Young Singer-Actress Has a Heart for Making Others Smile Through Her Local Performances

By DAVID BIGGY | Nov 15, 2017
Photo by: Supplied photo Manahawkin 12-year-old Amanda Rose Kipila loves performing for and interacting with residents at local assisted-living communities.

Even at 12 years old, Amanda Kipila seems to have endless opportunities ahead of her to develop as a musical theater performer. And if she really wanted to, she could forget all about her humble beginnings, bear down even harder and shoot for the big stages of Broadway. But right now, she’s not ready to make that jump.

“I care about other people more than myself,” said the Southern Regional Middle School seventh-grader from Manahawkin, whose stage name is Amanda Rose, the latter being her middle name. “That might sound horrible to some people, but it’s true. I really care about other people.”

And that, folks, is the crux of why the young brunette continues to perform 45-minute variety shows at local assisted-living communities, during which she sings and dances to the tunes of Broadway musicals, classic TV shows and movies and even some old commercials.

“When I was little, my great-grandma and great-grandpa were at an assisted living place, and I used to go around, grab their hands, and sing and dance with them,” Amanda explained. “It was fun and they loved it, and that inspired me. And now, when I’m performing in front of them, I see the smiles and their faces. ... I see somebody bopping along to the song, and they’re having fun and enjoying it. To see them so happy and their faces glowing, it touches my heart. It makes me happy to make their day.”

During the past three years, Amanda has performed an estimated 50 shows at assisted-living and other locations throughout Ocean County, despite developing her career as a professional musical theater performer and taking on a handful of roles, mostly support or background gigs, in TV and film.

As part of her local shows, she most enjoys the “trivia segments,” in which she sings part of a lyric to a song and the residents complete the lyric, or she provides a song from a particular TV show or movie and the audience has to guess which it is. Between songs, she ad-libs about many of the shows and movies, offering tidbits of information she’s learned about them as a transition to a different song. At times, she dances with a selected resident or does a sing-along with them. She also dedicates Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” to any veterans in the crowd.

And then there are the parts when her younger sister, Emily, joins her for a few tunes and provides some of the comedic element for the “commercial” spots.

“It’s so much fun,” Amanda said. “We always do the ending song together, but Emily gets the bigger ovations because she’s adorable.”

Not to say that Amanda hasn’t received her share of big ovations – she definitely has. The passionate, intelligent and talented young lady has performed with multiple community theater groups, including Our Gang Players and the Haddonfield Players, and fulfilled several roles with professional productions at regional theaters, including the Ocean City Theatre, the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pines Dinner Theatre in Allentown, Pa.

Currently, Amanda is co-starring as Emma Marshall in the original musical “Over the River and Through the Woods” – a heartwarming story that proves, even in the worst of times, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well – at the Pines Dinner Theatre, Wednesday through Sunday, until Dec. 23.

“I love musical theater because of the singing,” said Amanda, who also will be an extra, as a camel in the nativity, for the upcoming SyFy Channel show “Happy!” which premieres Dec. 6. “I like the acting, too. But I really enjoy singing for an audience. There’s something really inspiring about it that I can’t get away from.”

Of course, with such a busy schedule and being away from home for much of the week right now, it’s hard to find time for some things the average 12-year-old might like to do, such as hang out with friends.

“I’m very different; I know that,” she said, jokingly. “But I do have friends, and they are my age. I don’t get to see them too much except when I’m in school, but I think they accept that. I definitely do a lot, but I’m OK with that.”

Certainly the management at many of the local assisted-living communities are OK with that as well. Susan McNeil, the life enrichment director at The Terraces Assisted Living at Seacrest Village in Little Egg Harbor, recently wrote an endorsement letter for Amanda to attach to her resume.

“We have been very fortunate to have Miss Amanda Rose visit our community on many occasions and entertain the residents and staff with her phenomenal singing voice and vivacious personality,” McNeil wrote. “Amanda is a tremendously talented young lady and The Terraces always looks forward to her appearances. If any venue invites Amanda to perform, they will be thrilled with her gift of music, charm and kind-heartedness.”

With Christmas around the corner, Amanda’s grandmother Nancy Muldowney – aka “the manager” – has booked several dates for Amanda to perform her Christmas show, starting with a 7 p.m. show on Nov. 28 at Crestwood Manor in Whiting. She’ll be at several others next month, including The Terraces on Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Muldowney said plans are in the works to have Amanda perform at local 55-and-older communities as well. Anybody interested in booking Amanda for one of her 45-minute shows, it’s best to contact Muldowney by email at nmuldowney1@comcast.net or by phone at 609-713-5194.

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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