Faculty Artist Spotlight: Dominick Amendum

Posted on April 02, 2024

Dominick Amendum headshot
Dominick Amendum headshot

Smart-Tillman Artist-in-Residence and Musical Theatre Coordinator Dominick Amendum has been Wicked busy. 

 Amendum, who is an alumnus of UNCG’s School of Music (’01 BM Piano Performance) spent a year in London acting as the Production Music Supervisor for the Wicked films, Universal’s adaptation of the Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical, which is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.   

Amendum had worked with composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz on the Broadway production as the show’s Musical Director. Still, he says he was surprised to get the call: 

“Universal had talked about making the films for a decade. But even though I had a long involvement with the show when it was on Broadway, I never in a million years dreamed that I’d be asked to work on the films. I had dabbled in some film projects, but this is the largest movie musical ever shot, so to go from dabbling to that has been amazing.” 

And so, the teacher became a student: 

“That was what was so exciting about it. And terrifying. I know Wicked like the back of my hand. I know Broadway. The film element was what was new for me. I was out there doing the work, but I was also a student again and learning so much about that industry that I was able to bring back to our classes here at UNCG.”  

Dominick Amendum working with Musical Theatre Students
Dominick Amendum working with Musical Theatre Students

Amendum feels that bringing real-world experience into the classroom is necessary to provide the very best training in the arts: 

“I think it’s very easy for university programs to become entrenched in how they teach based on what has worked in the past. But the industry changes very rapidly. If we aren’t still out there and connected, at some point we can just lose touch. I know for a fact that we’re training our theatre students for the realities of today’s post-Covid industry because I’m still involved in it.” 

Amendum credits CVPA Dean bruce d. mcclung and School of Theatre Director Natalie Sowell with having the great foresight to support creative activity outside of UNCG: 

“They see the value in having faculty do this kind of work. They see what it brings back to the students and the program. They also recognize that having faculty out there doing these kinds of projects puts our programs out there and that the University is getting exposure in positive ways.” 

Amendum shares that his students have been eager to talk about his experience:  

“They are so curious about the work. The Vanity Fair photos just dropped, and the teaser played during the Super Bowl, and they want to talk about these things and ask questions that will help them in setting up their career paths. My hope is to bring in some folks from the films at some point to do masterclasses or talkbacks.”  

Wicked film teaser poster
The promotional poster for Universal’s Wicked films was released on Super Bowl Sunday

Wicked is split into two films, the first of which will be released in November 2024 and stars Ariana Grande as Glinda, Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard.  

“My dream would be to get Jeff Goldblum to talk with our students. He’s such a great actor, an amazing musician, and such a good human being. I would love for him to do a masterclass on the craft and on just being kind.”  

While he was out of the country, Amendum was never completely out of the classroom: 

“I stayed plugged in. I taught some online classes, and I zoomed in for auditions. I also continued to do student advising. I want them to know that I am here for them. They can shoot me an email wherever I am, and I’ll get back to them. Their journey is important to me no matter what I’m doing.” 

Even if that means being Wicked busy across the pond. 

 

Story by Terri W. Relos

Photo credit: Martin Kane, Wicked film poster created by Universal Studios

 

 

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