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Exit, stage left: Andi Matheny says goodbye

Bill DeYoung

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Andi Matheny and husband Tom Flynn are leaving St. Petersburg for New York City. "We’ve always loved New York, and we always told ourselves that one day we could end up there. And we decided that this was going to be the day." Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Just as suddenly as she arrived in St. Petersburg in 2010, Andi Matheny is hitting the bricks, bound for New York City.

“There is no plan,” explains the actress, writer, producer and director who spent two decades doing film and TV work in California before establishing a successful acting school in St. Pete.

“Just as I had no plans moving to St. Petersburg, I have no plans moving to New York,” Matheny says.

But moving she is, on the arm of her husband, screenwriter Tom Flynn (Gifted, Togo). The Andi Matheny Acting Studios, her Central Avenue home for 11 years, has folded its tent.

“It was absolutely wonderful here,” she gushes. “But at the same time my husband and I really crave change. And about every 10 years seems to be our pattern that we make some sort of change. Yes, I have asked myself several times if I’m an idiot for walking away from this thriving acting studio – but the truth is the pandemic has taught me that I can teach acting from almost anywhere.

“The online classes were actually doing very well. I was very lucky that I was able to keep my business going during the pandemic – I realize that not everybody was as lucky.”

Andi Matheny Acting Studios was known for – among other things – helping budding thespians prepare “video auditions,” the contemporary method of getting in front of (and impressing) casting directors from productions in Florida and nearby states.

Still, she explains, “We always knew that Florida was not going to be our forever destination. I started the acting studio, and that became an unexpected big success. And my husband re-invented his career as well. So we both really blossomed here, but at the same time we knew that we would eventually move on some day.”

Writers can, of course, write from pretty much anywhere – so Flynn, who has a working laptop, is covered. And Matheny’s first order of business will be to finish editing the acting instructional books she starting writing in St. Pete, a five-year project she’s more than ready to share with the world.

As for now …. “I will be taking a sabbatical for a while. And the future is TBD, stay tuned.”

Her Los Angeles resume includes guest spots on dozens of popular series including The Mentalist, Monk, Rules of Engagement, Zoey 101, Ugly Betty and Grace Under Fire.

With Eugenie Bondurant in “Good Morning St. Pete!,” available on Amazon Prime.

During her St. Petersburg years, Matheny appeared in several regionally-made series and movies; she also wrote, directed and starred in the hilarious short film Good Morning St. Pete!

“I do love to travel,” she says. “And I traveled a lot from Florida to Atlanta, working on a ton of jobs up there. I imagine I will be doing the exact same thing.”

And she’s ready for the New York winters. “I will be traveling from 80 degree weather to 30 degree weather, but I like that,” she explains. “I like seasons. I like wearing coats. I like cold weather. So for me, that’s not a negative, that’s a positive.”

The hardest part, Matheny stresses, has been bidding farewell to her students.

“When we first made this decision, I definitely went to a deep period of mourning. This was months before I told the first person what our plans were. My students were really the highlight of Florida for me. The people here are so incredibly sweet. And there’s a sense of welcoming, and a sense of being appreciated. In Los Angeles, people aren’t like that.

“That was the thing I feel made me thrive here. Being in a different geographical location from my students was a very difficult decision for me. And as I told them, I may be in a different city but I’m never going to not be their acting teacher.

“I will always be available to them. I will eventually be teaching online classes again. And they can even buy an airplane ticket, and we’ll do a weekend workshop in New York City, and go see a play! So there you go.”

July 6, 2020:

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