Twenty-one aspiring theatre lovers, ages 10-16, convened in New York City for a one-week program of "Camp Broadway," where the kids were taught to "act like a star, sing like a diva, and dance like a pro." The pilot program, Aug. 12-16, hopes to be the launchpad for several other programs throughout the year.
The kids arrived on Monday and met with a call of "places," their cue that the program was starting for the day. They saw the Gypsy Robe (a Broadway tradition for nearly all new musicals); took dance, singing, and acting classes; and broke into small groups to prepare original song and dance numbers to perform for the other campers at the end of the week.
Tuesday afternoon the kids met with Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Patrick Lavery, the two kids who share the role of Chip in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. The Camp Broadway kids were full of questions for the actors, including "how did you get your role?" "Where do you live?", and "Don't you ever get bored?" When asked how much they earned, Keenan-Bolger and Lavery tried to explain that their contract forbids them from revealing such information. "Aw, come on, you can tell us!" they all shouted.
Wednesday afternoon the campers went as a group to see the Broadway show Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk at the Ambassador Theatre. Afterwards, campers got to meet with the cast and ask questions about being on Broadway. Other programs hope to use Broadway shows as well, the show depending on what's playing at the time of the program.
The camp takes place at the new facilities for New York University's Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21) at 18 West 18th Street. Frank Ventura, the artistic director of CAP21 is the head counselor for the group, and teaches the campers singing and dance ensemble pieces. The cost of the pilot program was $900 for the week, including all instruction, meals, snacks, theatre tickets, artist journal, t-shirts, insurance, etc. Beginning in early October, Camp Broadway will commence weekend sessions. For more information on Camp Broadway and a schedule of activities, call Camp Headquarters at 212-388-7331 or email CampBrdway@aol.com.
-- By Katie Webber