New York City, Australia

Where do Aussies go to sound American? Director David Bell and dialect coach Jennifer Innes turned to AccentHelp for their production of Motherf**ker with the Hat. Red Stitch Actors Theatre in Melbourne recently produced Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Broadway hit to rave reviews.

When Bell first read the script, the main thing he was attracted to was the language. “When it’s spoken with a kind of lightness and speed, it just flies – verbal fireworks.” They incorporated the dialect work from the very beginning of the process. “The writing actually makes it very easy; it just trips off the tongue.”

Bell and Red Stitch knew it was going to be a challenge casting the show. Although Melbourne is very multicultural, there is not as large of a Spanish/Latino community. They eventually cast actors from Melbourne and Sydney, an actress who had moved to New York City and came back for the production, and one person originally from Jamaica.

New York + Puerto Rican = Nuyorican Accents

Innes and Bell used the dialect as one element to bring these actors together from the same world. “I get a bit obsessive about pre-production research, and I often find my way into a production through music and the musicality of the language, so I’d been listening to a lot of Nuyorican music,” Bell said. “I had been searching for accents, and I found AccentHelp.” Bell and Innes used the New York City Latino and the New York City materials for Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Bell had actually already heard about AccentHelp from someone at his school – he teaches in the performance program at the National Theatre Drama School. “They had used the Midwest materials when they were doing Laramie Project, and they were very happy with that.” (In addition, he said one of the actors in Motherf**ker with the Hat just downloaded one of the Irish accents from AccentHelp for another upcoming production.)

The voice of Judy Garland is currently dancing in his head as he prepares to direct End of the Rainbow for the Queensland Performing Arts Center. He recently contacted me about other dialects for that production and may be utilizing the NYC sound for the role of Mickey Deans, who was originally from Garfield, New Jersey. “We’re more familiar with that stereotypical New York sound. The Nuyorican accent [from Motherf**ker with the Hat] is so much less familiar here, which made it quite a challenge.”

The reviews suggest that they were quite successful!

Jim Johnson

Jim is a tenured Full Professor of voice and dialects at the University of Houston, and he's an artistic associate with the Prague Shakespeare Company. He coaches dialects professionally at a variety of theatres, and has worked with the Prague Shakespeare Company, Houston Grand Opera, Alley Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, First Folio Shakespeare, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Stages Repertory, and Defiant Theatre. He also coached accents for the SXSW live event for the release of the final season of Game of Thrones.

Jim formerly served on the faculty of The Theatre School of DePaul University and taught at the Audition Studio in Chicago, Illinois. Jim got his MFA in Acting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework.

In addition to coaching and teaching, Jim works professionally as an actor and voiceover artist and is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Head of BFA Acting at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance where he teaches voice and accents.

You can reach him via email at He regularly coaches actors for dialects online via Skype and by recording their lines in dialect for auditions and performances on camera and on stage.  You can arrange coaching with him in person or via Skype by checking out our Private Coaching options here on the site, or you can arrange for Jim to Record Your Script in whatever accent you need.

Kate DeVore

Kate DeVore, MA, CCC-SLP, is a voice, speech, and accent trainer, a speech pathologist specializing in professional voice, and author. She operates Total Voice Inc. in Chicago, where she coaches professional voice users ranging from actors to executives. Kate has coached voice/dialects at numerous theatres, including the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lyric Opera Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Drury Lane Theatre, and A Red Orchid Theatre. She also teaches at the School at Steppenwolf, Columbia College Chicago, the Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice and Speech, Acting Studio Chicago, and teaches nationally and abroad.

Kate has served on the board of directors and as director of conferences for VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association), and is a founding member and inaugural board member for PAVA (Pan American Vocology Association), where she sits on the advisory board. She is co-author of The Voice Book: Caring For, Protecting, and Improving Your Voice (2nd ed.), and creator the self-study eBook, Accent Modification: Neutral American Dialect, available on Apple and Google platforms. You can reach her at

Michelle Lopez-Rios

Michelle Lopez-Rios is a teatrista, teacher and activist. She is an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework and a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. Voice and dialect coaching credits include: Steppenwolf, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Bad Soviet Habits, Stages Repertory Theatre, Jersey Productions, Unhinged Productions, and Unity Theatre.

She is a co-founder of the Royal Mexican Players with Alvaro Saar Rios and together they have offered workshops, devised community productions, and produced original works around the U.S. She is an Associate Professor and Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks at The Theatre School at DePaul.

Find out more at For information on private coaching, in person or by phone, e-mail her at

Carolyn Johnson

Carolyn is a dialect coach, actress and singer. She has coached regional productions of Wolf HallCuttin’ Up, Oliver!, No Child, Awake and Sing, and Red Light Winter among others. Carolyn is an Equity actress, and she has performed for years, including leading roles in Othello, End of the RainbowA Picasso, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Johnny Guitar: the Musical, This, Translations, Mr. Pim Passes By, Talley’s Folly, Enchanted April, a year-long run of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and three years with Chicago’s production of Flanagan’s Wake.  She also works as a director, including productions of Boeing Boeing, The Philadelphia Story and Last Train to Nibroc.

The Houston Chronicle named Carolyn the “Ultimate Funny Girl” of Houston in 2006, and in 2008, Chronicle readers voted her the “Ultimate Stage Actress” of Houston.