Eubie Blake and the Amas Academy
The Amas Teen Academy began life in 1976 as The Eubie Blake Youth Theatre, named for the celebrated composer, lyricist and piano player whose breakthrough career included some of the first works by an African American to ever appear on Broadway. The Youth Theatre was the inspiration of Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire (1911-2002), to whom Blake had long been teacher, mentor, and friend. Her own career as an actress spanned much of the 20th Century, in all theatrical media, from her Broadway debut in Mike Todd’s Hot Mikado (1939) to her starring role as Mother Winslow on ABC’s Family Matters (1989-97). A few years after Blake’s passing in 1983 at the age of 99, the Youth Theatre was renamed The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy.
Rosetta founded Amas (Latin for “you love”) in 1968, at the height of a very divisive era for the nation, to bring people of all colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds together via musical theatre. And her focus from the beginning was twofold: professional theatre, achieving early success for Amas as the birthplace of the Broadway and international touring sensation Bubbling Brown Sugar, and theatre arts education for young people.
Now in our 55th year developing new musicals celebrating diversity, multiculturalism, and the exploration of minority perspectives, Amas remains committed to youth. Our mission specifically embraces the artistic education of underserved young people in the New York area, and the emergence of new generations of talented, young, professional theatre artists.