New theater camp comes to Shrewsbury


By Mary Pritchard Contributing Writer

(l to r) Michael Lapomardo, Nancy Freeman and Nathan Colby of Centre Stage Productions welcome students in grades 8 through12 to register now for their summer theater camp to be held at Oak Middle School. PHOTO/MARY PRITCHARDShrewsbury – What began as conversation last summer has evolved into an opportunity for teens in Shrewsbury and surrounding towns to be part of a creative and engaging summer camp that will provide an entertaining musical for audiences, as well as the personal growth and enjoyment of camp participants.

Founded by Shrewsbury High School music and theater teacher, Michael Lapomardo, and actor, director, designer and educator, Nathan Colby, Centre Stage Pro- ductions will offer a two-week summer camp held at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury from June 23 through July 8 with performances July 9 and 10. Nancy Freeman, a fixture and vital volunteer in the theater productions of the middle school and high school in Shrewsbury over the last twelve years, is the camp's producer.

“There is a definite need for a program for kids in grades 8 through 12,” Lapomardo said. “There was previously a theater camp in Shrewsbury which closed. Most kids look forward to doing something over the summer; we expect this camp to fill quickly.”

Aware that the name of the Tony Award winning show they will perform, “Urinetown: The Musical,” sounds “curious,” Lapomardo, Colby and Freeman assure the public that the show is great for families.

“Don's judge a book by its cover,” Lapomardo said.

“The show is fun, yet poignant,” Colby added. “It has a valid point to make.”

Freeman has taken her four sons to see the show.

“It is a fun family show,” she said. “Adults will see the bigger picture and the kids will have fun.”

While the camp is being held in Shrewsbury, it is not affiliated with the Shrewsbury Public Schools.

“We are trying to branch out to all of Shrewsbury and surrounding communities,” Lapomardo said. “This camp is a different experience than school theater. It's a more personal setting. Students get their moment to shine and have new experiences – the many interpretations from different directors, taking risks, connection to a new group. We really see major change during the two weeks, from a quiet kid to a shining star.”

Colby feels the camp offers a valuable opportunity for kids to expand their knowledge and experience.

“My advice is to experience as much as you can as a student: meeting new people, being with other kids who are into the same things in different towns, opening one's eyes to new things.”

From a parent's perspective, Freeman adds, “It's nice for kids to share this experience with a group but it's individual at the same time. It builds confidence. The small group becomes like a second family, they learn to work together as a team to produce a good product and it results in as much satisfaction as a sport.”

Registration is open through April 30, with a discount before April 23. The program is supported in part by a grant from the Shrewsbury Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

For information on Centre Stage Productions or to register for camp, visit Tickets for performances are $8 and available through the box office at 508-414-4488 or [email protected].

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