New York City's most Broadway-integrated actor training program, the Open Jar Institute provides select students intensive one-on-one training with some of Broadway's biggest stars, performers, directors, choreographers, agents and casting directors.

Under direction of Tony-winning Board of Directors including Joanna Gleason (Into The Woods), Susan Stroman (The Producers), Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime), and Artistic Director, Jeff Whiting, the Institute provides two different opportunities: an eight week RESIDENCY PROGRAM for students integration when first moving to New York City or a SUMMER INSTITUTE for both High School and College students.

Founded in 2003 by Broadway's Jeff Whiting, the Open Jar Institute is designed to challenge and push the student to prepare for a successful career in entertainment. 


A group of researchers did a study on fleas: 

  • They took a group of fleas, put them in a jar and closed the lid.

  • The fleas, which have a high capacity to jump, kept hitting the lid of the jar as they jumped.

  • After a few days, the fleas learned the limitation of where the lid was and began jumping just below the height of the lid.

  • A week later, they took off the lid of the jar. The fleas continued to jump at the adjusted height and, although the jar was now open, they never jumped out of the jar.

  • Like those fleas in the OPEN JAR, so do we, as humans (and ARTISTS) often adjust to the limitations others set for us to the point where we stop doing our very best - even when there are no limitations - and we never achieve what we were meant to achieve.

At THE OPEN JAR INSTITUTE we believe that the lid is off... the possibilities endless...



For any actor, moving to New York City can be a pretty daunting idea but this 8 week Residency helps you make the move to New York much easier. While providing a safe, furnished apartment in midtown, the Open Jar Residency provides a Broadway Mentor to each student to help navigate the first audition season, helping to identify appropriate auditions, prepare material, help expose you to the proper casting directors and agents to get you started off 'on the right foot'.


A group of students are selected by audition each year to spend ONE WEEK in New York City learning from some of Broadway's most respected professionals in one-on-one masterclasses and workshops. These students will see four of the hottest new shows on Broadway and have exclusive opportunities to work with the best in the business in preparation for their own Broadway journey.


Watch and listen to Open Jar Institute Founder, Jeff Whiting, in a recent TEDx talk. Jeff is acclaimed as a 'director with a joyous touch' by the New York Times. Jeff Whiting is a director and choreographer for theatre, opera, television, special events and concerts around the world. Broadway Credits include: Bullets Over Broadway, Big Fish, The Scottsboro Boys, Hair, Young Frankenstein, and Wicked. 

"The classes, workshops, and shows were incredible and really helped prepare us for what is to come in the business."

- Jessica (Chicago)

"I honestly learned so much and can't wait to use what I've learned into the show I am in right now!"

- Boston (Utah)

"Open Jar was by far the best experience of my entire life."

- Ashley (Canada)

"I'm not sure words could ever express how much this has meant to me." 

- Daniel (South Carolina)

"I've never been so moved in all of my life." 

- Lauren

"I wouldn't trade this past week for the world." 

- Jessica (Chicago)

"I never felt homesick because I always felt at home."

- Mireya (Wisconsin)