Amanda Almanzar will play a key role in the upcoming play 4 Daughters Minus 1, 2000 A.D. which will be held at Wayne State University’s Community Arts Center Auditorium on Saturday September 16th, 2023 at 5pm. Born in the Bronx, New York and now a resident of Detroit Amanda plays the role of Ruth in her first professional theater role.
4 Daughters Minus 1, 2000 A.D. is written directed and produced by native Detroiter Timberly Robinson of Luvinwhatido Productions. She is a Wayne State University and Cass Tech alum. As described in her press release the play “…takes place in a beautiful theater in the 21st century as the world celebrates the writings inspired by Father Yahweh. Four of his royal daughters (Ruth, Queen Bathsheba, Elizabeth and the Woman at the Well) as well as Elijah have been asked by the committee to share insights about some of his work including literature written by King David, King Solomon and from the Book of Ruth.” As the release continues it states “Everything is perfect until an uninvited daughter named Jezebel shows up. Her mission is to confront the father about the literature portraying her negatively……”
Amanda Almanzar shared with me a little bit about herself and what underlies her love of the performing arts. Born in the Bronx she lived there till age 19, when she moved to the metro Detroit area. Later she would relocate to Detroit’s midtown area. Amanda considers her move to the Midtown area one of her best decisions since leaving New York as the area reminds her a lot of that city given Midtown’s multicultural and urban environment. As she stated it brings her back to a “community feeling” she experienced growing up in New York. From an early age she has been singing and dancing. More than once she emphasized that she enjoys entertaining. She started performing contemporary lyrical dance. As a teenager she found it to be a medium through which she could express her emotions. Amanda was a member of the Performer’s Edge Dance Academy based in the Throgsneck neighborhood of the Bronx, then later as a member of the Elite Stars Dance Academy. With the Elite Stars she was selected to be in the ensemble that officially represented the studio. Recently Amanda completed her Associates in Arts Degree from Oakland Community College, where she took classes in arts appreciation, acting and theater among other courses.
Amanda found that being part of the cast for 4 Daughters Minus 1, 2000 A.D. motivated her to explore the power of theater performance. From learning the process of how a production is put together and rehearsing with fellow cast members while also focusing on her individual role has led to professional growth. Playing the role of Ruth resonates with her as she grew up “in the church”. She is familiar with the bible. Thus, she relates to Ruth’s role in the play, her struggles and how she came out on the “other side” of tribulations. Amanda learned how to “push herself” and explore her potential. A life-long learner this production has given her the opportunity to learn more about collaboration, the power of studying and emulating her role.
Amanda does not want to be limited to one career path. She has a passion for helping and connecting with people. She developed that passion in New York as a direct service provider working with children with disabilities. She is currently employed in the area of community mental health at Starfish Family Services in a front desk referral/assessment capacity. She values the fact the agency assists families develop skills in preparation for their self-discovery and development.
As we moved towards the end of our conversation, I asked what felt important to her as a performer and individual. She immediately talked about the importance of understanding and appreciating her Afro Latina culture and identity. Her father is from the Dominican Republic and her mother from Belize. She credits her upbringing with her gaining an understanding that culture is very important, makes us who we are and is so entwined with so many aspects of our being. She noted that when she first moved to Michigan, she lived in one of Detroit’s suburbs and for that short period of time she felt “homesick”. She realized then she needed to be around the music, culture and traditions she was bought up with.
I was impressed with Ms. Almanzar’s enthusiasm and energy. This bodes well for her future endeavors. Let’s keep a lookout!