Theater Geek: The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor, the Famous Performing Arts Camp
The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor, the Famous Performing Arts Camp
by Mickey Rapkin
$25.00 List Price
Child actors exert a droll fascination. The contradictions of the profession—flamboyant personalities and Spartan discipline, the extrovert's desire to perform amid constant rejection—blossom in even its youngest members. In Theater Geek, Mickey Rapkin, a senior editor at GQ, spends a summer among this unusual breed at Stagedoor Manor, a renowned performing-arts camp in New York's Catskill Mountains. Rapkin, whose previous book, Pitch Perfect (2008), exposed the riotous collegiate a cappella performance circuit, has a journalist's flair for uncovering riveting stories in unexpected arenas.
Stagedoor Manor, for those not among the young-thespian cognoscenti, is the nonpareil of performing-arts summer camps. In this ambitious and exacting program, 290 campers put on thirteen full-scale theatrical productions in only three weeks. Campers as young as ten attend up to five hours of rehearsals daily in addition to classes in acting and voice, stage combat, tap, and ballet. With so much talent passing through the small town of Loch Sheldrake, it has become a regular stop for New York City scouts and casting agents. One manager describes it, with a whiff of commodification, as "one-stop shopping."
Rapkin follows three campers through their last summer at Stagedoor. Harry Katzman, suffering through senior year at a private Episcopal school in South Carolina, enters a room like Eva Peron and has his iPod organized according to West End versus Broadway cast recordings. Rachel Singer, five feet tall and busty, has a phenomenal voice and acting talent, but little self-esteem. And