Cameron Players team with area kids for Broadway spectacular
The Old School auditorium received a surge of energy with the Cameron Community Players wrapping up their two-week camp Saturday with ‘Dream Big: A Broadway Review’.
More than 50 area children participated in the two-week camp, which culminated Saturday with ‘A Broadway Review’ featuring songs from various popular plays with many campers learning music and choreography for multiple appearances.
“I practiced a lot, pretty much every chance I could get,” said Mariah Anderson, who performed in five different numbers Saturday night alongside friend Allison Brown. “We were here every night, but Sundays, from 4 to 6 p.m. and we had longer nights. It’s just a lot of fun. [Saturday] was emotional. I had lots of tears because I wish I could do it more.”
The Cameron Community Players sponsored this year’s camp. Teri Robinson, CCP director, said her organization alternates hosting a camp or putting on a summer production each year. Although intended to introduce children to performance theater, Robinson said the camp gives children a deep understanding of theater from the audition process, rehearsals and eventually a live show.
“We do it workshop style, so we teach them auditions going all of the way through to the end of the performance,” Robinson said. “We have a three-day audition workshop. We talked about what those are and how to do them. We do auditions and, obviously, they all get to participate no matter what.”
Robinson said she styled each lesson to the individual camper. With the camp representing many children’s first encounter with live performance, Robinson said she discussed with each camper his or her comfort level and tailored their experience to where Robinson thought he or she would best excel.
“Some of them who say they’re not comfortable with a solo at the beginning may be comfortable with it at the end,” Robinson said. “I save a few of the shorter ones for the kids that get brave. That is our goal – to give them confidence. They’re amazing. They went above and beyond what I was expecting.”
For Allison Brown, the camp taught more than the in-and-outs professional performing arts. Between performances she and Mariah Anderson had a hand in the backstage production, leading some of the younger campers from station to station for various costume changes throughout the night. Although pleased with her own performance, she said she felt elated when she saw the growth of some of the more inexperienced actors.
“I’veseen a lot of children’s theater shows. I’m used to being in a lot of stuff and it took a lot of practice and listening to the songs at home,” Brown said. “[The younger campers] are a hoot. They are so fun. Backstage, we had to help keep the kids in the chairs and get all of their costumes on and make sure they were in their places for their songs. It was pretty hectic, especially with the fast changes we had to do. We were very busy. I just love seeing their faces light up and being so excited, especially the ones doing it for the first time.”
With this year’s camp now in the books, Robinson said the Cameron Players will now begin working on their own show for next summer.