With one campus located in the heart of New York City, New York and another amidst the glamour of Los Angeles, California, the AMDA has long tapped into the heart of the performing arts in its pursuit to train students for careers in the industry. Currently, almost 400 students attend AMDA (http://www.collegesurfing.com/
"Both campuses offer great opportunities,"
While other schools delve into and analyze the history of the performing arts, AMDA's two-year program is focused on conservatory training that actively trains and prepares students to succeed. "The program is the same whether in New York or L.A.," explains Brooks. "All of our faculty comes out of the profession. It's not theoretical;
Students can enroll in either the Integrated Program -- which teaches acting, singing, and dance -- or the Studio Program that trains students to become professional actors. Both of the programs are full-time, requiring approximately 25 hours a week with an additional seven hours of practicum (or independent study). Although students are not permitted to audition for any parts during their first year and a half, the fourth semester is focused upon developing students' audition skills while also promoting their talents. In preparation for graduation, AMDA students participate in mock auditions as well as graduation showcases to which industry contacts are invited.
As demonstrated by AMDA's growing roster of successful grads, these strategies are paying off. AMDA alum have been spotted anywhere from on-the-stage in productions like "Wicked" and "Spamalot," to on the big screen in films such as "Garden State" and "The Princess Diaries II." They've even made the move to TV with roles on "As the World Turns," "The O.C." and "CSI: Miami." In fact, AMDA graduate Marissa Jaret Winokur, the former Tony-award winning lead actress from "Hairspray" on Broadway, has been successful in all three mediums; appearing in "Dharma and Greg" and "Never Been Kissed," to name a few.
Winokur started at AMDA straight out of high school, a trait shared by about 63 percent of students who currently attend, according to Brooks. He estimates that the average age of the student body is 19, but notes that there are some who are over 30, while plenty of other students have a few years of college under their belt, or have already earned a degree.
If you're interested in applying to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, be prepared to perform. In order to gain admittance, prospective students must not only submit recommendations, an essay, and school transcripts, but formally try out for the school at a professional audition, as well.
Featured School the Week: American Musical and Dramatic Academy
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