VOL. 2, NO. 1: 2014 NEW YORK + LOS ANGELES
From the West End to Broadway with
CAISSIE LEVY Getting ‘Awkward’ on MTV with
ALUMNI AND FACULTY UPDATES
FEATURES Big Breaks
When casting their own projects, AMDA faculty often turn to the alumni they helped educate.
The burgeoning teen heartthrob star of MTV’s “Awkward”
Lessons from the West End and Broadway from the star of Ghost the Musical
The Tony-winning star of Venus in Fur talks about her acclaimed roles onstage and in upcoming films.
Auditions in cities from coast to coast and around the globe
Book your audition now at amda.edu 800.367.7908
AMDA Magazine is published by
Copyright ©2014 AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited.
SUBMISSIONS, UPDATES, FEEDBACK Please send alumni updates, tips, comments or suggestions to Alumni Relations Manager Tim Valentine, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMDA DEPT. OF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS Michael Lloyd Director email@example.com 323-603-5989
Eric Almendral Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org 323-603-5907
6305 Yucca St., Los Angeles, CA 90028
ON THE COVER: NINA ARIANDA, BACKSTAGE AT THE 2012 TONY AWARDS. PHOTO BY VICTORIA WILL/CORBIS OUTLINE
CAMPUS NEWS & EVENTS NEW YORK CAMPUS AMDA CHORALE DEBUTS
AMDA alumnus Brian Burke
Director/Choreographer has “Talent”and the “X Factor.” Brian Burke graduated from AMDA New York and went straight into performing for the touring production of Tap Dogs. He quickly moved on to assist the director and choreographer and found his true calling. Brian went on to choreograph and direct a wide range of successful productions such as Celine Dion’s A New Day and La Rêve in Las Vegas. Brian is now Creative Director for “X Factor UK,” as well as Director of the recent Il Divo Wicked Game tour, “America’s Got Talent” and “Britain’s Got Talent.” Check out our full interview with Brian on the AMDA blog: amda.edu/blog
For the gig between gigs. The new AMDA Career Services Department offers career planning for non-performance positions in the entertainment industry. Use Career Services to find part-time or full-time work or jobs to supplement your performing schedule. Available positions include casting, performing arts education, production and editing. Alumna Summer Cooke recently secured a teaching position at TakeLessons, a private music school, through Career Services. Summer says, “The AMDA staff genuinely cares and reaches out to their alumni to help direct them to a career that complements our degree and focus. They give us the tools to create a steady income within our interests and open the doors for even bigger opportunities.” For more information and to sign up, go to: amda.edu/alumni/career-services/
On November 26, the recentlyformed New York AMDA Chorale performed at New York City’s largest holiday festival: the Thirteenth Annual Winter’s Eve. The 45-voice Chorale — under the leadership of Adam Eggleston AMDA Chorale performs at (Conductor) and John Znidarsic Winter’s Eve in New York City (Producer) — was long envisioned by David and Jan Martin. A Spring 2013 concert is currently being planned.
FALL 2012 ORIENTATION New AMDA New York students were treated to a host of celebrated guest speakers during their recent Orientation Week, including Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awardwinning writer David Auburn (Proof), Emmy-winning alumnus Christopher Jackson (In The Heights and Lion King on Broadway), and Tony-nominated and Drama Deskwinning choreographer/director Lynne Taylor Corbett.
LOS ANGELES CAMPUS SUMMER DANCE WORKSHOP Performed every semester, Dance Workshop features original works created by AMDA faculty, students and guest choreographers. The Summer 2012 performance — featuring the theme “Such Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” — was performed by 35 student dancers on our seasonal outdoor stage in Hollywood. Marina Benedict, Co-Chair of the Dance Theatre Department, writes, “What is so AMDA LA’s Dance Workshop wonderful about this process is that we are here to create the most effective performance we can and to learn as much as possible while doing it. There is exhaustion, but there is also a sense of accomplishment and a level of growth that is unparalleled. We become a company and we rise together as creative artists, students, designers and teachers.” Read more of her account of the Dance Workshop process on our blog.
STEPHEN KRAMER GLICKMAN VISITS — TWICE! Alumnus Stephen Kramer Glickman, current star of Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush” TV show, spoke to new students during Fall 2012 Orientation. Stephen is a successful actor, stand-up comedian, writer and film producer who also originated the title role in Shrek the Musical on Broadway. Stephen’s presentation was so successful that AMDA invited him back later in the semester to speak to current students. Stephen answered questions about his professional experiences, then treated the students to an impromptu performance of original music from Shrek, including rarely-heard early material.
