James Ciccone


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James grew up in Brooklyn, NY as the youngest of 10 siblings.  His father Anthony, a local shop owner, was a second-generation Italian American who died at age 36.  James was 2 years old at the time and had little recollection of his father.  Raised by his mother Theresa, of Irish and English descent, and older siblings, James was surrounded by talent at a young age.  His sister Patricia was a musician and brother Anthony a talented artist.  In addition, his mother’s sister was married to the brother of legendary composer and academy award winner Elliot Goldenthal.  Displaying raw talent at a young age James played the lead in several elementary school plays in the 5th and 6th grade and at age 11 began playing trumpet and studied privately with Goldenthal for 5 years. At age 13 James won scholarships to study at the Usdan Center for the Performing Arts and later, under Goldenthal’s instruction would gain acceptance into the prestige Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City where other esteemed alumni such as Al Pacino and Liza Minelli previously attended. 

During his time at the HS of Performing Arts James redirected his emphasis in the performing arts away from music and into theatre.  In the late 1970s he studied under Uta Hagen and Herbet Berghof at the HB Studios and was invited to see their performance of Charlotte on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, James’ first Broadway Play.

Years later James would earn a bachelor degree from Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) and graduate magna cum laude.  Although much of his love for the arts remained, he mounted little professional success as an actor in his early years and enrolled in NY Theological Seminary where he participated in urban ministry and graduated with master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees. His doctorate dissertation and demonstration project focused on the challenges ex-offenders released from the NY State prison system face and the high recidivism rate.

Feeling called to perform, and not preach, James returned to HB Studios in 2007 to refresh the principals he learned decades earlier. From HB studios he would go on to study the  Meisner technique, a practice taught at the distinguished Neighborhood Playhouse, and later embraced the imagination provoking works and methodology of Michael Chekhov.  Presently James is mentored by legendary acting coach, Harold Guskin, author of How to Stop Acting and is represented by Serendipity Talent Management, Gary Goodrich.