Robert Kopf (center) and company performing last year at Stagedoor Manor (Courtesy Stagedoor Manor)
A frequently asked question at the performing arts camp Stagedoor Manor is "Why do people keep coming back year after year?" I consulted my roommates and they all agreed, as would many others, that we keep returning for the people.
This might come as a surprise to some since Stagedoor was ranked one of the top five summer camps in the country. It may come as a surprise that the great directors, facilities, staff, classes and talent are secondary. This is not, of course, to undermine the work of the faculty and sweep it aside as unimportant or sub-par. But for campers, its their classmates and cast members who draw them back.
For others, it's a little different. After conferring with my current director, he answered with the question "Where else would I go?" It's worth noting, however, that he is one of the premier and most seasoned directors at Stagedoor and has won the accolades of camp dignitaries and campers alike. For some, like my director, it is about making a difference, but, of course, for others it may be about a strict dedication to their craft.
For a small few of the members of SDM, the friends and relationships established here are secondary. Although I used to return year after year (until I was actually participating in all three sessions offered here) for the friends, for now my reasoning has slightly changed. Stagedoor has now become the only place for me to exercise my skills in musical and straight theater, which has, to a certain degree, risen in importance over the people, especially since many of my friends have graduated or moved on to more circumscribing commitments and programs. Although my reasons have changed over the years, I don't think I would return if all of my friends were to cease coming back and I'm sure other campers would say the same.
For more information on Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center, visit www.stagedoormanor.com.