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Theater Geek: The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor, the Famous Performing Arts Camp Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439145768
  • ASIN: B0048ELEWW
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,201,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stagedoor Manor is famous in the performing arts community for transforming young unknowns into the likes of Natalie Portman and Robert Downey, Jr., two previous participants. Rapkin, a senior editor at GQ, follows three campers as they rehearse for major roles in Sondheim shows and recounts the camp's storied history, complete with anecdotes of overly-dramatic directors and lax adult oversight fueled by sex and drugs (far more entertaining that any of the present-day shenanigans). Although Rapkin has obviously spoken frequently with each of his chosen subjects, he neither delves into their stories, nor questions the outlandish things they say. Indeed, one girl's rivalry with another veteran camper is presented with such gravity that it almost seems... important. Then the reader recalls that this was on a one-day production put on by teens in a Pennsylvania forest. Theatre is a powerful force, but Rapkin rarely explores beyond the proscenium. Instead, he embraces the relationship between Stagedoor and the industry with little question, leading one to wonder what the campers who didn't land the lead, or the agent, might have to say about all this.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A 31-year-old senior editor for GQ, Rapkin indulges his inner theater geek by spending a session at Stagedoor Manor, a celebrated performing-arts summer camp for kids. His account of the experience is a chatty, stage-struck combination of history—the camp has been a Catskills fixture for more than three decades—and human interest: that is, his fly-on-the-wall observation of the final session three talented teens will spend there before heading off to college. Rapkin brings a leavening of seriousness to his mix by stressing the importance of Stagedoor Manor as a place that provides a haven for any child with a love of the arts who . . . feels other. He also writes of the changes that this age of American Idol and YouTube have visited on the Stagedoor culture. But overall this is an unabashed love letter to a facility that remains a microcosm of the New York theater scene. Definitely not for cynical readers, but theater geeks will, well, . . . geek out over it. --Michael Cart

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Larsen on May 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...but Mickey Rapkin got the honor, and he got it right.

As a key member of the staff at Stagedoor Manor for 24 years (1979-2002), I can tell you that the number of times I heard the phrase, "God, you could write a book about this place" was rivaled only by the number of lifelong relationships I found there. In "Theater Geek," Mickey has found the true heart of the place I still think of as home. He wisely observes the welcoming warmth and generosity of spirit that makes Stagedoor Stagedoor. It would have been so easy to have made this book a collection of gossipy and bitchy anecdotes. Mickey mostly eschews these in favor of some insightful and very true observations on the homey, down-to-earth and all-embracing world that Stagedoor creates for its collection of misfits known as theater geeks. I mean, there are enough edgy anecdotes to keep you laughing, but Mickey understands that the place didn't and doesn't operate on cynicism and rivalry. It operates on people of a mutual quirk - love of theater - who come together for the summer each year, leaving behind their misunderstanding school, and sometimes, home lives. They come to a non-judgmental and loving place where everyone can find acceptance if they embrace it.

If you've never heard of Stagedoor Manor, this book will bring you into a world of achievement, disappointment, soaring emotions, painful laughter, dreams realized and dreams unrequited. You will look at the process of creating theater with a whole new appreciation. You will also be delighted that someone has written something that sings the praises of young people eager to learn, possessed of an extraordinary work-ethic, supportive of each other, and strangely moral, despite plenty of the typical summer camp immoralities!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David Quinn on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mickey so carefully captures the history of Stagedoor Manor that I actually had to put the book down at one point because I was crying. It's a carefully written, thoughtfully constructed love letter to Stagedoor Manor - the greatest performing arts camp in the world!

From the playwright/performer Charles Busch to playwright Nicky Silver to composer Jeanine Tesori to actors Robert Downey Jr, Jon Cryer, and Natalie Portman -- Mickey carefully lays out the history of Stagedoor's creation...and then gives us all an inside peek at a summer at Stagedoor Manor.

I can't (and won't) hide how much I love this book! It's just beautiful!

BUY IT for any kid who has ever loved theater!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RBrombe on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a lover of all things musical theater, I thoroughly enjoyed Rapkin's tell-all about Stagedoor Manor. I attended a different theater summer camp (also mentioned in the book), and it was wonderful to relive those moments again. Learning about the history and development of the camp, as well as following three campers in their last year, brought back some great memories - a great book for anyone who loves musical theater or summer camp!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Haykin on August 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great book! I enjoyed reading it on my Kindle for iPhone (though I think some of the pictures were missing in that edition).

The author balances the historical aspects and a fly on the wall insight into the camp today with finesse. Being a theatre geek myself, I connected with these kids and yearned to go back in time 15 years and attend the camp myself.

A must read to self-proclaimed theatre geeks!
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By Adriana S. Perez on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fun little peek into the world of Jr. Theatre Geeks. Fun, light, and fluffy read. It won't change your life.
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By Mom on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been considering sending my daughter to this camp for years, but the price tag is too high. At least now I know more about it and can take all this into consideration when I look at other camps. I would recommend this to anyone thinking about sending their kid to theater summer camp, regardless of what level. It has certainly changed how I am looking at camps.
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By laura on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was a wonderful book and I enjoyed every page. I attended Stagedoor and related to alot of what Mickey wrote in the book. I loved that he included pictures. I am so proud to be part of this Camp.
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