AMDA alumnus Stephen Kramer Glickman
Magazine | 1
AMDA PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS
WINTER BALLS: This January, AMDA students on both
DANCE WORKSHOP: “Flight,” Los Angeles
coasts celebrated the season at our First Annual Winter Balls. Organized by Student Services, residence assistants and Student Liaison Committees, the parties gave students the chance to let loose offstage as well as mug for the cameras. They’ll be ready for the paparazzi when they graduate!
DANCE WORKSHOP PHOTOS: COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
LOS ANGELES CAMPUS
BEYOND THE FRAME: Musical Theatre Graduation Performance, New York
PHOTOS: ELIZABETH WAUGH
NEW YORK CAMPUS
When casting their own projects, AMDA faculty often turn to the alumni they helped educate. BY JULIE HAYMAN
n an industry where it’s all about what you know and who and now I’m here in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on Broadway!” you know, AMDA students can take heart. AMDA LA acting teacher Barbara Schofield, when asked why As AMDA NY Musical Theatre teacher Jay Dias explains, she often turns to AMDA alumni, says, “It’s a little selfish on my “What’s really terrific about AMDA — which separates it part, because they’re talented and they are wonderful to work from other colleges and universities in the country — is that we with because they’re trained. They’ll know how to prepare for have such a high percentage of the audition, they’ll know how the faculty who are still in the to do the audition, they’ll give a business.” For students, this good audition and then they’ll translates into teachers aware deliver when they are onstage. of the current demands of the And I know because I helped train industry and who teach from them.” Schofield has regularly experience. It also means that hired AMDA graduates for many AMDA graduates haven’t productions at several theatres in had to look far when seeking Los Angeles, including the Open professional auditions. Fist Theatre in Hollywood, where While it’s often said that alumni now make up some of the Jay Dias (far left) conducts as AMDA alumna Cecily Ellis-Bills (second from left on stage) performs Show Boat at Dallas’ Lyric Stage. at AMDA, ”students’ training permanent theatre company. starts on the first day of class,“ As choreographer on the feature Dias points out that their film Sweet Talk (starring alumna professional careers start that Natalie Zea), AMDA LA Dance first day as well. “When you teacher Tracy Silver was asked by are studying at AMDA, you are the director for recommendations in one big, wonderfully long for a role. Silver says she went audition process where you get through her “mental Rolodex” the inside track on your future and suggested alumnus Devion in the business.” Coleman, who booked the job. Dias speaks from experience. When not teaching, he serves When putting together a team for his film Falling…, AMDA LA as Musical Director of Lyric Stage in Dallas, Texas. He has Acting teacher Michael Zelniker also sought out alumni. “Given hired numerous AMDA graduates over the years to fill roles in the challenges of this particular film project and the extensive productions such as Gypsy, Oklahoma, Show Boat, Funny Girl skill set the company would have to tap into, it was necessary to and West Side Story. “It’s always a thrill to be conducting and to select artists with a sense of creative adventure… the film turned look up from the orchestra and see your former student, not as a out well beyond our highest expectations.” former student, but as a colleague.” AMDA NY alumnus and Dance teacher Casey Colgan reflects, For recent graduates, these connections are a vital way to “It’s been a part of my life for the last… I don’t want to say how quickly find professional jobs and build their resumes. They can many years! But AMDA is definitely my family. I think it remains also lead to future work, planting the roots of an active career. people’s family for the rest of their lives.” As Director and Alumna J. Elaine Marcos recalls, “My first job out of AMDA was Choreographer at the Art Center of Coastal Carolina, he has been A Chorus Line. A faculty member had recommended me for the pleased to offer roles to his fellow alumni and former students in show and right after graduation I was on the national tour. That productions such as Hairspray, Dreamgirls, The Drowsy Chaperone was my first professional job .” She has since appeared in nine and Shout. “It’s come full circle,” Colgan says. “I was once a student, Broadway shows and numerous television and film roles. now I’m on the other side of the table.” Currently, he is working Anastacia McCleskey followed a similar path. “One of the AMDA with nine AMDA alumni in a production of Anything Goes. faculty members recommended me for an audition in Hairspray. Like many AMDA teachers, Colgan plans to continue working I went to the audition, got the job and was on the first national with the school’s graduates. “If they are right for the roles, they tour for two years. From there, I moved back to New York and did are the ones I give the jobs to. I know I like working with them Tarzan, a lot of regional work, then went to do Hair last summer — and I think it’s important to keep the jobs in the family.”
