BWW College Guide - Everything You Need to Know About AMDA in 2019/2020
With college theatre program auditions just around the corner, we're highlighting some of the country's most prestigious theatre programs and chatting with the schools' faculty to give you insight into what to expect from their programs, from audition advice to real world experience and more. Today we're looking at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Check out info on the school and answers about their programs below!
AMDA has campuses in both Los Angeles and New York City. It provides rigorous, performance-based training and an industry-focused education experience; one that inspires excellence and prepares artists with an appreciation for the universal power of transformation through art. AMDA's educational philosophy is based on close collegial interaction between instructors and students - in class, in production and through active mentorship. AMDA is committed to providing an unsurpassed performing arts education to a diverse community of creative artists. AMDA serves as both school and stage, where students are given the support and opportunity to define their own personal objectives and to develop and refine their own distinctive artistic voices.
What is the audition process for performing arts majors?
AMDA offers numerous audition opportunities year-round at both of our Los Angeles and New York City campuses, as well as throughout the country and world. Prospective students may also audition via video submission. To be eligible, you must be a junior or senior in high school or a high school graduate. For an up-to-date calendar of upcoming auditions near you, and to access specific audition preparation information, visit amda.edu/audition.
What tips can you offer to auditioning students?
Preparation is key. This is your moment to demonstrate that you are ready for an intense performing arts education experience. Read all of the audition information carefully, prepare accordingly and seek out the support and guidance of your teachers and coaches. Pick material that you feel connected to. We want to understand more about you through your work. We want to see your personal artistry and connection in addition to technique and skill. Be prepared to articulate why you want to audition and why you want to pursue the performing arts. This is your moment, own it! The day of your audition, try to relax. Remember, we are on your side and want you to succeed. Don't be intimidated by your adjudicator, they are there to help facilitate you doing your best work. If they recommend any adjustments, accept it openly and graciously. This is an opportunity for us to see what it is like to work with you. We are looking for aptitude, not perfection.
What is the approximate average class size within an arts major?
Any notable alumni you would like to mention?
Just one week after graduation, Caissie Levy was cast as Maureen in the national tour of Rent. This success catapulted her into Broadway stardom, with leading roles in Ghost, Les Misérables, Hair, Wicked, Hairspray and most recently Frozen, in which she originated the role of Elsa. Additionally, Caissie is a successful recording artist, having performed to sold-out crowds across the US, Canada and the UK.
With eleven Billboard Top 10 hits and more than 1 billion plays on Spotify, multiplatinum-selling recording singer and songwriter Jason Derulo is considered one of the decade's best-selling recording artists. He has sold over 50 million singles worldwide and has won five BMI Pop Awards. Jason recently made his acting breakthrough as Rum Tum Tugger in the critically acclaimed motion picture Cats.
Best known for his role as Mitchell Pritchett, Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in ABC's award- winning comedy "Modern Family," for which he received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He also starred on CBS's "The Class" as Richie Velch. On Broadway, Jessie starred in the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Leaf Coneybear. Additionally, Jesse played 40 different characters in the one-man show Fully Committed on Broadway, for which he won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.
Anthony Ramos has emerged as one of Broadway's and Hollywood's brightest megastars following his debut in dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the wildly successful Broadway musical Hamilton. Anthony also won a Grammy Award in 2016 for Best Theatre Album for Hamilton. In his move to the big screen, Anthony starred alongside Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born and is the lead in the American musical drama In the Heights.
As one of television's most captivating breakout stars, Madeline Brewer is known for her portrayals of Janine in Hulu's Emmy Award-winning "The Handmaid's Tale" and prison inmate Tricia Miller in Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black." Now branching out into film, Madeline is the star in the American drama Hedgehog and in Netflix's psychological horror film Cam. Madeline started her acting career immediately after graduating from AMDA by scoring the lead role in the musical Liberty.
Emmy-winning actor/composer Christopher Jackson is known for his Tony-nominated starring role as George Washington in Broadway sensation Hamilton. In addition, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Benny in In the Heights. Prior to his recent Broadway success, he played Simba in Broadway's The Lion King. Christopher released an R&B solo album, In the Name of Love, and has written music for LL Cool J, Ne-Yo, Mario and Sean Kingston. Christopher most recently starred as Chunk Palmer in the CBS drama "Bull."
