Lunch with Dana Amendola '82
by Kylie Logan '18
Leave it to F&M to bring back one of its most successful alums to talk about
how life after college doesn’t get easier, it just gets far more challenging in the most
exciting way. The best part, explained Dana Amendola ’82, is that this is where
everything you learned in college starts to come together, and even though you were
a History major you use your Psychology 100 skills to secure a business deal. These
are the challenges that you actually have the skills to tackle and use to your
Amendola is the Vice President of Operations at Disney Theatrical Group, and
while he’s worked on Broadway for about twenty years, he still occasionally feels
like an outsider. When he first acquired a managerial position before working at
Disney, a coworker approached him saying that he’d never live up to his predecessor
and wouldn’t gain respect from the company. This kind of confrontation,
whether it is with someone you work with, a review in the paper, or any kind of
media opinion, will inevitably find you in the entertainment world, Amendola
explains. The key is to not let it determine your worth. Amendola climbed his way to
his current position with hunger and determination, and he did so all on his own,
even blatantly recommending himself to a future employer. If you want something,
then yes, go get it, but don’t expect it to fall into your hands, because it most
definitely won’t; in fact, don’t even expect to get it, because you probably won’t.
What you really want, the beauty and the success that you are actually striving for,
will be found on the journey to said dream job. There will be challenges along the
way that will test your patience and your courage, but once you successfully step
over them, you might find that that step is leading you down a path you hadn’t
anticipated, and that, in fact, you prefer where this uphill route is going.
Amendola majored in English at Franklin and Marshall, and got involved with
all the theatre opportunities he could outside of his classes. He started off today’s
small lunch in a room full of humanities and arts majors with, “Liberal arts students
are hungry.” No matter your major or the profession you pursue, liberal arts
students are well-known out there as driven and knowledgeable minds who enter
the world with an unquenchable curiosity.
I am an intended joint major in Spanish and International Studies, and am
currently in a Green Room theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors. The arts
have always been my means of expression, and writing especially. It was only a few
years ago that I developed a passion for performance both in playwriting and acting.
I have come to realize that entertainment will always be something that can move
me to tears from the audience and on the stage, but how do I balance my interest in
culture and politics with my desire to pursue the performing arts? Perhaps,
Amendola has helped me to realize, I am doing the most liberal arts thing of all--
learning everything I’ve ever had the desire to know. Franklin and Marshall pushes
me to see the connection between modern globalization and pop-culture, between
attaining fluency in a new tongue and performing rehearsed lines onstage.
I have a wonderful problem. I love too many things to choose one path, and
Amendola doesn’t believe in one end goal anyway. It’s what you find in searching for
it that reveals who you are and what you truly want.
Kylie Logan '18 is a student staffer at the Writers House. Dana Amendola '82 spoke with Kylie
and other students at a lunch on February 1, 2016 that was organized by the Office of Student and
Post-Graduate Development and co-sponsored by Brooks College House, the departments of English,
Theatre, Dance and Film, and Art and Art History, and the Writers House.