Jennie Ford
Broadway Performer / Teaching Artist

Cultural Artists Spotlight: February 27 – March 10, 2020

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

I am a Broadway performing artist who is currently a teaching artist in Los Angeles.  As a teaching artist, I teach dance and musical theatre for The Music Center at many public schools in the area.  I also teach Musical Theatre skills, from performance to the business side, at Studio School college in downtown LA.   I am also the author of the book series Be the Best on Broadway.  It’s a “how-to series” I created to teach people about the different types of jobs available on Broadway.

How did you first become interested in art?

I grew up in a small Canadian town of 5,000.  In sixth grade, I saw my friends perform in a dance recital.  It looked like so much fun.  There wasn’t much to do in the winter, so I joined dance and quickly became hooked.  In high school I did all the drama plays and I started taking private voice lessons.  After graduating high school, I could not imagine doing anything else with my life.  I left home at age 17 to move to the “big city” of Vancouver and never went back.  One thing led to another: performing on cruise ships, moving to other cities, getting a National Tour.  It all led to moving to NYC in 2000 to perform in a Broadway show.  I performed in multiple Broadway shows over 16 years.   During that time, I got married and had a child.  My husband owned a home in Burbank, so we decided to move to Burbank to give my daughter the same small town feel that I grew up with.  I have temporarily given up the six day a week grind to spend more time with my daughter, while also making sure she is exposed to the arts.

How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?

Art is everything!  The people in my business are those with grit, tolerance, empathy, perseverance, creativity, kindness, open-mindedness.  It’s a community of special people and a place where everyone belongs.  It’s a great model for any community.  There are plenty of great ways to delve into the arts in Burbank.  Just swing by the Creative Arts Center, take in live music around town, or go to a show at Burrough’s High School!  It’s pretty incredible what the kids are doing in our community and they will be the next generation of Broadway hopefuls.

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?

It is an artistic medium that combines the art forms of acting, dancing and singing.  It can be a viable career option that allows you to buy houses, have a retirement plan and live a decent lifestyle.  I think there is a misconception that you have to be a starving artist when you are a performer.  If your child has the passion to enter the arts, encourage him/her to find a support system and mentor that can lead them to a viable career.