Six Genesee Students On Their Way To Prestigious Theatre Academy in New York City

Leonard Bernstein once said that to achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time. For six students in Genesee Community College’s Theatre Arts program, a plan is now in place. The students – Joshua Lang of Le Roy NY, Gavin Eastlack of Albion NY, Shunichi Kamiyama of Rochester NY, Ayako Ibaraki of Japan, Gisselle Perez of New York NY, and Jimmy Boorum of Rochester NY - have all been accepted into the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City where they will continue their theatre studies.

“We are thrilled to have our students accepted to such an esteemed academy,” Maryanne Arena, Director of Fine and Performing Arts, said. “All seven students who auditioned were accepted, and six have decided to attend classes at AMDA’s New York City campus. We have an incredibly talented bunch of students and are proud that they are on their way to successful careers in the theatre field.”

For over 40 years, AMDA has trained promising artists toward success in the extraordinary world of performing arts. Talented students from across the country and around the world choose AMDA because of its challenging, performance-based curriculum. The conservatory training is rigorous and all of the coursework relates exclusively to the artistic and professional development of students.

AMDA offers two training programs, the Integrated Program, which offers training in acting, singing, and dance to prepare students for a career in professional theatre; and the Studio Program, which offers training to prepare the student for a career as a professional actor. In conjunction with the New School University, AMDA offers a B.F.A. Program to Integrated Program graduates and a B.A. Program to Studio Program graduates.

Self-proclaimed “Bernstein fanatic” Joshua Lang is eager to begin his AMDA training in the fall. “I’ve got stars in my eyes, like everyone else,” Lang confessed. “I know the schedule is crazy there – each program of study is 1800 clock hours – but I’m ready to do the work. I can’t wait.”

Lang, who describes himself as very musically inclined, plans to study in the Integrated Program at AMDA and hopes to begin a career on Broadway. He began taking private trombone lessons when he was eleven years old and picks West Side Story as his favorite musical. A Le Roy High School graduate, Lang is currently working as a counselor at Genesee’s Summer Youth Theatre Camp along with his friend and fellow AMDA student, Shunichi Kamiyama.

Both boys are enjoying their time helping with the theatre camp program, which is in its third year and has become so popular that some registrants had to be turned away this summer. Kamiyama is playing the part of the White Rabbit in the Theatre Camp’s production of Alice in Wonderland, which will conclude not only the summer camp program on Friday, July 27 at 7:00 PM, but also Kamiyama’s theatre experience at Genesee Community College. He plans to actively participate in the Studio Program at AMDA.

Kamiyama, who cites Marlon Brando as his biggest influence and On the Waterfront as his favorite film, is a graduate of Churchville-Chili High School. He is also looking forward to the challenges of studying at AMDA, particularly to the showcase event that will take place at the end of his second semester. During that event, representatives from all areas of show business will be on hand to witness showcase performances by AMDA students.

“The entire curriculum is geared toward acting,” Kamiyama said. “It’s an intense two-year program but it’s what I love doing and I’m excited to take the next step in my acting career.”

Both boys credit Genesee Community College’s strong theatre program and Maryanne Arena, Director of Fine and Performing Arts, in particular for the opportunity to attend AMDA.

“Maryanne is a brilliant teacher and she looks out for everyone in her program,” Lang said. “She’s definitely the mother hen.”

Kamiyama added, “All of us who auditioned were accepted. We wouldn’t have made it without her.”

Genesee’s Fine and Performing Arts program has repeatedly been recognized for its hands-on curriculum and its development of outstanding young artists and performers. The upcoming theatre season, which features performances of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Peter Pan as well as internationally recognized acts such as Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings and Das Puppenspiel, shows that not only do notable entertainers find their way to Genesee, but that the college exports its own talented performers as well.

For more information please contact Maryanne Arena, Director of Fine and Performing Arts at 585-343-0055 x6439 or

Editor’s note: Several photographs of Joshua Lang of Le Roy, NY and Shunichi Kamiyama of Rochester, NY during their current assignment as assistants at Genesee Community College’s Theatre Camp are available at: