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"New York State of Mind" at AMDA Graduation Productions
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"New York State of Mind" at AMDA Graduation Productions

- Backstage with the Playwrights: Arts and Education

The American Musical and Dramatic Academy
“New York State of Mind” (D4 Cast)
(Not Reviewed) “Mall Shook Up” (E4 Cast)

2109 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

“New York State of Mind” Production Personnel:
Igor Goldin, Director
William Cox, Musical Director
Ramon Galindo, Assoc. Director and Choreographer
Don Adkins, Stage Manager
Ken Lapham, Lighting Designer
Jennifer Hoddinott, Costume Designer
Tony Zimbardi, Prod. Manager/Tech. Director
Matthew Richardson, Asst. Musical Director
Kerry Meads, Percussionist
elisabeth a. furtado, Prod. Operations Manager
Ken Hash, Tech. Supervisor
Stefani M. Miller, Prod. House Manager
Dan Buckland, Asst. Tech. Supervisor
Cathy Carey-Aquino, Elizabeth Ektefaei, Ernie Prinz, Costume Assts.
Jennifer Arata, Meg Aspinwall, Matthew Elizondo, Chad Hoy, Tech. Assts.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 27, 2007

Cast: Brigitte Beas, Anne Marie Behr, Maria Buttini, Alicia Chisolm, Shin-Young Chung, Heather Dethmers, Carolina Dieppa, Whitney Grandell, James Grigsby, Reggie Headen, Krista Dane Hoffman, Kaili Lani, Alaggio Laurino, Brittany Lewis, Paul D. Mills, Lindsay Rose, Vanessa Ruiz, Nick Sartori, and Sara Sawyer.

According to the AMDA website, “For over 40 years, AMDA has excelled in its mission to train promising artists toward success in the extraordinary world of the performing arts. Talented students from across the country and around the world choose AMDA because of its challenging, performance-based curriculum. They come to train with a premier faculty comprising accomplished actors, directors, choreographers, dancers and designers who inspire and work with students on an individual basis.” (AMDA WEBSITE).

I was invited to the graduation production of the D4 students, as I happen to know one of the performers. As these were young artists learning the craft, I was quite impressed with the 21 song program. Students and staff chose numbers from works, such as those by Irving Berlin (“Annie Get Your Gun”, 1950), Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (“The Apple Tree”, 1966), Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (“Damn Yankees”, 1955), George Fischoff and Hy Gilbert (“Sayonara”, 1981), Fats Waller and Harry Brooks (“Ain’t Misbehavin’ ”, 1978), and Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray (“The Color Purple”, 2005). The set, a fantastic NYC skyline, and casual furniture or props here and there, added just enough mood and motif to enhance the musicality and choreography of the varied numbers in this most entertaining show.

Some of tonight’s highlights included “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”, sung by Heather and Reggie, from “Annie Get Your Gun”, 1950, by Berlin, “The Honeymoon Is Over”, sung by Heather, Brigitte, Shin-Young, Nick, Vanessa, Paul, Alicia, Reggie, Sara, Alaggio, Lindsay, and James, from “The Body Beautiful”, 1958, by Bock and Harnick, “Second Grade”, sung by The Men, from “Personals”, 1998, by Crane, Friedman, Kauffman, Menken, Schwartz, Skloff, and Orich, “Sweet Time”, sung by Lindsay and James, from “Raisin”, 1973, by Woldin and Brittan, “The Phone Call”, sung by Alaggio, Maria, and Carolina, from “Lucky Stiff”, 1988, by Flaherty and Ahrens, “Be Good or Be Gone”, sung by Krista, with Whitney, Maria, Anne Marie, Carolina, Paul, and Nick, from “Pump, Boys, and Dinettes”, 1982, by Foley, Hardwick, Monk, Morgan, Schimmel, and Wan, “I Want You to Be”, sung by Paul with Anne Marie, from “Catch Me If I Fall”, 1990, by Shottenfield, and “What about Love”, sung by Kaili and Brittany, from “The Color Purple”, 2005, by Russell, Willis, and Bray.

The creative touches added to each song included humorous theatrics, settings, and mime, to give the effect of songs within multiple shows. The production and artistic team is to be commended for enabling the AMDA graduates to experience tonight’s success. This was the finale of four consecutive performances, and the E4 graduates also performed on four consecutive nights, at a different hour, so that all students could attend the two shows. I am quite certain that the above performing cast will be found in future Broadway, Off-Broadway, and traveling musicals and plays.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at