistently high booking rate.

A thorough grounding with the essential technical skill is the most dependable path to long-term success.