Spotlight on Theater Enthusiast Amanda Data: A Journey of Love, Inspiration, and the Magic of the Stage

In this interview, we have the pleasure of getting to know Amanda, a dear friend with a deep love for theater. Amanda’s passion for the stage, her memorable theater experiences, and how she found solace during the Broadway show closures are all topics we’ll explore. Join us as we delve into Amanda’s theater journey and learn more about her remarkable connection to the world of performing arts.

Spotlight on Amanda Data: Tell us something about you?

I grew up loving theatre after watching Cats as a child (a strange calling indeed, I’m quite aware) and I spent practically every waking moment between grades 6 through 12 singing and in dance classes! I enjoyed taking part in shows including Anything Goes, Kiss Me Kate, Grease, West Side Story, and Peter Pan and took part in a few local commercials! My dream role is still Belle from Beauty and the Beast – Alan Menken’s additions of “A Change in Me” and “Home” are two songs I continue to adore (I sing them a lot when home alone!) As an adult who does not work in the theatre industry, but soon to be living in New York again, I would love to try to integrate adult tap dancing classes into my life! It would also be so cool to be a part of a group where we can perform for one another – for fun and without judgement! Even though it’s February, maybe that can be my New Year’s resolution!

Tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had related to Broadway that holds a special place in your heart.

My favorite theatre memory was going to see “The King and I” in Lincoln Center in June 2016! I was in New York City for only a week. The show had recently opened around that summer and it was highly anticipated. It’s such a treat when an Oscars and Hammerstein musical opens on Broadway – they only come around once in a blue moon! When I visited the box office in the afternoon, a few hours before the show, I inquired if they offered discounted tickets for students for that night. The box office worker had coldly informed me that not only were prorated student tickets not an option, but the show was sold out for the following two months. Right as I was processing this disappointing news, a woman behind me in line was trying to sell her tickets back to the box office, which they also declined her request due to protocol. Fast forward to 8pm and I found myself sitting in the fourth row of the theatre at “The King and I” sitting next to the woman who ended up selling me her ticket (for an absolute steal). I watched Kelli O’Hara elegant grace the stage in a multi-frock gown and I will never forget her grand entrance on a huge, yet meticulously crafted ship. Having listened to her voice on numerous cast albums for years leading up to this occasion, I absolutely couldn’t believe my luck that I landed myself in the situation of getting to witness her perform. A memory I’ll keep forever.

What upcoming Broadway shows are you eagerly anticipating?

The show that I am the most looking forward to is Company! A big draw to see the show is of course to see Broadway legend, Mrs. Patti LuPone. Not to mention, what makes this show incredibly special is that it keeps the legacy alive of the composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who recently passed away. The premise of the show is about a bachelor(ette) who learns about the ups and downs about dating, marriage, and divorce from his/her married friends. The show is actually gender reversed too, as originally the Bachelorette, Bobby – as well as other characters – was written for a male performer! I’ll have to update you with a review after I go to see it! Also, this questionnaire would be incomplete if I didn’t mention my enthusiasm to go see The Music Man a second time. As for this show, for three hours, you will be put in a trance! It’s that exciting!

What was the first show you attended after the COVID-19 pandemic, and how would you describe your experience?

The first show I saw after Covid-19 was due to a recommendation by our Home Soiree founder herself! When I used to live in the city, I rarely took myself out on dates alone, but after hearing Fanny’s raving review of the show, I knew I needed to plan a special night that ended with going to see Mrs. Doubtfire! I was hesitant to go, because some things are too good to replicate and usually, a character that Robin Williams played simply cannot be revived. However, as soon as the curtain rose, I instantly knew that this show was meant to be enjoyed on Broadway. Rob McClure is a true triple threat – I’ll leave it at that (he can do everything). I laughed until I cried and I could tell the people sitting in my row were enjoying it as much as I was, which added to the fun!

How did you manage and find solace during the challenging period of Broadway show closures?

I coped with watching film! Disney’s release of Hamilton was such a gift during the pandemic. A documentary that really inspired me that I discovered during the pandemic was “The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened” on Netflix. It made me feel alive – so much so that I watched it twice. The documentary detailed the process of casting, rehearsals, and the performances of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily we Roll Along” in 1981, which featured a cast of teenagers. While the teenagers were quite young, even then, they understood the magnitude of how special it was to be selected to do the production – despite the fact that the show closed after 16 performances.