By Rachel Dunphy
“A Tribute to Broadway” was the title of this year’s Shelburne Musical Theater Camp, a collaboration of the Shelburne Recreation Department and the Shelburne Players. In the past, the camp’s culminating performance has been a full play or musical. This year, though, it was all music all the time as the 16-member cast of eight to 14-year-olds took the audience through a six-song set representing over 50 years of famous show tunes. All of this occurred against a hand-painted backdrop of the New York skyline with a plane flying a banner above it proclaiming, “Welcome to Broadway.”
Over a dozen families from town came to support the young performers, chatting amiably with friends and neighbors while they waited for their children to finish the final preparations for their performance.
After a brief introduction by Camp Director Timothy Maynes, the kids gave a very enjoyable performance and clearly had a lot of fun doing it. Campers had selected the entire set list themselves on the first day of camp and their enthusiasm for the music was plain to see. They frolicked around stage to classic numbers like “Mamma Mia!” and “Do Re Mi,” twirling umbrellas through a rendition of “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Following the show, parents and friends excitedly ran to their respective cast members and congratulated them on a job very well done. A small cast party was organized in the adjacent room and everyone enjoyed brownies and lemonade while the kids celebrated their achievement and gathered all of their things.
For Maynes and Betsy Howland, a Shelburne Players board member, this is all they’d hoped for from the camp. “For me, it’s seeing the kids becoming more confident through theater,” said Maynes of his reasons for directing the camp. Howland explained the history of the program; the Shelburne Players, founded in 2002, had been looking for a way to get involved with kids in the community when the Rec. Department asked them to help organize the theater camp. “[We] jumped at the chance,” said Howland.
Eventually she said simply, “The arts are important for kids,” and seeing them all up there, dancing and singing and having a grand old time, it was impossible not to understand exactly what she meant.