MFA professor Welker White plays Jimmy Hoffa’s wife alongside Al Pacino.

The new Martin Scorsese film “The Irishman” features Scorsese regulars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci along with Al Pacino working with the director for the first time. But, the epic about hitman Frank Sheeran, the Buffalino crime family, and Jimmy Hoffa also features another familiar face with Brooklyn College ties.

Welker White, who plays Hoffa’s wife opposite Pacino, has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in acting in Brooklyn College’s Department of Theater since 2009. It is the same program she earned her MFA in Directing from in 2010. While she is no stranger to other big budget Scorsese productions—she portrayed the babysitter Lois Byrd in “Good Fellas” and a waitress in “The Wolf of Wall Street”—it was the small and intimate classes in the Brooklyn College Department of Theater that she says helped shape her as a teacher, her other great passion alongside acting.

“I started my training at NYU’s Tisch program, but left before getting my degree as I began working professionally as an actor quite young. I went back to school and completed a bachelor’s degree in theatre studies through the CUNY Baccalaureate program in my mid 30s, doing most of my coursework at Brooklyn College. It was then that I was introduced to the wonderful energy and supportive environment of the theatre department here. I enjoyed being back in an academic setting so much I decided to pursue my master’s degree. Finding the M.F.A. directing program at Brooklyn College really set me on what is now a very fulfilling parallel track of teaching as well as acting.”

White credits the intimacy of the theatre program at Brooklyn College as a draw for both students and faculty. Brooklyn College’s dedication to the arts is reflected in the fact it supports a Theater Department with undergraduate and graduate programs in theater, acting, design technical theater; as well as graduate programs in theater history criticism, directing, performance interactive media arts, and performing arts management.

Brooklyn College also boasts the newly opened Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts that meets the needs of the Department of Theater and the Conservatory of Music, now housed in the Center. Students and faculty also have access to an array of modern stage lighting and sound technology, a fully functioning costume shop, state of the art mainstage and black box theaters, and design studios. Another newly minted creative gem located off campus that students interested in pursuing a career in performance can utilize is the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema—the only public graduate school in the nation located on a working film lot.

Second year Brooklyn College M.F.A. acting student Mike Magliocca studies under White and said her instruction is congruous with her own acting.

“She brings a level of professional acting experience that we appreciate,” Magliocca said. “She will even tell us what type of direction she received under someone like Scorsese. It gives us all an inside look at what that experience is like and makes us more prepared.”

Brooklyn College’s deep alumni base also sets it apart, as does its access to strong professionalized faculty. The fulltime and adjunct faculty all have impressive and substantial professional reputations and impact in the performing and media arts. In addition to White, Brooklyn College has produced a wealth of all star talent, including actor Jimmy Smits; film director, screenwriter, and actor, Paul Mazursky; actor Dominic Chianese; director Joel Zwick, film producer Neil Meron; and talent agent Don Buchwald. Other Brooklyn College acting faculty White says inspired her, include cinema and stage actor Mark Blum, who has worked extensively both on and off-Broadway, as well as on film and television in productions such as Succession,” “Mozart in The Jungle,” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” among others.

Kip Marsh has been the chair for Brooklyn College Theater Department for nine years. He said the facilities, faculty, along with the College’s internships and partnerships with the likes of the Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s LAByrinth Theater Company, give students an experience they cannot get at other programs. It is also regularly ranked among some of the best programs in New York.

“Our comprehensive terminal M.F.A. and B.F.A. offerings make us particularly unique, as well as our emphasis in providing a robust production environment that brings all of our students together to produce our season of plays,” March said. “In addition to that, a strong collaboration with our M.F.A playwriting program, one of the best in the nation, allows us to develop and produce new plays as part of our pedagogy. It allows our actors, directors, designers, technicians and playwrights to collaborate to make new work together as a collaborative event. Being located in Brooklyn makes it especially attractive. The overall educational experience is simply unrivaled for the value.

Geovonday Jones is a 2019 graduate of the M.F.A. Acting program, who hails from St. Louis. He is currently working as an actor and coming off a run of play he did with the Ancram Opera House.

He said the M.F.A. acting program helped him navigate the sometimes uncertain field with skill and precision.

“Brooklyn College’s M.F.A. acting program gave me the tools and knowledge of how to use those tools to benefit my craft,” Jones said. “it helped me develop a disciplined practice that I can utilize in real time, by marrying the practical with the theoretical aspects of the actor’s work. Faculty like Judylee Vivier helped develop such a program where this is possible. By bringing on teachers like White, we were set up to succeed from day one.”

Jones described studying his craft under White like “a bolt of lightning that hugs you after the jolt.”

“Her approach is completely open and welcoming. She knows how to get the best out of each individual without pretense, or tearing the student down, and dismissal like teachers of the old school did. Old school acting teachers and coaches abused their students in an effort to “push” them. She pushes her students but with a mindful and helpful approach. She’s disciplined and honest, with a no-holds-barred approach and her feedback is straight forward. However, there is never a doubt that she has your best interest at heart; each and every bit of feedback she offers come from that genuine part of herself.”

Fellow Brooklyn College M.F.A. acting graduate Schann Mobley (’17) moved from Kentucky nearly five years ago to pursue her acting career. She was recently cast as “Pam Cohen” in the film “AFTER CLASS” starring Justin Long, Fran Drescher, and Richard Schiff. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be released in theaters in December. She also is currently under an option to coadapt the book “90 Brothers and Sisters” by Lenore DePree to a feature film.

She agreed that the training at Brooklyn College taught her how to prepare and instilled the discipline required to develop her craft.

“I had the space and support there to experiment with different ways into finding a character,” Mobley said. “The rigorous work, and even the failures, prepared me for the juggle of life as an actor in New York City. Professor White taught me so much about the specific craft of acting for the camera that I had never had before. Working with her completely changed the way I prepare for this type of work, specifically and made my approach so much more specific and grounded. I have been a film lover for as long as I can remember, and Scorsese has obviously been an icon for me. Working with her was like a bridge between my dreams and reality. Every single class is a slice of real world application. I always looked forward to this class because it was designed to accurately reflect the film and television industry as much as possible.”