Rising to the top of the entertainment world is incredibly rewarding, but getting there requires more than just natural talent. You need discipline, determination and – most importantly – the right training. That’s where AMDA comes in. Because for over 50 years, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy has been transforming talented performers from across the country and around the world into well-respected, working professionals.
At AMDA, you'll get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience legendary conservatory training in the two artistic capitals of the world. Whether you study in Los Angeles or New York City (or both), as an AMDA student you become part of a thriving community of artists. Your classmates are talented performers from every corner of the globe. Your teachers are the best and brightest professionals in the industry. You begin performing on your very first day of class. Every moment is designed to support and enhance your individual development as an artist.
If you're willing to put your heart and soul into what you do, AMDA is the place for you. As you take bold steps toward your future, we'll guide and support you. As you begin to transform your unique talents into a rewarding career, we'll be there for you every step of the way. Generations of outstanding alumni have proven that success is the rule at AMDA, so you'll be in great company. From the silver screen to the stage and beyond, the possibilities for your future are boundless.
Liza Minnelli and
AMDA's Artistic Director, David Martin
The History of AMDA
Celebrating nearly 50 years as one of America’s premier conservatories for the performing arts, AMDA is recognized throughout the industry for its rich history and tradition of launching some of the most successful careers in theatre, film and television.
Founded in 1964 by Philip H. Burton – the actor and instructor best known for helping launch the career of his adopted son, Richard Burton – AMDA was born with a simple but powerful idea: to create a school run by professional performers, for performers. Emerging from the vibrant arts scene of 1960s Manhattan, the school quickly established itself as an integral part of the New York performing arts community and garnered early support from members of the Broadway theatre elite, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Dina Merrill and Carol Channing.
AMDA’s founder Philip Burton with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Photo by: Friedman-Abeles
That same year, AMDA staged its first fundraising gala, World Enough and Time, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in her Broadway debut. Over the next two decades, the school became widely known for its critically acclaimed fundraising productions – including all-star tributes to such luminaries as Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter – which featured numerous stage and screen icons, such as Angela Lansbury, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and Kevin Kline. During this period, veteran actors Tyne Daly and Paul Sorvino also graduated from the conservatory.
By 1970, the school had outgrown its original location on East 23rd Street and moved into a new building on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. A few years later, further growth prompted another move, this time to the historic Ansonia Building on the Upper West Side, where AMDA still conducts classes to this day.
Then, in the late '70s, Philip Burton passed the torch on to the current executive and creative directors, David and Jan Martin, who maintained Burton’s legacy by expanding the school’s programs and attracting some of the top performing arts faculty in the world.
Continued success in the '90s led the Martins to open a second building near Lincoln Center, which is now the principle location of AMDA New York. Then, in 2003, the Martins expanded west by opening AMDA Los Angeles in the historic Vine Tower Building, one block north of the legendary intersection of Hollywood and Vine in the heart of the Hollywood Entertainment District.
Today, AMDA is a thriving college on both coasts, having grown well beyond its humble beginnings to become a fully accredited institution offering both conservatory studies and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees to more than 1,000 students annually. Additionally, a new generation of up-and-coming graduates, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jason Derulo, Gretchen Mol, Caissie Levy, Meredith Patterson, Natalie Zea and Christopher Sieber, is now making its mark on stage and screen. These talented alumni and many others like them are proof positive that AMDA continues its longstanding tradition of excellence as America’s premier college of performing arts.
AMDA is committed to providing an unsurpassed performing arts education to a diverse community of creative artists. AMDA seeks to be both the school and the stage, where students are given the support and the freedom to find their voice and to design and create their own unique artistic vision. We strive to create an environment for our students to develop the skills, confidence, imagination and power to contribute to their community as artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, lifelong learners and conscientious citizens of the world. To achieve this, AMDA provides rigorous, performance-based training and an industry-focused education experience that inspires excellence and prepares artists with an appreciation for the universal power of transformation through art. Above all, we want to teach our students that commitment, passion, and joy are the hallmarks to a successful career.
Accreditation and Affiliations
The American Musical and Dramatic Academy is a non-profit educational institution incorporated by the States of New York and California.
National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)
The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) has been designated by the United States Department of Education as the agency responsible for the accreditation throughout the United States of freestanding institutions and units offering theatre and theatre-related programs (both degree-and non-degree-granting). NAST cooperates with the six regional associations in the process of accreditation and, in the field of teacher education, with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. NAST consults with the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and similar organizations in the development of NAST standards and guidelines for accreditation.
Bureau For Private Postsecondary Education
AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts is licensed by means of accreditation by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. This approval to operate in the State of California is based on provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act (CPPEA) 0f 2009, which is effective January 1, 2010. The Act is administered by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, under the Department of Consumer Affairs.
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