Atlanta has always had a solid, professional theater scene. Nationally known for Alliance Theater, which won a Regional Tony award in 2007, and producing brilliant work annually, the newest change to the Atlanta acting scene has been its expansion in film and television work.
The state of Georgia issued a tax incentive that makes it worth Hollywood’s bucks to come shoot its movies and TV shows in this southern state. The area’s well-known productions coming out of the Atlanta included the “Vampire Diaries,” “Drop Dead Diva,” the multitude of Tyler Perry productions, and movies such as “Blind Side.” In honor of the booming television and movie industry in Atlanta, this top-five list of local actors features some of the area’s best and brightest.
Kristen Shaw, owner of Kristen Shaw Acting Studio
3040 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Suite J-2
Norcross, GA 30071
Originally a native of North Carolina, Shaw spent time in Los Angeles making a name for herself and working on recognizable projects such as “Line of Fire” and “Commander in Chief.”
She recently was seen on the big screen as Abby in “Straw Dogs.” Shaw relocated to Atlanta and shares her past experiences and passion for teaching at Kristen Shaw Acting Studio while still maintaining an active acting career. She is represented by The People Store.
Charmin Lee, instructor and motivational speaker
The warm-hearted Charmin Lee has a hot career as well. Her most recent role was on the popular, filmed-in-Atlanta TV program “Vampire Diaries” as Gloria a witch and bartender. She is most well known for playing Jeanette Wood, Maya’s mother, in the TV series “Girlfriends.” When not in front of the camera, Lee enjoys coaching actors and sharing through motivational speaking. Lee is represented by the J. Pervis Agency.
Related: Best Movie Sets in Atlanta
Jason MacDonald, actor and co-owner of Stone Soup Kitchen
Customers ordering pancakes and coffee at the counter of Stone Soup Kitchen, mostly likely don’t realize they’ve had their order taken by local actor Jason MacDonald. MacDonald has had small roles in a multitude of films shot here in Atlanta including “Life as We Know It,” “The Joneses” and “The Family that Preys.” He has also had a successful career in soap operas with reoccurring roles in “One Life to Live,” “Guiding Light” and “All My Children.” However, a noteworthy role for MacDonald was in the pilot episode of “Drop Dead Diva” in which he played the character who shoots the lead actress, thus creating the entire story line of her coming back to Earth in a new body. MacDonald is represented by Houghton Talent.
Michael Cole, actor and acting coach
Cole has a passion for all facets of acting, from stage to film, and from acting to directing. He is highly involved with The Renaissance Project in Decatur, directing or acting in its stage productions. However, Cole is also a highly successful TV/film actor. Recently seen on Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns” and the new hit TV series “Homeland.” He has also been cast in “Army Wives,” “Drop Dead Diva” and “Teen Wolf.” Cole said he loves to share his experience and knowledge with actors who are just getting into the business or looking to advance their acting careers. Cole is represented by Houghton Talent.
Ashley LeConte Campbell, actress and acting coach
With a background in pharmaceutical sales, Ashley Campbell has followed her passion to become a very talented actress and has a resume any actor would envy. She can be seen sitting opposite the lunch table with Sandra Bullock in the “Blind Side.” She’s also been on almost every television show cast in the Southeast including “Drop Dead Diva,” “Army Wives” and “The Gates.” Campbell spent extensive time training and shares her journey going out to L.A. and staying in Margie Haber’s home with her students in her script analysis class. Campbell is very excited to teach other actors and continue to grow her career here in Atlanta and is represented by Houghton Talent.
Related: Best Atlanta Theaters for Kids
Stacy Sheets is native to Atlanta. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Stacy is a freelance writer who enjoys keeping abreast on the best Atlanta has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.