It was always Francis Lederer’s dream to have a school that teaches all the performing arts, not just acting. That is why he established The American National Academy in 1957, and gave 43 years of his 100 years to teaching, before leaving us in the year 2000. The Academy will celebrate its 54th anniversary on Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Colfax Charter School Auditorium.
Dorothy Barrett, the present director, with many films to her credit as well, has been administrator and teacher for 47 of those 54 years. This will be Dorothy’s 60th Christmas show for the City of Los Angeles.
The children’s workshop will present “A Touch of Broadway” featuring excerpts from Broadway musicals such as The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain, and Gigi; and a variety of dance numbers choreographed by Hana Konupek, Druscilla Abel, and Cathy Wilkinson.
The school, which is a non-profit educational institution, teaches Acting, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Singing, Hip-Hop, and Musical Comedy. It has been a haven for such great entertainers as Francis Lederer, Jerry Lewis, John Forsythe, Johnny Silver, Leon Ames, John Dehner, and writer Ray Bradbury. Many children have grown up under their wings and have gone on to success in the profession: Helen Hunt, Amy Castle, Erin Sanders, Scarlett Pomers, Mike Nader, Paul Gleason, and Tracey Bregman to name a few.
The Academy certainly deserves all the accolades it receives for it is one of a kind. The tuition is very low and no one has ever been paid for teaching. The staff is truly dedicated to the performing arts. Francis Lederer set it up that way, and non-profit it shall always be.
For further information, you may call The American National Academy of Performing Arts at (818) 763-4431.