“IT’S ALWAYS A THRILL TO LOOK UP FROM THE ORCHESTRA AND SEE YOUR FORMER STUDENT, NOT AS A FORMER STUDENT, BUT AS A COLLEAGUE.” — Jay Dias
Magazine | 3
BRETT DAVERN Anything but awkward BY CARINA MACKENZIE
here are plenty of markers for success in the entertainment industry, but if you’re on a teen TV show in 2012, having your own social media hashtag is a pretty good indicator. A Twitter or Tumblr search for #TeamJake will turn up legions of fans of AMDA alumnus Brett Davern, whose character on the hit MTV show “Awkward,” Jake Rosati, has won the hearts of the viewers — if not his on-screen love interest. On his way to achieving teen heartthrob status — thanks to the refreshing series — grad Davern credits much of his success to AMDA. What made you decide to go to AMDA as opposed to a liberal arts college? I went to a theatre camp in upstate New York during high school, and the friends I made at camp were young, working actors in New York already. I’d go back to Seattle and see them on “Law & Order.” I wanted to be an actor, and I wanted to be in New York. General education wasn’t for me. After high school, I found out AMDA was having auditions in Seattle. The rest is history.
AMDA alumnus Brett Davern
“THE BEING YOURSELF PART ISN’T TEACHABLE, AND THAT’S THE HARD STUFF.”
You’ve been working steadily for six years. Do you still find yourself applying things you learned at AMDA in your day-to-day work? I think back to Ray Virta’s acting class all the time. I learned a lot from him about using the world around you to inform your acting. Some days, we’d just read the New York Times and talk philosophically about life. I often find myself thinking back to his teachings about grounding your work in reality. Once you graduated and had your training, you actually had to go out there and get a job. What were your first few months out of school like? I got my first manager through AMDA. I’d actually met him at camp, but he didn’t remember that. [Laughs] I did. He came to the AMDA showcase and said “Hey! I want to start sending you out!” I went on really beginner auditions — commercials, nonunion educational films, radio voiceovers. You pound the pavement and stick with it. Your first gig was playing William Hurt’s son in Beautiful Ohio, directed by Chad Lowe. How did you react to being thrown in with industry veterans like that? After the initial audition I didn’t hear back for what felt like a month. Finally, the call that I got was, “You got the final callback, and you’re reading opposite William Hurt with Chad Lowe and Hilary Swank in the room.” I went over the sides with an AMDA classmate, and he said, “Don’t be nervous. Even if you don’t get it,
you can just put down that you had a master class with William Hurt on your resume!” That took the pressure off. It was amazing to be on set with those guys. I was like a little puppy dog, following William Hurt around. “William! William! What was it like when you got your first movie?” Coming from AMDA, you must have been well-prepared for the acting side of things. Was there anything that caught you off guard about being on a teen show? You can do acting classes your whole life, but the classes that they don’t have are press, and red carpet stuff, and going to the MTV Video Music Awards. The being yourself part isn’t teachable, and that’s the hard stuff. You just got picked up for Season 3. Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? As actors you hear “no” a lot. All you want is that first “yes.” Then that yes is a callback, and you’re all excited, but that’s not enough — then you want the first job. When you finally get a job, you’re like, “Man, now we’ve got to get Season 2!” You’re insatiable, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s validating to have the fans be so supportive, but I don’t think it’s really clicking yet. I hope it never does.
A sampling of fan #TeamJake, #JakeRosati and #BrettDavern GIF posts from Tumblr.
