Friday, June 18, 2010
Camping Out at ASU by Bill Ahearn
What a magical way to spend the week. Camp Broadway is underway! 75 Arizona theater-loving students, ages 10 - 17, are spending these five days learning about singing, dancing and acting ... and gaining self-esteem and life skills that will benefit them no matter where the future takes them.
As a long-time ASU Gammage patron and supporter of programs for our youth, I’m helping out by taking pictures of their classes. In reality, that’s just an excuse for me to sit in on the theater tips being given by the staff, all Broadway professionals. And that’s not all, for the student’s week is not all work. They will attend the Broadway show IN THE HEIGHTS which is currently playing at ASU Gammage. To top off the experience, they will also get a backstage tour and lunch and a question-and-answer period with members of the cast and crew!
Their classes and rehearsals culminate in their “Family Finale” on Friday afternoon. The younger students present a shortened version of “Guys and Dolls,” the older kids, “Fiddler on the Roof.” In keeping with Camp Broadway’s philosophy that “every child is a star,” all have the opportunity to have some dialog or a solo in a song. Of course, the show has to end with a big Broadway spectacular, with all 75 in the concluding production number.
If that doesn’t seem busy enough, they spend time daily in small groups to write and choreograph a skit. They mix the plots of two Broadway musicals, adapt the words of several of the shows’ songs, practice, and hit the stage Friday with their new show. Imagine combining “Hairspray” with “Little Shop of Horrors” and you’ll have an idea of how zany their creativity can be.
Camp Broadway is Broadway’s original summer theater camp. ASU Gammage is proud to have been the first to bring the program on the road 10 years ago. ASU Gammage thanks the many patrons and companies whose support has made this opportunity available to our students.