College of Visual and Performing Arts Stories

CVPA Spotlight Series: Emmanuel Kikoni

Emmanuel Kikoni Slideshow

SUMMARY: Senior Emmanuel Kikoni is the recipient of a Steinway Scholarship.

By Jen Kulju ('04M)

Emmanuel Kikoni “picked up the genes” of his musical family, one well versed in the arts. His parents sang in choirs before immigrating to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1980s. Kikoni began singing at the age of five in Bowie, Maryland, and developed an interest in comedy and acting by watching the likes of Raven-Symoné and Josh Peck on television. Kikoni tried his feet at dancing, which came naturally, and before long he was singing and dancing in church and at weddings. In high school in Dumfries, Virginia, Kikoni auditioned for the Drama Club, where he would realize a love for performing on stage in plays—and then in musicals. Performing in musicals grew into writing musicals and eventually into applying to JMU’s Musical Theatre Program.

Kikoni “fell in love” with campus after going to CHOICES and CHOICES+ events—and was able to attend JMU thanks to a generous Steinway Scholarship. Now a senior musical theatre major graduating in May 2021, Kikoni has performed in the Forbes Center main stage productions of Into the Woods, Parade, Side Show, and Walls. He also choreographed and played the violin for his Musician role in Walls (pictured above), has directed a workshop musical called Venice, and participated in the transformation of the Studio Theatre production of Forever You and Guys. During his freshman year, Kikoni was a writer for Harrisonburg: The Musical and fed his “dance soul” as part of Mozaic Dance Team; he has been fueling his “comedic spirit” since a sophomore through his involvement with Maddy Night Live, and seeks to “Be the Change” by spearheading boundary-pushing, nontraditional storytelling projects and initiatives that advocate for the arts and underrepresented populations. Emmanuel's website

Walls photo by Richard Finkelstein

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Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, July 8, 2021

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