Saturday, May 28, 2022

Alumna’s Ford Center Exhibit Takes Viewers Backstage on Broadway

By Michael Taplin

University of Mississippi

Jenny Anderson’s exhibit of backstage photographs from Broadway is open to the public in the first-level atrium of the Ford Center through the spring. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

University of Mississippi alumna Jenny Anderson, a freelance photographer working in New York City, is returning to her native state to showcase her first solo exhibition, “The In Between: Intimate & Candid Moments of Broadway’s Stars.”

With a reception slated for 6:30 p.m. Friday (Jan. 28) on the first-level atrium of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the exhibit runs through the spring semester. It pieces together the Broadway community from rehearsals to show openings, covering a 14-year span.

The exhibit represents an opportunity for Ford Center to support an Ole Miss alumna and offer a special exhibit to the LOU community, said Kate Meacham, the theater’s assistant director of marketing.

“As a theater that regularly presents the national touring productions of Broadway shows, this exhibit showing backstage photos of Broadway stars really connects with what we do,” Meacham said. “We truly appreciate Jenny’s willingness to let us exhibit them.”

After living in several areas across the Magnolia State, Anderson attended Jones County Junior College before transferring to Ole Miss to follow her true passions: photography and theater. As a student, she worked as a photo editor for the Daily Mississippian.

“Jenny is an exceptionally gifted journalist,” said Ellen Meacham, a journalism instructor who served as the DM’s faculty adviser while Anderson was a student in 2007. “She has a knack of catching a person’s personality with just one look that speaks volumes, which I think is what makes her in such high demand, and what makes her such an exceptional storyteller.

“It’s both a credit to her craft and her ability to put the people she photographs at ease.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in theater, Anderson left Mississippi for New York, where she worked for three months as a souvenir photographer with Circle Line Cruises. After that, she accepted a photography internship with Broadway.com and a few months later, a full-time position as a photo editor.

Following a childhood surrounded by the arts, her skills behind the camera paved the way for a career in the field, which has led to her first solo exhibition almost 15 years later.

“I grew up around my parents, who were both artists,” Anderson said. “My dad was an art teacher and my mom was always performing in musicals.

“I was submerged in photography and theater my whole life; I was too practical to think photography could be a career choice rather than just a hobby.”

From the beginning, her career has been a success. “The In Between” collection features 45 intimate, behind-the-scenes images of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Sutton Foster and Glenn Close, as well as actor, playwright, producer and film director Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Anderson’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue, People and other global publications.

The photographer will be a guest speaker for one of Ellen Meacham’s journalism classes before the exhibit’s opening reception. She will be reflecting upon her childhood inspirations and her journey that is heavily influenced by journalism, photography and theater.

The Ford Center is open to the public 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. All exhibit attendees must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information, call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411.


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