Amy Jordan Wants to Help You

September 8, 2018


Valerie Lopez


Richard Goodwin


In the movie flash­back of a the­atre performer’s sto­ry, the cam­era will often cut to a back­yard or base­ment scene, and cue the gel lens. On the stage, the bud­ding artist, backed by home­made sets, and in the sold out audi­ence, an array of stuffed ani­mals on the edges of their seats, cheer­ing her on in spir­it if not audibly.

When the cam­era pans out and back, reveal­ing Amy Jor­dan, it’s not a cloy­ing plot device, it’s a true life event from her younger years in Ded­ham, Mass­a­chu­setts. Call it fore­shad­ow­ing, call it fate, Jor­dan was bit­ten ear­ly by the bug that would even­tu­al­ly lead her to Austin, teach­ing sketch and improv at Fall­out The­ater and George­town Palace The­ater.

It wasn’t a direct jour­ney by any means. Though Jor­dan con­tin­ued to seek out per­for­mance oppor­tu­ni­ties, star­ring in her first musi­cal at the local all-boys high school; her all-girls school didn’t have the same oppor­tu­ni­ty, or, of course, the boys. Either way, it led to Jordan’s first per­for­mance in Okla­homa!.

The stage was scratch­ing the right itch­es, but Jor­dan still hadn’t land­ed on the­ater as a career. She arrived at Uni­ver­si­ty of Dal­las, packed and ready to embark on a genet­ics major, when fate, as it is wont to do, inter­vened and the real­iza­tion hit her that the the­ater was where she tru­ly want­ed to be. 

This is where we’d break the 4th wall in the movie, and reveal that Jor­dan is not only in front of the cam­era but behind it as well. She found as much enjoy­ment in the craft of stage man­age­ment as she did per­form­ing, and worked her way into an intern­ship doing just that. 

Jor­dan still per­formed, but bound by the Shake­speare­an mate­r­i­al avail­able to her in her stud­ies, a far cry from the bound­less field that she’d even­tu­al­ly explore with improv. As time passed, she tried her hand at stand-up, after see­ing a show (and meet­ing a future ex-boyfriend) she was brought to in order to cheer her up. There’s often a bit of a divid­ing line between the improv and stand-up fields, a dif­fer­ence in how the sto­ries are craft­ed and curat­ed. For Jor­dan, though, she didn’t see standup as a per­for­mance. She tells Valerie Lopez that she felt standup was a con­ver­sa­tion with friends” that just hap­pened to be the audience. 

Exit the afore­men­tioned rela­tion­ship, accom­pa­nied by some sol­id lessons on how to deal with an apart­ment lease in such a sit­u­a­tion. Austin pro­vid­ed a des­ti­na­tion for Jor­dan at a time when she need­ed a change of scene (hon­est­ly, no pun intend­ed), both geo­graph­i­cal­ly and bol­ster­ing her piv­ot from man­ag­ing the stage to grac­ing it. And when she arrived she deployed her stan­dard M.O.: find the per­for­mance scene, soak it in, learn it inside and out. I’m like, super into, yes AND’ing the world, when things go crazy,” Jor­dan says. She worked her way through improv class­es, then sketch, at Fall­out The­atre (for­mer­ly New Move­ment), and quick­ly became a found­ing mem­ber of her first sketch troupe, The Neigh­bor­hood.

I’m super into yes AND’ing the world, like when things go crazy.” – Amy Jordan
8 years lat­er, The Neigh­bor­hood is still a part of her life, but has joined a cadre of oth­er projects, like the Yes But Why pod­cast Jor­dan hosts, and her recent new role of par­ent. She’s a major pro­mot­er of Austin and its cre­ative scene, bal­anc­ing her ros­ter of roles (wife, moth­er, teacher, per­former, pod­cast host) to ensure she can give back to the com­mu­ni­ty as much as she can. Jor­dan is pas­sion­ate about teach­ing, whether it’s work­ing with sea­soned improv stu­dents, or fash­ion­ing an approach­able Mad Libs style class for kids. Yes But Why is a direct out­growth of that pas­sion, dig­ging into the back­ground of per­form­ers, and the deci­sions – momen­tous or triv­ial – that shape their lives and careers.

Before we roll the cred­its (some­thing Jor­dan thrills over exam­in­ing, silent­ly giv­ing props in the the­ater to all the peo­ple that make movies hap­pen), there has to be a dénoue­ment. In this sto­ry, it’s that The Neigh­bor­hood is actu­al­ly draw­ing to a close. In Novem­ber, they’re cel­e­brat­ing their 8th anniver­sary, and also mark­ing the begin­ning of their last run of shows. 

The expe­ri­ence has giv­en so much to Jor­dan, and she hopes it’s giv­en just as much back to Austin and the com­mu­ni­ty. It’s just time to move on to the next chap­ter, or sequel, if you will, and she’s already soak­ing in the books, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and options, for her next incarnation.

Austin’s a big place, and…there’s plen­ty of places I can go try to empow­er women and oth­er peo­ple.”Amy Jor­dan

One thing she knows for cer­tain: it will be about bring­ing pos­i­tiv­i­ty and encour­age­ment to as many peo­ple as she can. Austin’s a big place, and…there’s plen­ty of places I can go try to empow­er women and oth­er peo­ple,” Jor­dan tells Valerie. We agree, and, some­what unlike that ear­ly base­ment audi­ence, we’re stand­ing and loud­ly applaud­ing her mission. 

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