Senior Kennedy Johnson will be studying musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) this fall. She will attend classes at the New York campus for two years and then finish as an upperclassman at the Los Angeles campus. AMDA is the next step for Johnson in a long history of dedication to theater.
“[Theater] has dramatically impacted Kennedy’s life,” said senior Tori Crisostomo-Rickman, one of Johnson’s closest friends. “She is very often busy at rehearsals, dance practice, directing a musical, or practicing singing. She has given hours and hours of time into musical theatre.”
Johnson developed her love for theater at St. Catherine of Siena School when she joined its drama club. She credits her middle school director, Michael Miller, for inspiring her to enjoy acting and continue with it throughout her whole life.
“Musical theatre, along with giving you an outlet to express emotions, also allows you to tell an audience a story,” said Johnson. “I would love to one day tell many different stories in front of many different audiences.”
At Burlingame, Johnson has taken drama all four years and participated in every musical. Additionally, she is a part of Epic Footprint, a professional house dance company that performs nationally. She uses her background in dance to choreograph and assistant direct St. Catherine’s productions.
“As students mature, they find out who they are,” said drama teacher Cindy Skelton. “[Johnson] started out in Once Upon a Mattress in the ensemble, and last semester, with My Favorite Year, she earned a lead. She’s been working hard.”
As Johnson began to look into theater programs, she was drawn to AMDA because of its fast-paced curriculum. She experienced this environment first-hand when she attended AMDA’s two-week conservatory camp last summer. Johnson auditioned for other schools but chose AMDA for its rigorous training, relevant general education classes and the connections the school will provide for her. Johnson is interested in television and film, but above all she hopes to perform on Broadway one day.
“I realized that I would not want to be doing anything else as a career when I got older,” said Johnson. “Taking a risk by doing theatre was a big choice I had to make, but ultimately I believe I made the right decision.”