America’s Premier Performing Arts Summer Camp – Stagedoor Manor
Stagedoor Manor – America’s Premier Performing Arts Summer Camp
Located in Loch Sheldrake, the former Catskill Borscht Belt resort hotel that serves as the setting for Todd Graff’s movie Camp, Stagedoor Manor is an intense theater immersion summer camp with famous alumni like Natalie Portman and Zach Braff. Each three-week session, students ages 10-18 mount 42 fully realized productions in eight onsite venues (3 proscenium theaters, 2 black boxes, and one theatre-in-the-round).
Students take over 60 beginning to advanced classes.
What is Stagedoor?
When the Samuelson daughters took over, they focused on building on their parents’ vision and expanding Stagedoor into a performing arts training center. They began by making a few cosmetic improvements, but soon they were converting an indoor pool into a high-end theater and overhauling an outdoor theatre.
Founded in 1976, the co-ed summer program is for youth who want total theater immersion. Each three week session puts on 14 full-scale productions, and the faculty – all seasoned professionals – demand adult-size dedication from their kids.
Mickey Rapkin’s film has the savvy, loving satire of young theater geeks shared by the likes of Glee and Wet Hot American Summer, but it is also a true account of a legendary summer camp for teenage actors. Alexandra Shiva’s documentary portrait of the devoted campers still dreaming of Broadway stardom is sloppy and sometimes aimless, but it’s also good-hearted and agreeable. Whether or not you agree with the kids’ ambitions, you’ll find yourself admiring their resilience in the face of industry competition and rejection.
The History of Stagedoor Manor
For 45 years kids ages 10-18 have immersed themselves in theater at the legendary performing arts summer camp located in the former Catskills Borscht Belt resort in Loch Sheldrake, New York. The camp is known for its renowned alumni and was the inspiration for Todd Graff’s 2003 independent feature, “Camp,” and the book, “Theater Geek.”
Stagedoor has long acted as an actor farm for Broadway and Hollywood and has given child actors like Natalie Portman, Zach Braff and Jon Cryer their start. Mickey Rapkin, author of Pitch Perfect (which exposed the riotous world of collegiate a cappella performance), spends a summer at Stagedoor and gives us an eye-opening chronicle of this unique place that continues to train young performers in an era of shrinking vacation spots.
Each three-week session of Stagedoor Manor includes 42 fully realized productions in the camp’s 8 onsite venues (3 proscenium, 2 black boxes, a theater-in-the-round and a natural outdoor amphitheater) as well as more than 60 beginning to advanced classes. Each year, over 280 students ranging in age from 10-18 attend the program.
The Facilities at Stagedoor Manor
Nestled among the ghost town vacation resorts of a bygone era in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains is Stagedoor Manor, America’s premiere theater workshop for kids age 10-18. Unlike the traditional summer camps depicted in Todd Graff’s 2003 film Camp, Stagedoor is a performing arts program with 42 full-scale productions and more than 60 beginner to advanced classes each three-week session.
The camp’s roster of alumni reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and Broadway. Actors Jon Cryer and Natalie Portman, as well as singers Mandy Moore and Zach Braff, all started here. The list of theatre composers and writers includes Jeanine Tesori, Jeff Blumenkrant and Nicky Silver.
Stagedoor’s associate producer, Hayley Samen, has spent so many years at the camp that she’s lost count. She’s seen firsthand how kids at the school can transform their lives. They are not just students; they’re family. And Stagedoor becomes more than a summertime pursuit; it’s an investment in a child’s future.
The Program at Stagedoor Manor
Each three-week session at the camp, students ages 10-18 participate in total theater immersion. The 170+ staff mount 42 fully realized productions in the former Catskill Borscht Belt resort town of Loch Sheldrake across eight onsite venues (two proscenium theaters, a theater-in-the-round and two black boxes, plus a natural outdoor amphitheater) along with more than 60 beginner to advanced classes.
Whether a student is interested in musical theatre or acting for film and television, the program will help them achieve their goals at a level beyond any other performing arts summer camp in the country. Students work with their own directors (if the show is a musical, with a music director), as well as professional Broadway and regional actors.
Fans of Todd Graff’s endearing Camp may be interested in Alexandra Shiva’s documentary about Stagedoor Manor, a real-life Catskills summer theater workshop. But despite its enjoyable observational moments, this sketchy portrait of budding young performers stretching their wings feels more like a loosely assembled television pilot than a feature-length documentary.
Stagedoor Manor – America’s Premier Performing Arts Summer Camp Located in Loch Sheldrake, the former Catskill Borscht Belt resort hotel that serves as the setting for Todd Graff’s movie Camp, Stagedoor Manor is an intense theater immersion summer camp with famous alumni like Natalie Portman and Zach Braff. Each three-week session, students ages 10-18 mount…