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MAY. 9, 2017

The Making of the Camp Musical

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Dressing up to go see the Camp musical each summer is one of my favorite camp events, and has been since my early years as a counselor when I help direct many shows: “Annie”, “Oklahoma”, “Oliver”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, and “Peter Pan” among others. I love watching all ages of campers – from Cabin 9 boys to Cabin 5 girls – gather their courage, take the stage, and sing their hearts out on the night of the show. The campers’ smiles, songs, and dance moves entertain and delight me and all of other campers and staff that fill the New Lodge for the performance. More than that, I find myself filled with joy when the first musical number ends and the audience erupts in wild applause. Watching the camp musical reminds me of how successful we are at creative a nurturing, supportive community at the Nest.

Producing the Camp musical is a community event. In addition to having a musical class for the cast, we also have a set design class for campers interested in designing and building the sets. The set design class reads the script, imagines the set that they would like to create, and spends the next couple of weeks building, painting, and hanging the set. I’ve seen some pretty elaborate sets over the years. One of my favorites was the stage for “Carousel”. The set design class decided that they wanted to make the stage resemble an actual carousel. They built a round stage, drilled a hole in the New Lodge floor and dropped a pole down through the floor to the Arts Arena below. At a particularly poignant part of the show, a group of Cabin Tree Tops campers took hold of the pole and walked in circles to make the stage revolve. It was pretty spectacular! We also have a costuming class for campers interested in creating the costumes for the show. The campers in the costuming class search the depths of our costume closets, and sometimes take trips to the second hand stores, to find costumes that can be up-dated for the show. They learn to use sewing machines, and some also help the actors with make-up. For the show “The Jungle Book” they made and created plaster masks for each of the animals in the show. By the time the curtain goes up, about 30% of our campers have played some part in making the musical a success. Of course, all of the campers involved enjoy seeing the fruits of their hard work at creativity (and the cake and ice cream at the cast party). Check out these pictures from last year’s musical to get a glimpse at the sets and costumes and SMILES.

We’ve already selected the musical for the coming summer and we’re SOOOO excited about it. Austin, who directed “Hairspray” and “James and the Giant Peach” and Jordy will be back to direct this year’s show. I can’t wait to see what they create!

Do you want to be a part of the musical this summer? There are still some spaces in Session 2. Register today and start rehearsing your audition song!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director