Magazine | 5
PHOTO: JOAN MARCUS
Alumna Caissie Levy in the Broadway production of Ghost the Musical
Bringing Ghost to life on the West End and Broadway BY DAVE STEINFELD
rom looking at her resume, it appears that alumna Caissie Levy doesn’t know the meaning of the word “rest.” In the decade since she graduated, Levy has worked in musical theatre almost nonstop, performing on both coasts as well as on London’s West End, in shows such as Rent, Wicked and Hair. She originated the role of Molly (Demi Moore’s role, for you film buffs) in Ghost the Musical on the West End before taking it to Broadway earlier this year. We recently caught up with this musical dynamo to discuss her flourishing career and working on both sides of the Atlantic. What was it like originating Molly in Ghost, a role that a lot of theatregoers are familiar with because of the popular 1990 film? It was a huge challenge but something I was really ready to do. Most of my career’s been replacing [other actors] in big hits. This is the first time I put my stamp on a character from start to finish. And it was thrilling. When you originate, you really come to understand how much of an actor’s contributions end up in the final product. So the people that play the role after you are singing a note because you did it in rehearsal and they said, “Let’s keep that,” or crossing from one side of the stage to the other because that was your instinct as an actor. In that way, it was very fulfilling. What are some of the differences between performing on Broadway and the West End? The major difference is the audience, and what sells in the West End versus what sells on Broadway. I’ve now done two shows in the West End so I know more than I would have if I had just done Ghost. I did Hair there; they took the entire Broadway cast over to London for about five months. In New York, we won the Tony and were the hit of the season. When we went to London, it was not a huge sell and it was not a financial success. With Ghost, in the West End it was a huge hit — standing ovations every night, which is incredibly rare in England. And then coming to Broadway, we faced more of an uphill climb with critics and the marketing. We closed earlier than anticipated because of that. So the shows that become hits in London aren’t
necessarily what [become] hits in New York, and vice-versa. In the 10 years since you graduated from AMDA, what is the credit you’re proudest of aside from Ghost and Hair? I think the most exciting was my first job [in the national tour of Rent]. You know, you’re coming out of school and you don’t know if you’re going to work. I was very tenacious about auditioning throughout my last semester; I was going on cattle calls every day. The week I graduated, I found out I got cast as Maureen. That was unbelievable. Right away, I went on the road for seven months with that show and I really learned how to be a pro! It’s such a special show. Rent and Hair are like two cult shows that mean so much to the generations that grew up with them. And the fact that I’ve done both is really fortunate.
“THE WEEK I GRADUATED, I FOUND OUT I GOT CAST AS MAUREEN [IN RENT]. THAT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.”
You grew up in Canada. What was it like when you first came to Manhattan? Was there any culture shock? [Laughs.] Oh yeah! It was insane. I didn’t know a single person in New York. How my parents ever let me go I’ll never know. But they drove me down to New York when I was 19. There was a lot of culture shock. I felt like I had a huge advantage, even though it was a bit harder than being on a [traditional] college campus, because I knew New York by the time I was graduating. I knew where to go to get my sheet music, I knew who to go to for voice lessons, I knew my way around so I could find auditions. It’s overwhelming when you first graduate and you’re out there on your own. I felt because of AMDA that I was very prepared to audition and very prepared to manage New York, which was a huge help in actually getting work. It’s only been two weeks since Ghost closed. Do you have another project lined up or are you going to take some rare downtime? There’s no specific downtime. I’m auditioning like crazy, but mostly for television and film right now. Just lots of auditioning. I’m back and forth between LA and New York quite a bit, trying to see what’s out there. Yes, taking a bit of a break, but always looking for the next job!
Magazine | 7
THE TONYWINNING TALE OF
LABELS SUCH AS “UP AND COMING” FALL SHORT WHEN DESCRIBING NINA ARIANDA, whose rise to prominence on the New York theatre scene has been nothing less than “meteoric.” In the short time since her Off-Broadway debut in 2010, Arianda has been showered with awards and rave reviews for her ability to transform into and inhabit the most complex of characters. She made Tony Award history, and swiftly won the praise and admiration of some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Yet Arianda’s accomplishments and body of work only hint at what’s to come as she moves from the stage to high-profile film roles. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 »
BY JOSE MARTINEZ
Magazine | 9
PHOTO: VICTORIA WILL/CORBIS OUTLINE
NINA ARIANDA (CONTINUED) »
“I’D NEVER READ SOMETHING AND BEEN SO ENTHRALLED BY WHERE A CHARACTER COULD GO.” — Nina Arianda
he daughter of Ukranian immigrants, Nina Arianda was born in Manhattan but raised in nearby Clifton, New Jersey. Playtime for young Nina was never a distraction; it was serious work, even at the age of three. While most children play dress up and make believe with their toys, Arianda had her dolls reenact Les Misérables — the first Broadway show she’d seen — in its entirety. Arianda’s lifelong love of performance led her to AMDA’s Studio Program, where she studied in the Conservatory before graduating in 2004. She continued her training and education, eventually earning an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program. In 2010, she debuted Off-Broadway in the lead role of Vanda (an aspiring actress engaged in a fierce psychosexual struggle with her director) in Venus in Fur. In his notes on her audition sheet, the show’s director Walter Bobbie called Arianda, “the real thing,” declaring her, “bold, sexy, funny.” The performance was immediately buzzworthy, the biggest debut splash on New York stages in many years. Director David Hughes told The New Yorker that seeing Arianda perform for the first time was “what it must have been like to walk into the Lion and see Barbra Streisand in 1960… There was so much fire coupled
