A Moment in the Woods: Stagedoor Manor Immerses Students in Theatre With In the Heights, Bloody Bloody and More

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08 Aug 2013

After each show bows, campers are spotted throughout the Stagedoor campus congratulating one another, sharing their thoughts on the productions and gearing up for their next chance in the spotlight — a camaraderie similar to the first three days of each session during auditions.

"The boys audition on Monday, and some of the girls do, [too, as well as] on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday morning, we wake up around 8 o'clock and have breakfast, and from 9:30-10 o'clock we have 'Reveal,' which is in the Cabaret Lobby," said Andrew Heddleson, 17, who explained that students audition blindly, not knowing what shows are in store for the summer. "All the directors come out and do a little skit to present their show. Last year for [the Maury Yeston musical] Phantom, they started playing Phantom of the Opera, and then the director said, 'No! That's the wrong Phantom!' So we find out what the shows are officially… They let the little kids go first to look at cast lists, and then we all run over to the cast list, and there's a huge group of people there. It's this huge [post of] 14 pieces of paper with 300 names on them, and all these kids are trying to find their own name. It's pretty crazy."

This summer, Heddleson, who played the title role in last year's Phantom, took on another title role — in the Stagedoor production of the Michael Friedman-Alex Timbers musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which blends an emo-rock score with historical fact to tell the story of America's controversial seventh U.S. President.

Heddleson, in leftover black eyeliner and black nail polish, fresh from his dress rehearsal at the Oasis Theatre — a theatre in the round and one of the eight houses at the camp — confessed that it was not only a challenge to carry the show after a ten-day rehearsal period, but that it was also demanding to digest the edgy themes of the groundbreaking musical.

"I mean, the language [is not jarring]," said Heddleson, who throws around profanity frequently in Bloody Bloody ("Underscore, motherf*ckers" was overheard during his dress rehearsal). "I think that it's not distasteful in the show. It serves its purpose, and it is artistically important to the show… But the themes, it's a bit of a struggle with him bleeding himself [during "Illness As Metaphor"] and the bigamy, but we have a great director [and a] great cast… It's a challenge. It's not something I'd ever get to do."

Stagedoor's production of Les Miz


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