Do you see more students interested in working on stage or off?
AMDA encourages and supports students in the development of their own creative voice. Our rigorous curricula allow students the opportunity to not only be immersed in their chosen discipline, but to discover and experience many other aspects of the performing arts. Programs such as The Artists' Lab, Student Vision and Project 15 provide students with creative outlets to develop their own unique projects from start to finish, which often times sparks the beginning of their careers. Although the primary focus of our programs is performance, and students come here for that foundational training, we have many alumni who have branched out into successful careers as producers, directors, choreographers, stage managers, lighting designers, stage combat coaches, filmmakers, casting directors, educators, writers, business owners - the list goes on.
What kind of real world experience outside of the classroom do you offer students during their program?
When students come to AMDA, they are immediately immersed in a culture that gives them access to the entertainment industry.
Performance Opportunities with Top Industry Artists - AMDA students and alumni are often selected to perform alongside some of the industry's most successful performing artists. Recent examples included the AMDA Choir performing with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl and AMDA Dance Theatre students performing with Kanye West at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Proximity to the Action - With campuses located in the heart of Hollywood and minutes from Broadway, students are automatically linked to the communities they wish to work in. Students are often offered free or discount tickets to Broadway shows, film screenings and entertainment industry events. From historic theaters to film and TV studios to red-carpet events, AMDA students are where the action is!
Industry Working Faculty - Most of our 300+ faculty are working professionals in their respective industries and regularly offer their real-world experience and insights to students. Through this dynamic, faculty serve as mentors and often use students and alumni in their own creative projects due to the cultivated relationships.
Production Experiences - From day one, students begin performing and have more than one hundred opportunities to do so throughout the year, equipping them with the skills and experience they need to be marketable when they graduate. AMDA utilizes professional directors, choreographers and production staff that are regularly producing work in Los Angeles and New York thereby providing students professional relationships they can continue to cultivate post-graduation.
Access to Industry Representatives - At the culmination of the AMDA BFA degree experience, students are eligible to audition and participate in a Spotlight Industry showcase, where they perform in front of agents, managers, and other industry representatives.
What kinds of things does your school do for students to help them succeed after graduation?
Part of what makes AMDA unique is that the majority of our instructors are working industry professionals. The classroom experience is likened directly to industry-standard expectations and practices for auditions, rehearsals, and/or performances. Often, students get their first job opportunities directly through their faculty and/or through faculty members' professional ties and recommendations. Additionally, AMDA has contacts and communication with many of those involved with casting or arranging auditions for a variety of Theatre, TV, Film projects. Our active Alumni Relations Department sends out alerts and notices with pertinent audition opportunities and also helps in the promotion of our alums by celebrating all their endeavors.
Alumni benefits include:
Access to accompanist sessions and audition coaching with AMDA faculty
Regular alumni workshops
Open dance and fitness classes
A Career Services Department to help connect students to opportunities and assist with resume building
Continued access to a world-class performing arts library
Continued access to rehearsal space in both NY and LA
How do you keep your program as relevant as possible to the current industry trends and how have you modernized it in recent years?
In addition to an industry-working faculty, who are always bringing their current experiences to AMDA students, as part of each student's program, there are a variety of practical courses designed to prepare students for the most current industry trends and demands. Our Career Preparation and Industry and Networking courses include audition prep and techniques as well as guest visits from outside agents, managers, casting directors, choreographers, etc. who are always communicating the most current and relevant industry practices. AMDA also adds courses and/or adjusts curriculum regularly, as needed to reflect new and important industry trends. Recently we have added special courses with a media focus that help prepare students for generating original content, self-tape auditions, reels, slates, and more
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your school and its programs?
There is a reason why aspiring artists from all over the world choose AMDA.
Ranked No. 5 on Playbill's Big 10 List of colleges with the most alumni on Broadway for the 2018-2019 season
Ranked No. 4 among the 2020 Best Colleges for Performing Arts in America, according to Niche.com
Accredited by The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)
More than $14 million in scholarships and financial resources offered each year to domestic and international students
Diverse BFA, AOS and Conservatory Certificate programs to tailor an educational
experience for you.
Be sure to apply to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy here: https://www.amda.edu/admissions/application