Zach Braff talks about time at camp in NY Times article

Actor Zach Braff is a newcomer to Broadway – he’s appearing in the musical Bullets Over Broadway – but as he explains in an article for the New York Times he’s no stranger to the stage. In the article, the Scrubs star talks about his journey from a camper at Stagedoor Manor in New York to Broadway.

This is what he had to say about his time at the famed performing arts summer camp:

Braff in a 1988 production of Godspell at Stagedoor Manor
Braff in a 1988 production of Godspell at Stagedoor Manor

A few years later, at Stagedoor Manor in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., I joined an intensive theater boot camp for kids just like me. The second I stepped off the bus, I felt like baby Simba when he’s lifted into the air in “The Lion King” and all the animals sing. Everyone was affectionate; everyone hugged; no was called “gay” for doing anything that wasn’t masculine. (My insecurity about this had shamefully kept me from doing theater in school.) It was utopia, and I never wanted to leave.

It was there I met Michael Larsen, the musical director of the camp. He told me that I wasn’t just a camper having fun, but that I also had talent. And he was tough — sometimes he’d scream at me — but I knew it was because he thought I had a shot. (Michael was the first of many gay men instrumental in guiding me to where I am now, which is why I try to speak on behalf of gay rights whenever I can. But I suppose that’s a different essay.)

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Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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