Below is an inside look on how some of Donald’s students have gotten where they are today and how much his students as well as their parents appreciate him:
– I wanted my daughter to further develop her acting skills and I asked her agency to recommend an acting coach. They said that Donald McKenna was the best- and they were right . Since working with Donald, Devon has improved on her camera technique, improv and overall acting skills tremendously. When we have an audition, we call Donald to make sure that she is prepared and confident. If an audition needs to be taped, Donald has the expertise to do a very professional job. Recently my daughter was fortunate enough to be asked to audition for the part of young Amy Schumer in the movie “Trainwreck” Donald worked with her to prepare the audition, making sure she knew how to play to the camera and deliver her lines in an impactful way. As a result of his coaching and Devon’s performance…..she got the part !! I highly recommend Donald to anyone who wants to improve their acting skills and get better results at auditions. He is a wonderful mentor who cares about his students and their success
Anne Fabry mother of Devin Fabry Young Amy Schumer in Trainwreck
-My 15 year-old daughter started working with Donald McKenna two years ago. If it were not for the introduction to Donald, we would still be frustrated trying to find our own way in the show biz world. Instead, Donald gave my daughter the proper training, mentored her, boosted her confidence at a crucial point in her life and inspired her to follow her dreams. Additionally he introduced us to a top-notch manager who in turn was able to secure representation for my daughter by a huge bi-coastal talent agency. Two years later, my daughter is a member of SAG, has had a guest-star role on major network TV show, a part in a film, numerous commercials, and is a member of a developing girl group based in NYC. Donald knows all aspects of the business, is a gifted teacher/mentor and will guide you through the tricky maze of show business.
Judy Hughes (Mother of Teen Actor) see above KC ( Katherine ) Hughes Men, Women and Children. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl
– I have been working with Donald for over 2 years. I’ve grown so much since our very first session together. Donald taught me improv, how to slate, and how to book a job. He improved my confidence and gave me the mind set that I can do anything when I put my mind to it. Donald is a coach that you feel you can open up to, is so rare to find. I feel lucky to have met him. Since working with Donald, I now have representation in NYC with a great Manager and Agency, I’ve booked jobs such as a guest star role on Law and Order: SVU The independent film “Roadie”, and a national commercial for JC Penneys etc. and Disneys’s NBT. It was all made possible with Donald and his coaching. He’s an amazing coach and he has helped my career more than anyone could. Thanks Donald!!!!- –
Since then, KC Hughes (Teen Actor) now Katherine Hughes (Adult Actor) has traveled with NBT and can be seen in Men, Women and Children and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl
– “I decided to take some classes in the philly area. One of the first was at Cathy Wickline Casting. The class consisted of 3 parts, commercial, monologues, and improv. Cathy taught the first two aspects of the class and brought in this guy for the improv part. That’s when I first met Donald McKenna. I was hooked!! It was like nothing I had ever done. Two weeks after the class ended I got a call to go to New York for a Amtrak commercial audition. When I walked in they said, There’s no script, the audition is all improv. WHAT THE WHAT ! ……I nailed it !! It almost sounds like a bullshit story , but it’s the absolute truth. I became SAG eligible because of booking it and felt a real feeling of accomplishment because I worked for the eligibility. A couple years after that, Donald got a hold of me because he was starting an Improv class and he called it ” off the page” . I’m telling you man, with all the other classes I had taken, this is the one that really opened me up to a whole new world of acting. Because I had started a family so early in my life and needed a full time employment and paycheck, wasn’t able to pursue acting full time. Through the years I’ve called Donald and met with him to go over some auditions that I had coming up…. in fact, one time I called him from across the street from the casting agent of the show “Homicide” in Baltimore for a few pointers on a part that was literally one line…booked that one two!. Mostly, I seem to get something decent about every 2 years, that’s right, about every 2 years. I’ve had speaking roles on, Homicide, Philly, Hack, Cold Case and The Happening. Recently I’ve had a little better luck and currently have a Verizon commercial and an PSA for the Philadelphia council for anti-smoking. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT. Two weeks ago, on September 13th, I had a callback for the new Bradley Cooper movie, “Silver Linings Playbook”. Dianne Heery had told me that this director was big on improv, Dude, who else could I call. I was able to get a hold of Donald the night before for a quick re-fresher. Today I found out I got the part. It is the father of one of the main characters, my scenes are with Bradley Cooper and it’s a several day shoot at 4 different locations. …..needless to say, Donald, I have to get together with you in the next month, probably a few times right?? Thanks for everything dude. See you soon.”
Rick Foster (Adult Actor) Silver Linings Playbook, Homicide, Philly, Hack, Cold Case and The Happening.
-“Donald is an amazing acting coach. I have four daughters in the business that have landed roles in film, tv, music videos and commercials over the past several years, and Donald has been extremely instrumental in helping them get the parts. Donald has such a caring–but professional–way with kids of all ages, and goes above and beyond to make sure the kids feel comfortable with a role, using unique and exciting acting methods that allow the kids to stay focus and achieve the best outcome possible. I would recommend Donald to any serious professional actor….you will not be disappointed.”