with so much technique.” Hughes was so taken with Arianda that he cast her in her Broadway debut, the lead role of Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, starring opposite James Belushi and Robert Sean Leonard. The critical and audience raves were unprecedented. After the show’s premiere, stage and screen veteran Liza Minnelli took Arianda’s hand and proclaimed, “This woman has just changed Broadway.” Arianda earned her first Tony Award nomination for the fiery, head-turning performance. Other accolades followed, including an Outer Critics Circle Award, being named 2011 Stage Star of the Year by New York Magazine and leading Forbes Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30” list in entertainment. A mere year later, Arianda became the youngest actress in Tony Awards history to receive back-to-back nominations. She ultimately took home the statue for Best Actress in a Lead Role for reprising the role of Vanda in the Broadway run of Venus in Fur. In her memorable Tony acceptance speech, a beaming and blushing Arianda showed that her runaway success is tempered with charm. She confessed to presenter Christopher Plummer that he was her first crush. Now one of the most talked about and sought-after actors in New York, Arianda
has turned in solid film performances in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Win Win, and Tower Heist, as well as television appearances in “The Good Wife” and “30 Rock.” Arianda is slated to grace the big screen in 2013 as Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini’s wife and muse in Fellini: Black and White, starring opposite a cast of heavy hitters including Peter Dinklage and Oscar nominees William H. Macy and Terrence Howard. She has also been cast as Janis Joplin in the highly anticipated biopic Janis, in which she’ll perform the iconic rocker’s songs. (Such well-known stars as Pink and Zooey Deschanel were also reportedly considered for the coveted title role.) When did you know that you wanted to be a performer and how did you go about it? It started very early when I was young playing make believe. It was just a little out of hand. Believe me, I took playtime very seriously. I started studying and going to classes very young. What’s the most important lesson you learned at AMDA? The fear of God was put in me by the program. I’m already meticulous about approaching the work, and you can never be too prepared, but at some point you do have to let go and just play.
PHOTO: JOAN MARCUS
Arianda with Venus in Fur costar Hugh Dancy
on her Tony-winning Venus in Fur role
As a young actress, how did you support yourself in between gigs? I was a hostess. I sold shoes. I have cleaned bathrooms in theaters in Germany; sold wine in theaters; and sold tickets. I did anything I had to. Talk about the importance of preparation yet accepting that some things are just out of your control. You are in control and you’re not. It’s super-important to be on top of that. You can’t act technique but that takes over if you don’t have it. You booked your first two Broadway roles without ever getting a callback. I have an insatiable appetite to work. Every audition is different but once you enter the room you can’t have any doubt, unless it’s part of the character. It’s all about your character. You have to make the strong choices and go with whatever honors the person you’re representing. When a role in something like Venus in Fur becomes available, how do you prepare to compete against so many others? I never saw her, I just felt her. You know you’re off book [during the audition]. You’re using your entire self as a means of communication. You have to personalize it and always be flexible in the room. You really seemed to take to Vanda. I’d never read something and been so enthralled by where a character could go. She’s one of the strongest female parts that I’ve ever read. She is so committed to everything she does and says. She really lives it.
PHOTO: CAROL ROSEGG
You spent nearly three years with Vanda. Did you ever get tired of her? It was so challenging because she was such a mystery. I never stopped learning something new. I still don’t think I learned everything about her. You’ve received such great praise for your stage work. How aware are you of the reviews and critics? I didn’t read any of the reviews. The important thing to me is the relationship with the audience. That’s what matters; what’s happening in the moment. Even with good reviews, it doesn’t change the
Arianda with James Belushi in Born Yesterday
fact that you still have to work at night. Nobody tells you that. Woody Allen cast you in Midnight in Paris after seeing Venus in Fur. What was it like working with him? It was just wonderful, not only being in Paris for three weeks but working with such generous actors was incredible. I didn’t know what the full story was until I saw the film, but you realize Woody Allen trusts you to build the character, which is stressful because you don’t want to take Woody Allen’s trust for granted. It was also really exciting. Who are your role models? My mother. I also really like Uta Hagen and, of course, Meryl Streep. I was really involved with the program at HB Studio [where Uta Hagen served as artistic partner]. As far as women, especially in New York, there are so many that are willing to be role models. It’s a blessing to be an artist in New York. Filmmaker Mike Nichols compared your Off-Broadway debut to Meryl Streep. Is that the sort of thing you can’t think about or something you aspire to live up to? I don’t know what to do with that! That’s a big statement. I feel very grateful. She has been my idol my entire life. I saw Mother Courage in the park and Meryl Streep’s skirt touched my leg, and I was like, “I can’t wash these pants.” Have you met her? I have and she couldn’t have been nicer to me.
