When Claudia Jacobs went to New York City in 2015 for vacation with her mom, she dreamed of attending the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts there. The 2016 Basehor-Linwood High School graduate auditioned for admission to the school a few months later. Three weeks after her audition, she was accepted and began her first semester at the prestigious school last October.

“My goal would be to become a performer on Broadway doing anything I love,” Jacobs said. “As long as I am performing, that is my dream job. I would love to get a job in the ‘Hamilton’ production.”

Jacobs’ New York school, which has an enrollment of around 500 students from all over the world, has a strenuous schedule. She takes four dance classes per week and other classes including musical theater, acting, singing, film lab, voice production and speech.

While many of the teachers at AMDA are working professionals in the acting, singing, directing and dance fields, Jacobs is not allowed to audition for any professional job until after her final semester. She is due to graduate in December 2017.

“My favorite thing to do in New York is go to Central Park. I like to go there on Saturdays and eat breakfast and sit in the park for a few hours by myself. I even enjoy watching the rats run around and I would like to have one as a pet,” she said. “I also like to explore the city and find my way around.”  

She has also lucked out a few times and gotten prime tickets via a daily lottery to see Broadway shows including first-row tickets to see “Phantom of the Opera” as well as other tickets to see “Matilda” and “Something Rotten.”

While she loves living in New York City, perhaps one of the biggest accommodations she has to make is regarding her living arrangements. The school is so popular that she lives with a roommate in a small, single-dorm room. It’s a small price to pay for such a great experience, Jacobs said.

“I think one of the biggest factors of attending AMDA is that it is in New York,” said Jacobs. “It is in a good area next to Columbus Park and Central Park. It is great to be around people of the industry. One of my teachers used to be a Rockette.”

Jacobs enjoys getting back to her quiet hometown of Basehor. She has been back to town a few times since school began, including to attend a family wedding and once to surprise her best friend who was performing in a BLHS musical. She misses being able to walk everywhere when she is back home because she is used to walking everywhere when she is in New York.  

“I live in Kansas, but after living in New York, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love it so much. It is home away from home,” Jacobs said.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com