Actress Jordan Tyson, a Malverne High School alumnus, was recently recognized as a part of YesBroadway’s 40 Under 40 for 2018. As a person that spent part of her childhood in Baltimore, MD, Tyson’s earliest experience on stage didn’t go as she had hoped. She said that she suffered from stage fright.
“I told myself that I would never get on stage again,” Tyson recalled.
When Tyson, 20, moved to Malverne in 2009, where most of her family members live, she felt much more comfortable. When she initially returned, Tyson admitted that she was still shy, but Malverne is where she was able to grow the most.
“Even when I was in Baltimore, I always had my heart set on New York,” Tyson said. “For me, Malverne was where my family was and that’s where my heart was.”
During the 10th grade, she performed in her first musical, “In the Heights,” at Malverne High School, which she described as a life-changing experience. She played the lead role of Carla, and she got to showcase her vocals.
“Everyone who meets her and sees her sing and act is equally amazed by the brilliance and musicality that she brings to every performance,” said Ken Zagare, Tyson’s high school teacher who teaches mixed chorus. “She lays her heart out on the stage for every performance. “I look forward to watching her in many productions in the future."
Zagare helped Tyson prepare for her NYSSMA solos each year as he taught her sight-singing from scratch, how to play piano, and also helped her realize that she had the qualities to make it as a musician.
“Jordan has amazing qualities that go beyond her gorgeous voice,” said Deanna Vitola, who teaches musical theory, which helps to develop skills of musical knowledge, aural skills, as well as sight-reading skills. “So many people want to work with her, of course, because of her wonderful talent, but also because her humbleness and kindness. I am so proud, and she is truly amazing.”
Tyson would go on to perform in other lead roles such as Janet in, “The Drowsy Chaperone” and Fiona in, “Shrek the Musical.” Through her performances, Tyson said, she felt that the connection made between the audience and the actors is a special feeling.
“I thought to myself that if something like this can make people feel welcome and feel connected in some way,” Tyson explained, “then I have to do this for the rest of my life.”
Tyson received several accolades during her high school career that include being placed in the NAfME All-County Chorus, the NYSSMA All-State Chorus, the NAfME All-Eastern Chorus, as well as the ACDA All-Eastern Chinese Repertoire Choir, along with many other honors.
Tyson credited her teachers at Malverne High School that helped her along the way.
“She really was such a dedicated student,” Vitola said. “She was focused and put 100 percent into everything she did.”
Like Zagare, Vitola also helped Tyson perfect the piano, which she has since utilized in some of her performances.
“Even in high school, her voice was absolutely Broadway material,” Vitola said. “I knew she would go places.”
After Tyson graduated from high school in 2015, she was accepted to Marymount Manhattan College where she pursued her dreams in musical theatre.
Along with her work onstage, Tyson has also become an activist. She became a vegetarian when she was 10 years old, and she shares her knowledge with others on the benefits.
“I feel like artists are activists in changing people in ways that you may not even know, but just making yourself vulnerable on a stage in front of people,” Tyson said.
As for the future, Tyson hopes to create her own work as a writer. “I have a great community of people supporting me, and I am surrounded by wonderful artists. Why not create something for myself? Even if it’s bad, maybe I’ll be inspiring someone else to write. You never know what your work is going to do for someone else.”