How do theatre and film differ for you? I love the satisfaction from theatre — that immediate response. You don’t get that in film. In film, you do it and that’s it. There’s no immediate feedback. You’re not in control and that can make you insecure. It’s a great tool. I’m still learning in theatre and film, moment by moment. What do you look for in a role? It depends — most important is that the story is interesting. There are parts that aren’t the biggest but they help tell the story. Like your role in Tower Heist? How could I not want to do that? But it comes down to the story. I love a really cool ensemble piece. Do you have a dream role? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf would be really exciting. That’s something I would really love to do. I just love working. There are many different things I would love to do. You’ll be playing Fellini’s muse in Fellini: Black & White. I’ll be playing Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina. Anybody who has watched his films should be familiar with her. She came from a clown background. She was a very strong woman — I’d say beautiful and typically Italian. It will be a great challenge to play her. What do you hope people take away from a project of yours? Anybody’s goal is to make you think in some way. I would like to be as honest as possible.
Magazine | 1 1
ALUMNI UPDATES AMDA is proud of our alumni making a significant impact on the world today, whether teaching in Kansas City or starring in a Broadway show! This is just a small sampling of recent AMDA alumni performances and accomplishments. Look for our coming newsletter with more updates. ON BROADWAY
APRYL HIGGINS The Rainbow Fish (Rainbow Fish)
GENSON BLIMLINE Rock of Ages (Lonny) JOHN EDWARDS Jersey Boys (Hal Miller) JENNY FLORKOWSKI Wicked (Swing/Nessarose/ Midwife u/s) ALBERT GUERZON Mamma Mia (Eddie) DUSTYN GULLEDGE Lucky Guy (Dino Tortoricci) BOBBY HEDGLIN-TAYLOR Chaplin (tightrope trainer) J. ELAINE MARCOS Annie (Lily) Fall 2012 KRISTEN MARTIN Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (Ensemble u/s Mary Jane Watson, Miss Arrow) RALPH MEITZLER Rock of Ages (Swing) MICHAEL MINDLIN Bring It On (Ensemble) ALEXANDER QUIROGA Wicked (Ensemble, u/s Witch’s Father and Ozian Offical) CHRISTOPHER SIEBER Chicago (Billy Flynn) HANNAH SLOAT War Horse (Young Joey, Annie Gilbert and Ensemble; u/s Emilie) TEDDY TOYE Bring It On (Swing) NEKA ZANG Rock of Ages (Ensemble)
NATIONAL TOURS MICAH J. COWER Shrek The Musical (Ensemble/ Swing) ZAC DENHAM Seussical the Musical (Cat in the Hat) BRENT DIROMA Jersey Boys (Ensemble) MICHELE DUMOULIN Scooby Doo Live (Velma) TALITHA FARROW Book of Mormon (Swing, u/s Nabulangi) LUIS FIGUEROA Wicked (Ensemble) DANIELLE GONZALEZ Rock of Ages (Ensemble u/s Waitress, Constance, Young Groupie)
JON HOCHE War Horse (Head Puppeteer of Topthorn) STEPHEN MICHAEL KANE Rock of Ages (Franz) DANIEL LECLAIRE Book of Mormon (Elder Smith) CHRISTIAN MARRINER Shrek the Musical (Lord Farquaad) JULIAN MCCLEARY Elvis Lives (Ensemble) EMILY PADGETT Flashdance – The Musical (Alex)
AMDA alumnus Christian Marriner as Lord Farquaad in the national tour of Shrek the Musical
MATHEW PRIEUR Elvis Lives (Ensemble) GEENA QUINTOS A Chorus Line (Connie) CHRISTIE SCHWARTZMAN Rock for Ages (Ensemble/ Swing/u/s Sherrie, Regina) JACOB SMITH Rock of Ages (Dennis) STEPHANIE TORNS Wicked (Elphaba Standby) JASON WISE Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Carpet/Young Prince)
FILM AND TV RENEE BANG ALLEN “Higher Education” (Conor’s mom) CBS NINA ARIANDA “30 Rock” (Zarina Sbarro) JOHN PAUL BATISTA “Glee” (recurring member of The Adam’s Apples) Fox JEFF BRANSON “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (Mr. Davari) CBS “CSI: NY” (Andy Stein) CBS BAILEY BUNTAIN “Bunheads” (Ginny) ABC Family “The Middle” ABC
