Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know All About Me...

Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 7:33 AM

*Currently listening to the In The Heights Original Broadway Cast Recording*


Greetings, Hello, Salutations, Bonjour, etc....! Welcome to my blog. My name is Kiarri Andrews and I am a an actor (that is only the 3rd time I've ever called myself that - it still sounds weird). I've been told by multiple people throughout my years that I should have been an actor all along, but I never believed that I was skilled at acting. Did I love performing? Absolutely. But I always just thought that it wasn't my particular calling. But after auditioning for a community theatre production of "Back to the 80s" summer of 2008 and getting one of the lead roles, I realized my personal form of sanctuary is on a stage. My passion for musicals finally made sense; I am meant to be in them. :-)


But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back - waaaay back...to high school (gasp!). First off, it is important for you to know that I am a singer. Always have been, always will be - at least until the Lord says that it is no longer my gift. But ever since my mother and I sang together for the first time when I was 8 years old or so, music and song has been a key point of who I am. So I've done church choirs, gospel choirs, citywide choirs, and most notably, my high school's concert choir. I definitely credit that organization and our fearless leader, Mrs. Gloria Brown, with most of my musical development. My voice grew in versatility, strength, and beauty and was trained to an extent that I love, but was strange in that many Black people that I performed for felt like I was overly trained and many non-Black audience members felt that I wasn't trained enough. My art and passion became a bit of a conundrum for me - I won many honors and awards but I felt somewhat out of place because my voice was too different from the mainstream and didn't feel welcomed in most places. But it was during high school that I was able to take my first trip to New York and saw my very first Broadway show, "Aida." I remember being mad that we weren't going to see "The Lion King." I had never heard of this "Aida" and was not pleased with it. Times Square looked amazing, but my anger prevented me from really taking it all in. I took my seat in a huff and sat waiting to be disappointed further. From the moment the lights went down in the theatre, I was completely overwhelmed. The voices, the story, the music, the lighting, the sets - by the end of the show, I was crying and clinging to my friend's arm.


Cut to college, when I stopped taking voice lessons and let my voice grow on its own through various performances at open mic nights and events. My love of musicals grew after more and more of them were made into movies, thereby making them easier to access to the general public. I have been blessed enough to live in the phenomenal city of Chicago that has such a rich and diverse arts community and the great institution of Broadway in Chicago. I have seen "Wicked" (3 times - LOVE that!), "Dirty Dancing," "Rent," "The Color Purple," and I finally got to see my beloved "The Lion King." Because I didn't believe enough in my abilities, though, I chose to major in Journalism and pursue a career in television news reporting. Somehow I justified it by deducing that reporting was an easier career than singing. *pause* Yeah, that one still flabbergasts me. But I went through college once again earning honors like Homecoming King in 2004 and joining prestigious organizations like Phi Mu Alpha Men's Music Fraternity of America (1898) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc (1906). Still, there was something not quite fulfilled within me...but I repeatedly brushed it off and forged my way onward.


And I graduated. I had my degree in hand and a smile on my face. And no job. In all the hub bub of my senior year, I neglected to fully realize that it would end. Returning home after being relatively independent for 5 years was not as pleasant as I would have liked (I think that's the best way of phrasing that sentiment). I finally landed a job that I grew to hate but thought that my life was starting to come together. I resolved that I would move into the realm of higher education. Once again, it just seemed logical based on everything I was involved in during undergrad. I left that job after 4 months and that decision led me back to DeKalb and working as an admissions counselor for my alma mater. Like any job, there are problems, but its all in all a good position and a great place to work. By what many people would refer to as "chance," I passed an announcement for auditions while travelling one day last summer and have been doing shows ever since ("Back to the 80's" Michael Feldman, "The King and I" Lun Tha, "To Kill A Mockingbird" Reverend Sykes).



Thus bringing you (for the most part) up to speed. Now my full attention is on Broadway. If I seem a little scattered, it is only because I was allowing myself to be ruled by fear - fear of the unknown, fear of the difficult, fear of what others would think, and fear of not fully embracing myself. I auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in March and was accepted a few (incredibly stressful) weeks later. I visited AMDA and New York in May and nothing has ever felt so right. This is not just an "arts school," it is an artistic utopia. Dance training that includes musical theatre, tap, jazz, and ballet - acting with instructors that take you through a scene from "alright" to "amazing" - and voice and musical theatre pieces that made me want to break out in tears of happiness, desire, and completion. Pardon the cliche, but I have truly found my voice and place in the world. Seeing "In The Heights" on Broadway and meeting one of AMDA's alums, Christopher Jackson, only vindicated my already-held belief that the lights of Broadway were designed to warm my very soul.


There will be at least weekly installments on this blog to update any and all interested and as soon as I figure out how, I will upload media clips and acceptance letters and documents and all that other good stuff. If you grow to believe in me, I ask that you donate whatever you can. I have already started setting up a PayPal account so that you may do so (more info to come).


Thank you for taking the time to read this and please come on back now, ya hear?? Be blessed.

3 comments

  1. alright now. welcome to the journey of US.

  2. Luvvie Says:

    You besta WORK, Kiyoinkes!! I KNOW your dreams will be realized VERY soon. I'm proud f you for stepping out on that ledge. The greater the risk, the more ginormous ur reward.

  3. KindredSmile Says:

    Awww, I'm so proud of you honeycake! This will be quite the journey -both personal and professional - and I'm with you all the way!

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