Veteran Broadway and TV actress Janet Adderley has a number of important things pulling her back to her home state.
“It’s the right thing in my life to come home now so I can watch my granddaughter grow up and spend as much time as I can with my amazing mom who recently turned 88,” says Adderley, not to mention, helping mold children into fine young people by launching a new children’s musical theater program in Austin.
The Adderley School for the Performing Arts begins offering classes at three locations around town mid-September. On Sunday, August 23, the school will hold an open house at Ballet Austin where parents and children can see firsthand what makes this program unique.
“It’s really simple. It’s all about acceptance,” Adderley explains. "A core component of what we do at The Adderley School is establishing a safe place where kids know that they are embraced unconditionally.”
Adderley, who has spent decades coaching and mentoring young actors after a successful theater and television career, says The Adderley School is not just about theater — it’s about giving children the confidence to find their voice, whether they go on to a career in the arts or not. “The acting and the dancing thing is a gimmick,” she says. “It’s very much about empowerment and confidence building and the techniques they learn will serve them well in life.”
Adderley, who was born in Marshall, Texas and grew up in Houston, opened her first school in California in the early 1990s after an attempt to help her incredibly shy daughter. “In theater you can define characters through colors. If I were a color I’d be fire-engine red,” confesses Adderley. “If my daughter Alana were a color she’d be lavender. I started the school to help all the lavender boys and girls find their red voice.”
Alana clearly found her red voice and will run the daily operations of the Austin program. “She was my apprentice from age 19 and she’s now 32. Half of her life she has been doing this with me side-by-side and frankly, she’s better at it than I am!” says Adderley.
Adderley’s method, which uses Broadway musicals as its vessel, has seen great success over the years, with many of her students going on to have fruitful careers in acting, singing, producing, modeling and other professions outside of the arts. “It’s all about meeting a child where they live and taking them on a journey.”
Adderley’s own personal journey is coming full circle with the opening of the Austin school. “I want to come home. ... I’m not leading right now, life is leading me and I couldn’t be happier,” she says. “For me to be coming back to Texas to do this is very meaningful.”
If you want to learn more about the program, attend the Adderley Austin open house on Sunday, August 23, from 3 to 5 pm at Ballet Austin’s AustinVentures StudioTheater (501 W. Third St.). Janet and Alana Adderley will give an overview of the school and answer questions. Past and current students will also perform numbers from The Sound of Music and Pippin. Capacity is limited to 200 so if you’d like to attend, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, and indicate the number of people.