Theater Geek: The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor (Paperback)

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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.

Praise For…


“There is a particular genus of teenagers who break into song spontaneously with their friends, know all the words to Rent and/or Wicked, and will do anything for a taste of being onstage in front of an audience. They’re called theater geeks, and I am a card-carrying member of their ranks. I’d have killed to go to Stagedoor Manor as a kid. After reading Mickey Rapkin's fascinating, hilarious new book on ‘my kind,’ I feel like I spent an unforgettable summer there. It’s a joyous and touching book. And no one’s gonna bring it doooowwwwnn!”

—Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights



“A penetrating and deeply entertaining study of theater and ambition, but more importantly an intimate portrait of youthful obsession. Theater Geek made me wish I could go back to the time when all my friends thought they would make something beautiful someday.”

—Benjamin Nugent, author of “American Nerd: The Story of My People”



“As a former child actor with my own dashed dreams of fame, I was overcome with envy reading about the enchanted goings-on at Stagedoor Manor. Mickey Rapkin’s fascinating account is as much about the details of this quirky theatre camp as it is about how teenagers cope with talent, ambition and that fleeting amount of time before they become adults.”

— Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free



“If you’re in the market for a field guide to the musical theater fanatic in your life, look no further! If, for any reason, you’re not in the market for such a thing, Mickey Rapkin’s Theater Geek is about to change that. His wonderful journey into the heart of the ‘Stagedoor Mafia’ will make you want to find your very own theater geek to love. Or, at the very least, someone who can appreciate a quality production of Cabaret.”

—Sloane Crosley, author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number



"A light-hearted look inside Stagedoor Manor." -Library Journal



“In his wonderful new book about the history of the camp, THEATER GEEK, Mickey Rapkin recounts Stagedoor’s colorful history and takes us on a backstage tour of the lives of young, real-life drama queens….There are times, even today, when I see a great piece of theater—or my eyes tear up from some visual display of unconditional love—that I cannot help but daydream about going back. And Rapkin’s book took me there.” —Zach Braff, Vanity Fair



"An unabashed love letter to a facility that remains 'a microcosm of the New York theater scene.'" -Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9781439145777
ISBN-10: 1439145776
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: February 15th, 2011
Pages: 260
Language: English