Sue Prantil ( Mother of Teen Actor)
– Donald McKenna played a key role in our daughter’s success as an
actress and model. He walked us step by step on a journey that
changed Kiera’s life forever. She is so thrilled to be pursuing her
dreams! Donald is honest, caring and very knowledgeable. Not only
did he get Kiera started, but he continues to guide us and support her
in perfecting her craft!
-Donald is a really great coach. When I first met him, Donald helped me get ready for a national talent competition and I placed in the top 5 out of 600. Whenever I go to see him, he always greets me with a smile. I have so much fun! He helps me learn in a way that I am comfortable and I always take away something that I can use when I am filming. Thanks Donald for everything!!
Kiera McNeil ( Child Actor)
-“When I started taking classes with Donald, I never expected to get so much growth from his lessons and techniques. He’s taught me so much about how to be an actor, from analyzing and reciting monologues, to intelligent improvisations. He’s helped me prepare for multiple auditions, and sat down with me to study scripts and give me pointers before a big role. Donald can always provide the best monologues for any role I am interested in portraying, and instruct me through the entire memorization and expression process.
I can easily credit almost all of my acting techniques to Donald, techniques that I have learned to live by and have prided myself on for the past four years. Donald knows his stuff, and he’s the best acting coach I’ve ever had.”
Nikki Prantil (Teen Actor)
– Donald has been instrumental in assisting Brandi in getting auditions and nailing them once she does! We were stuck in a rut wondering why she is so good, but no one would take a chance on her. Donald showed her just what she was doing wrong and how to improve to show the CD’s just what they want to see. Since skyping with Donald on a fairly regular basis, Brandi has gotten extremely busy, even having direct bookings from video auditions only!
This is a summary of Brandi’s increase in acquiring jobs with Donald’s input: Jan/2011:Student film, and a local, indie, feature, supporting role, (yet to be filmed). FEB/2011: Audition for a major feature film, and what we considered a CB. March/2011: booked a music video in LA to help the kids of Japan after the earthquake. April: won a CARE Award and had to go back to Hollywood to accept it. Booked a short film as female lead. May/2011: Booked a student film, female lead has had 3 SAG CB’s and a local webisode CB. June/2011: Got a lead in the local 48HFP. Obtained a Supporting Role in a FF, and a Lead in a local PSA. July/2011: The 48HFP won 4 awards, including Best acting and Best film. August/2011: CB for FF. Sept/2011: Principal Role In Inara the Jungle Girl, FF. Nov/2011: Signed with the oldest and most prominent NC agent: Carolina Talent. Dec/2011: 8 auditions in 10days, obtained the Lead as Darla Stewart in The Hollow Oak, FF, a Supporting role in a short film. Jan/2012: AFTRA CB for a Pilot. Made her first IMDb list, obtained monthly Voice over roles, FEB/2012: Principal role in a short film, March/2012: went to the 48HFP International finals for Broken Pieces. Got recognized by genuinely ‘starstruck’ people! Lead in a local play was smashing w/ rave reviews. April/2012: Nomination for her role in the 48HFP for a Young Artists Award, for Best Performance in a Short!
SO, YES! Donald is a working, wonder, a plethora of knowledge and the skill to bring out the best in his students!
Please see her IMDb and website:
Recently seen on Saturday Night Live
Sally Young ( mother of teen actor)
“Donald is an amazing acting coach and person. He has helped me get so many auditions and roles. Half of the things that I booked last year wouldn’t be on my resume without his help. I love Donald to death, and consider him a close friend. That’s another thing I like. He doesn’t just coach his students, he gets to know them, and that makes the coaching sessions (Skype and in person) a lot more fun and easy.”
Brandi Young (Teen Actor) Recently seen on Saturday Night Live
– Donald’s ability to instill confidence, creativity, and inspiration into every coaching session is simply unmatched by any other acting teacher or class. Every session is challenging and uplifting, and I always walk away with complete clarity and keen insight into each character and script. After only one year of working privately with Donald, I’ve booked lead roles in six independent films and significantly raised my quota for TV spokesperson and commercial work. I highly recommend working with Donald if you’re looking to edge out the competition and finally command the attention and roles you deserve.”
~ Melissa Cassera ( adult actor )
“I do not remember who said “behind every successful actor is a lot of luck and a team of supporting professionals who believe in him/her”. When my daughter started acting in 2006 we got lucky – we were referred by a PA casting director to Donald. Donald coached my daughter until 2009 on most every project for which she auditioned. He encouraged my daughter and taught her the techniques she needed to get call-backs and book projects. The first year she booked every other audition. In 2009 Donald prepared her for the very important transition to the LA market. We miss him, here in LA. And even though LA is an acting Mecca with many professional acting coaches we did not find another one like Donald. If you are in PA and want to become a successful actor, you must add Donald to your team”
The mother of Patricia Raven