Co Founder/ Co Owner, The Prep
Jessi’s students’ professional credits include Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Young Harry); Caroline or Change (Noah); Sound of music (Marta, Friedrich), Mrs. Doubtfire (Natalie); Flying Over Sunset (Archie) Moulin Rogue (Lady M); Off Broadway’s Trevor (Trevor) Match Girl (The Little Match Girl) BAM’s workshop of Medea (Edward) Tour: Frozen (Young Anna and Young Elsa); Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie) Christmas Story (Tap Ensemble) and West Side Story Tokyo (Shark); as well as The Met’s Premiere of The Hours (Quentin and Richie) Jessi’s students of all ages can be seen in numerous regional theatre productions; feature films, network productions, and major streaming services including ABC, NBC, Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Apple TV, Comedy Central, Amazon Prime, FX & many more.
Jessi believes in helping actors find freedom in their work by first and foremost being themselves in their acting. Jessi guides students through activating the imagination, trusting yourself in your work, and finding fun and play. Jessi works closely with Sarah Baskin (Anthony Meindl’s Acting Studio) to further develop solid, foundational acting technique for young actors.
Jessi believes that technique is the “foundation of vocal health, stability, and growth and should be first and foremost in our development.” Jessi currently works closely with NYC’s top vocal teacher, Michael Jacobs, to further develop her advanced technical approach consisting of breathing, stretches, tension release, and placement. The ultimate goal for us as singers is to stop thinking about every step while singing because the foundation is completely reliable. If we trust the process, amazing transformations can happen!
Jessi's coaching style is to teach her students how to utilize natural talent and authentic experiences to become a character. Not only is Jessi a fantastic teacher, she is extremely dedicated, accessible and one of the biggest cheerleaders for our son. Jessi's coaching has been invaluable to our son's career and pivotal to the success he has achieved!
-Scott and Julie McDermott (Patrick McDermott's Parents), Credits: Rust and SNL
My daughter started working with Jessi Clayton in October 2019. The goal when she began was to help her prep for local musical theatre auditions. Fast forward 2 years and she is now signed with a fantastic agency and voicing the title character in Disney Jr.’s new animated series Alice’s Wonderland Bakery. Working with Jessi is a joy for both of us. Her dedication to her students is unparalleled. My daughter has grown and evolved as a performer by leaps and bounds under Jessi’s coaching. She is very knowledgeable about the industry and has built a community of experts who work collaboratively when an audition or project requires specialized skills. Jessi is an integral part of my daughter’s team and we could not imagine being on this journey without her. -Melissa Pezza (Hayley Pezza's Mother) Hayley just came off a run playing Lily St Regis in Annie JR and was recently named a title triple threat winner at Access Broadway.
-Stephanie Rue (Libby Rue Mother) , Voice of Alice in Alices Wonderland Bakery
Derrick has been working with Jessi since Spring 2020. She has helped him become a more confident actor and taught him to trust his instincts. Since working with Jessi, he has booked roles in TV, voiceover, and film (Manifest, Madagascar: A Little Wild, Tick, Tick…Boom!). She is such a committed coach and has gone above and beyond to help him prep for his self-tapes. She has made training fun and Derrick even asks for coaching if it is with Ms. Jessi. We are forever grateful for everything she has done for him.
Jessi and The Prep have helped me achieve so much in just two years! Jessi was instrumental in connecting me with Take 3 Talent Agency, who I am proud to be represented by. Jessi’s work with me on my audition helped me secure my first co-starring role in WeCrashed, streaming on Apple TV Plus! She is so supportive to all of her students; and she genuinely cares about you, not just as an actor, but a human being as well. I highly recommend her!
-Brooklyn Norstedt, Credits: WeCrashed
Working with Jessi has been such a blessing for Gabe. She has become a trusted mentor and coach who has helped Gabe consistently reach his goals over the past few years. Jessi is a constant source of support for him and for our entire family. She has answered endless questions and helped to guide us through this sometimes complicated journey. Gabe has had the pleasure of working with many of the Prep instructors who have all lead to his success and building his confidence. He consistently works with Sarah Baskin, Michael Jacobs, Bobby Cronin, Nate Begle, and Sam Lilja. We are confident Gabe will continue to grow and be inspired while working with The Prep.
-Corinne Amoroso (Gabriel Amoroso's Mother) Credits: Noah Gellman in Caroline, Or Change
We love the Prep and Jessi Clayton! My daughter has been training at the Prep for about 5 years and has learned and grown a lot as an artist and performer. Jessi is a great mentor to her and is always dedicated, available and patient. We can always count on Jessi for last minute or challenging self-tapes and auditions. She has also done a great job guiding us as parents through the intricacies of the entertainment industry. Our daughter loves working with Jessi!
-Patricia Salzman-Mitchell (Luli Mitchell's Mother) Credits: Madagascar, A Christmas Story, Bedwetter (Broadway Developmental Workshop)
Jessi is everything you could want in an acting coach! My son looks forward to every lesson with Jessi and is so sad when his session has ended!
Jessi is an exceptionally talented coach and mentor. She is able to successfully and positively communicate and teach Matthew at his level while making it fun and always leaving him feeling good about his work and progress. Her positive, gentle spirit and kind heart coupled with her extremely vast knowledge of acting technique and of the industry make it easy for Matthew to grow and improve as an actor in a meaningful way. Jessi has given Matthew the tools to access his best and achieve his goals.
Jessi is a very devoted coach who always makes time for Matthew. We know Jessi has our son’s best interest at heart and that she truly cares about him. We trust her completely.
Working with Jessi has opened many doors for him. Because of her mentoring and coaching, Matthew has received several callbacks and booked feature length films, TV Guest Stars roles, live professional theatre as well as voice over work. Under Jessi’s direction, Matthew has booked with Netflix, Disney, 20th Television/HULU, Paramount Plus, and multiple other companies.
-Meredith Lamb, (Matthew's Mother) Credits: 'Smile', 'Merrily We Roll Along', 'Only Murders in the Building'