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 AOS or Certificate 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. The Martins’ long-term vision for AMDA included having 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 AOS or Certificate 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:
- Madeline Brewer (Primetime Emmy Award nominee for her portrayal of Janine Lindo in the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale;” starred as Sally Bowles in the West End revival of Cabaret)
- Tyne Daly (Tony Award winner for her portrayal of Mama Rose in Gypsy on Broadway, six-time Emmy Award winner for her starring roles in "Cagney & Lacey," "Christy," and "Judging Amy")
- Jason Derulo (Teen Choice, BMI Pop Music, and CMT Music Award-winning recording artist; achieved 11 platinum albums with 250 million singles sold worldwide; starred as Rum Tug Tugger in the musical film adaptation of Cats and as Ronald Isley in the feature film Spinning Gold)
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson (four-time Emmy Award nominee for his portrayal of Mitchell Pritchett in the NBC series "Modern Family;" Tony Award winner for his portrayal of Mason Marzac in the Broadway revival of Take Me Out)
- J. Harrison Ghee (Tony Award winner for their portrayal of Jerry / Daphne in the hit-Broadway musical Some Like It Hot; starred as Kwame in the Netflix superhero drama “Raising Dion” and as Robyn in the Fox crime drama series “Accused”)
- Christopher 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" and Herbert Wexley in the HBO series “And Just Like That;” Emmy Award winner for original song composed for "Sesame Street")
- Caissie Levy (star of multiple Broadway shows including Frozen, Ghost, Les Miserables, and Leopoldstadt; currently starring as Diana Goodman in the London premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal)
- Jeremy Pope (Tony Award nominee for his portrayal of Pharus Jonathan Young in Choir Boy and Eddie Kendricks in Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations on Broadway; Golden Globe nominee for his portrayal of Ellis French in the drama film The Inspection)
- Anthony Ramos (starred as John Laurens / Philip Hamilton in the original cast of the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton; starred as Usnavi in the musical film adaptation of In the Heights and Ramon in the Oscar-nominated film A Star Is Born)
- Christopher Sieber (star of multiple Broadway shows and two-time Tony Award nominee for his portrayal of Sir Dennis Galahad in Spamalot and Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical; starred as Kevin Burke in the ABC sitcom “Two of a Kind” and Simon Banks in the ABC series “It’s All Relative”)
- Sarah Stiles (Tony Award-nominee for her portrayal of Sandy Lester in Tootsie and Jessica in Hand To God on Broadway; starred as Bonnie Barella in the Showtime series “Billions” and as Gladys in the Epic series “Get Shorty”)
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.