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Theater Geek

Theater Geek

The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor

Before there was Glee or American Idol, there was Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in the Catskills where big-time Hollywood casting directors came to find the next generation of stars. It’s where Natalie Portman, Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Braff, Mandy Moore, Lea Michele, and many others got their start as kids. At age thirty-one, Mickey Rapkin, a senior editor at GQ and self-proclaimed theater geek, was lucky enough to go, too, when he followed three determined teen actors through the rivalries, heartbreak, and triumphs of a summer at Stagedoor Manor.

Every summer since 1975, a new crop of campers has entered Stagedoor Manor to begin an intense, often wrenching introduction to professional theater. The offspring of Hollywood players like Ron Howard, Nora Ephron, and Bruce Willis work alongside kids on scholarship. Some campers have agents, others are just beginning. The faculty—all seasoned professionals—demand adult-size dedication and performances from the kids. Add in talent scouts from Disney and Paradigm and you have an intense, exciting environment where some thrive and others fail. Eye-opening, funny, and full of drama and heart, Theater Geek offers an illuminating romp through the world of serious child actors.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439145777 | 
  • February 2011
List Price $16.00
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Admit it - you're a THEATER GEEK!

Theater Geek is a thrilling, dramatic, and inspiring look behind the curtain of Stagedoor Manor, the famed theater camp in the Catskills.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

It’s showtime


IN THE COZY LOBBY OF WHAT WAS ONCE A CATSKILLS HOTEL, nearly three hundred children sit, crammed in and anxious. It is day three at Stagedoor Manor, and in just a moment these campers will learn which roles they’ll play in one of the thirteen shows to be produced in the next three weeks. And the wait—the interminable wait!—will be over.

The vibe in the wood-paneled room is tense, the subtext of every conversation: God, I hope I get it. Campers flit about. Some sing aloud to themselves as they walk. The kids refer to this unconscious vocal expression as... see more

About the Author

Mickey Rapkin
Photograph © Taghi Naderzad

Mickey Rapkin

Mickey Rapkin is a senior editor at GQ magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, TimeOut New York, The New York Post, Entertainment Weekly, and other publications. His first book, Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory, was published in 2008 by Gotham Books. He graduated cum laude from Cornell University in 2000. He lives in Manhattan.

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