JULIA DENNIS The Stand Up(film) “Deadliest Sins” Discovery ADAM DINGEMAN “Glee” (recurring member of The Adam’s Apples) Fox “Lab Rats” (Kevin Stone) Disney Channel JESSE TYLER FERGUSON “Modern Family” (Mitchell Pritchett) ABC STEPHEN KRAMER GLICKMAN “Big Time Rush” (Gustavo Rocque) Nickelodeon
CHRYSSIE WHITEHEAD “Private Practice” ABC (Dana Nelson) MARISSA JARET WINOKUR “Retired at 35” (Amy Robins) NATALIE ZEA “The Following” (Claire Mathews) Fox “Justified” (Winona Hawkins) FX
ELLIOT GREER “Glee” (ice skating coach)
CADE BITTNER SurvivorCD
NATALIE HALL “Pretty Little Liars” (Kate Randall)
MAKENZIE CAINE Take This TownCD
STEFNE MERCEDES “Call Me Fitz” (Iris) HBO Canada GRETCHEN MOL “Boardwalk Empire” (Gillian) HBO COURTNEY O’REILLY “Redrum Investigation” Discovery
CHRISTINA CALPH “Made in Jersey” (Crystal) CBS
MEREDITH PATTERSON “Made in Jersey” (Sarah Jenkins)
VICTORIA CARTAGENA “Blue Bloods” CBS Blowtorch(film)
ALICIA SABLE “Louie” (college girl) Franny (salesgirl)
MARLON CORREA Folklore (Joshua Farfan) “NCIS: LA” (Sal) CBS “Harry’s Law” (Bailiff) NBC
JAKE SPECK “Nashville” (Steve) ABC
BRETT DAVERN “Awkward” (Jake Rosati) MTV
SAM UNDERWOOD “Zero Hour” (Martin Krupp) ABC A New York Love Story (featured role)
LEE TERGESEN “The Big C” (Kirby) Showtime BECCA TOBIN “Glee” (Kitty) Fox
MARTI GOULD CUMMINGS “Real Girl” Single TONI DOLCE IntroductionCD CAISSIE LEVY With YouEP (Ghost The Musical benefit release for Stand Up to Cancer) HEATHER MAE Gonna Be AlrightCD SETH MORGAN Gonna Come DownEP NICHOLAS NACE QuerenciaCD (with his band A Brief View of the Hudson) MEREDITH PATTERSON Little Did I Ever DreamEP OSCAR UGALDE “Believe” Single
FACULTY UPDATES AMDA’s New York and Los Angeles faculty respresent some of the finest professionals in the performing arts world. Below are some examples of our faculty’s recent credits and work — experience that they bring to the classroom and pass on to our students. NEW YORK FACULTY MICHELLE BRUCKNER DANCE Directed children’s theatre at Helen Hayes Theater, New York JEFF CALDWELL VOICE Stage Director for Handel’s Almira, New York City CASEY COLGAN DANCE Directed Anything Goes at Art Center of Coastal Carolina DAN DAILY ACTING Figaro (Dr. Bartholo) at Pearl Theatre Company, New York JAY DIAS MUSIC THEATRE Music Director at Lyric Theatre, Dallas MARTIN C. HURT VOICE Sweeney Todd (Beadle Branford) at Portland Center Stage BILLY JOHNSTONE DANCE Directed the Brazilian Company of FAME – The Musical, Sao Paulo, Brazil JAMES KICHLER DANCE Created new tap choreography for The American Ballet Theatre production of Rodeo JONATHON LYNCH PIANIST Composer for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writers’ Workshop, New York KATIE MEBANE DANCE The Addams Family (Ancestor; u/s Wednesday) national tour JENNY MERCEIN ACTING Guest roles on “30 Rock” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS) and “Unforgettable” (CBS) MARCIA MILGROM DODGE MUSIC THEATRE Director and Choreographer for Suessical The Musical for TheatreWorks USA Director and Choreographer for Sense and Sensibility The Musical at Denver Center Theatre CARINE MONTBERTRAND VPS Recorded audiobook Flame of Resistance by Gracy Groot
DAVID ANDREWS ROGERS MUSIC THEATRE Musical Director and Conductor for Fiddler on the Roof national tour
AMDA LA Dance faculty member Wendy Rosoff in The Full Monty
