Gateway Acting School alum Dooling stars in network TV's “The Carrie Diaries”

Arts and Entertainment

January 16, 2013

From: Gateway Playhouse

Brendan Dooling, Bellport native and Gateway Acting School alum, will star in the new CW series “The Carrie Diaries,” which premiered on Monday, Jan. 14 at 8pm.

The show is a prequel to HBO's “Sex and the City” and features AnnaSophia Robb (“Soul Surfer”) as a young, coming-of-age Carrie Bradshaw. Dooling (“An Elf's Story: Elf on the Shelf,” “Unforgettable”) is Walt Reynolds, Bradshaw's “best guy friend,” on the hour-long drama series.

The CW describes the show: “It's 1984, and life isn't easy for 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw... Carrie's eyes are opened wide at the glamour and grit of New York City – and when she meets Larissa, the style editor for Interview magazine, she's inspired by the club culture and unique individuals that make up Larissa's world. Carrie's friends and family may have a big place in her heart, but she's fallen in love for the first time with the most important man in her life – Manhattan.”

Dooling began his acting journey nearly a decade ago at the Gateway Acting School and, like many of the school's students, took his first acting class thanks to his mother’s urging. Through his teen years, the young star continued with courses in acting, musical theatre and monologue study. He found his first professional agent through the acting school's showcase program. He appeared in Gateway’s professional main stage season as 12 year old Nathan Lukowski in 2005 and in the Century of Christmas in 2003. He also appeared as Peter Pan in the children’s theater production in 2004.

Robin Joy Allan, director of the Gateway Acting School, remembers Dooling as a driven student, someone who inspired his friends and classmates and never wasted a moment of class time.

“He didn't like to sit around,” Allan said. “He always wanted to get going and was willing to help others in class. He would always ask me if he could help, even gathering props for a class or show.”

This “can-do” attitude, was both encouraged and fostered at the school.

“If the Gateway Acting School had a slogan, it would be ‘go for it,’” Dooling said. “That’s what I did, in class as well as in my career, and ‘it’ was achieved. Of course, the destination is never set in this business, the journey’s never over, but I’ve reached a place of success in my acting career and it all started at Gateway. I often wonder if it was the thrill of performing that made me want to pursue an acting career, or if it was the sense of community and belonging I felt during my time at the Gateway Acting School.”

As the school begins enrollment for the upcoming session, Allan looks forward to welcoming new students and families who, like Dooling, are looking for a creative outlet amidst a friendly atmosphere.

“I see shows like 'Dance Moms' and what happens here is so much different. The families and kids here are wonderful to work with,” Allan said. “They come here in search of full, well-rounded training. They keep me inspired.”

Allan, a theatre director and film and television casting director (“ Parenthood ,” “ When Harry Met Sally,” “Lord of the Flies,” “Ghost,” “ TV’s The Outsiders” ), will also teach a production class, where more advanced students will stage a play.

“This session we'll be doing my adaptation of 'Spoon River Anthology,'” Allan said. “It features a country/rock soundtrack — think Neil Young — and everyone has a lot to do.”

The Winter/Spring session of classes begins Feb. 1 and 2. Subjects are offered from ages 6-adult and class titles include “Let's Pretend”-- Intro to Theatre, Accelerated Theatre Games, Basic Acting, Accelerated Acting, Broadway Show Revue, Shakespeare, and Auditioning for Film & TV.

See Brendan’s training in action on Monday evenings on the CW in The Carrie Diaries .

The Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It seeks to provide theatre of the highest caliber to the Long Island region and beyond, continuing the 64-year tradition established by the Gateway Playhouse . It remains Long Island's oldest professional theatre.

For Gateway Acting School class times, pricing or other inquiries call (631) 286-1133 or 1-888-4TIXNOW, or visit