The History of AMDA
The concept and vision of AMDA was created by dynamic artists and educators at the forefront of their fields in Broadway, Shakespeare, Hollywood film, world-renowned dance, playwriting and academia. This group of distinguished and successful artists shared a unique philosophy: that the training of any performing artist – whether it be of an actor, a singer, or a dancer – benefits greatly by including core classes in voice, speech, movement, dance, and acting. Recognizing the value that "cross-training" would have to each individual performing artist, the AMDA curriculum was born. This was an original, non-traditional approach; in 1964, the year of AMDA's founding, no other performing arts school or program offered an immersive, multi-disciplinary style of conservatory study. Since AMDA's beginning, its signature model of training has been adopted as the gold standard of performing arts education by colleges and universities throughout the country, and indeed throughout the world.
Under the singular devotion and passionate leadership of David Martin and Jan Martin, AMDA has grown exponentially in both size and scope. One of the Martins' long-term visions for AMDA was to have two vital campuses in the capitals of the entertainment industry – one in the middle of Manhattan and the other in the heart of Hollywood. In 2003, AMDA College of the Performing Arts opened its doors in Los Angeles, offering four Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, one Bachelor of Arts program, and three Associates of Occupational Studies programs. One of AMDA's exclusive opportunities for its more than 1400 full-time students is the Artist's Laboratory, which provides the opportunity to create and perform original content for stage, media, and film in a faculty-mentored setting. Another unique program created by AMDA is the BFA in Dance Theatre, which is the only program in the country focusing on a combination of theatre dance and dance for film and television.
Over the past 50 years, AMDA has continued to lead the education community with creative and innovative programs for emerging performing artists. AMDA's Degree Programs and Conservatory Programs support, teach and guide artists focused in all areas of the performing arts including actors, singers, dancers, content creators, writers and producers. Today, AMDA remains at the cutting edge of performing arts higher education and is one of the premier performing arts institutions in the world.
AMDA Alumni are contributing to the worlds of theatre, film, television, education, not-for-profit, business, service – the list goes on and on. We celebrate the talent, skill and commitment of our Alumni, who are doing incredibly worthwhile work all across the country and around the world.
- Below is a list of a few of our AMDA Superstars:
- Tyne Daly (Tony Award winner for Gypsy on Broadway, six-time Emmy Award winner for her starring roles in "Cagney & Lacey," "Christy," and "Judging Amy")
- Paul Sorvino (with 170 TV and film credits, including Goodfellas and Nixon)
- Chris Jackson (starred as George Washington in the original cast of the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton; currently starring as Chunk Palmer in the CBS series "Bull;" Emmy Award winner for original song composed for "Sesame Street")
- Anthony Ramos (starred in the dual role of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the original cast of the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton; starred as the loveable Ramon in the Oscar nominated film A Star Is Born)
- Caissie Levy (star of multiple Broadway shows including Ghost, Hair, and Les Miserables; currently starring in the smash hit Broadway musical Frozen as Elsa, a role she created)
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson (four-time Emmy Award nominee for his role as Mitchell Pritchett in NBC's "Modern Family;" star of the Tony Award winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway)
- Christopher Sieber (star of multiple Broadway shows and two-time Tony Award nominee for his roles of Sir Dennis Galahad in Spamalot and Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical; currently starring on Broadway in the Tony Award nominated musical The Prom)
- Jamal Wade (dancer in multiple music videos including Pink's "What About Us," Kiiara's "Messy," K. Michelle's "Birthday," and SEEB's "Drink About," as well as for the MTV Video Music Awards)
- Jason Derulo (pop singer/songwriter with four #1 hits in the Top 40, 11 hits in the Top 10 and 11 platinum singles)
- Sarah Stiles (currently starring on Broadway in her Tony Award nominated role of Sandy Lester in Tootsie; previous Tony Award nominee for her role of Jessica in Hand To God)
- Jeremy Pope (double nominee for the 2019 Tony Awards for his Broadway debut as Pharus Jonathan Young in Choir Boy and his current role as Eddie Kendricks in Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations).
In addition to our celebrated performers on Broadway; national, regional and international stages; film, television and media platforms — our Alumni are also working in every other area of the entertainment industry, including technical theatre, film/TV crews, playwriting, screenwriting, filmmaking, producing, directing, choreographing, editing, teaching, and content development.
Congratulations, AMDA Alumni! We are so proud of you all.