PETER M. SUSSER SIGHT-SINGING Taught master classes and lectured at Beijing Dance Academy and Xi’an Conservatory of Music in China. NIC THOMPSON DANCE Mary Poppins (Ensemble) on Broadway SAM UNDERWOOD DANCE The Picture of Dorian Gray (Dorian Gray) at Sonnet Reperatory Theatre, New York ELISA VAN DUYNE DANCE Crazy for You (Irene Roth) at Wells Fargo Pavilion, Sacramento JENA VANELSLANDER Jack Cole Project (performer) at Queens Theatre, New York ROBERT VEST VOICE Songwriter with two songs available on iTunes: “Santa Goes Boating” and “Never Let Go,” which is featured in the indie film Married And Counting RAY VIRTA ACTING An Enemy of the People (Townsperson) on Broadway JOHN ZNIDARSIC MTP Directs, hosts and produced Broadway’s Future Songbook series at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
MARINA BENEDICT DANCE Guest role on “True Blood” (HBO)
VICKI LEWIS MUSIC THEATRE Recurring role on “Doll and Em”(HBO UK)
NICOLE BERGER DANCE Choreography for “Happy Endings” (ABC)
YUSUF NASIR DANCE Principal Dancer, David Foster’s Christmas Special (PBS) Commercial for Sensa
JENNICE BUTLER VPS Commercial for Sam’s Club ALEXIS CARRA DANCE Guest role on “The Mentalist” (CBS) Commercials for Jif and South Beach Diet Bars KRISTEN CHANDLER MUSIC THEATRE Choreographer for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Cabrillo Music Theatre, Thousand Oaks, CA Director and Choreographer for Chess at Alex Theatre, Glendale, CA
LOS ANGELES FACULTY
TOM CHRISTENSEN IMPROV Guest roles on “2 Broke Girls” (CBS), “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23” (ABC) and “Happy Endings” (ABC) Stars in a new play, Happy Face, Sad Face at Lillian Theater in Hollywood
BERNARD ADDISON VPS Commercial for Florida Orange Juice
BARRY FINKEL DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION Guest role on “2 Broke Girls” (CBS)
DR. GARINEH “GAGA” AVAKIAN INDIVIDUAL VOICE/ MUSICIANSHIP The Mikado (Katisha) at Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, CA Fifth Annual AGBU NYSEC Performing Artist Concertat Carnegie Hall
EVE GORDON ACTING Recurring roles on “Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23” (ABC), “Hart of Dixie” (CW) and “American Horror Story” (AMC) Guest roles on “Mad Men” (AMC), “Newsroom” (HBO), “Scandal” (ABC) and “NCIS” (CBS)
GIOVANNI ORTEGA VPS Wrote the play Allos: The Story of Carlos Bulosan, which will be produced at CIRCA Pintig, Chicago New book release, Leaves from the Silverlake Barrio WENDY ROSOFF DANCE The Full Monty (Vicky) at Third Street Theatre, Los Angeles KARLY ROTHENBERG IMPROV Guest roles on “Go On” (NBC) and “Justified” (FX) LESLIE STEVENS DANCE Guest roles on “Touch” (FOX) and “Justified” (FX) Choreographed a production of Spring Awakening at Cal State University at Northridge Wrote libretto for original variation of The Magic Flute for the Los Angeles Opera CHRYSSIE WHITEHEAD DANCE Recurring role as Dana Nelson on “Private Practice” (ABC) MICHAEL ZELNIKER ACTING Received “Best of Festival Award” at Indie Fest USA International Film Festival for his original film, Falling…
Magazine | 1 3
AMDA Career Services offers our alumni career planning and job placement in non-performance positions in arts and entertainment. Full-time and part-time jobs available in New York, Los Angeles and beyond. Positions include administrative, casting, performing arts education, production and editing.
Career Services is a pivotal tool for alumni; I recommend contacting them today. There is no downside, just more people in your corner â€“ and that is always a key component for success. AMDA ALUMNA
Placed at Students Live; now training to be a Directing Teacher for Broadway theatre workshops
Put AMDA Career Services to work for you at amda.edu/careerservices/
Published on Apr 21, 2013
The magazine of the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, featuring Tony Award-winning alumna Nina Arianda, Brett Davern of...