By Rich Keitel
Shalom! My name is Rich Keitel. This is my second summer at GUCI. I have two sons who have been attending camp here for about a decade and they are currently on staff. My children have been extolling the magic of this place for years and it is truly a privilege to witness the special atmosphere that pervades in this camp.
A quick rundown of my background. I am a full tenured professor of theatre at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. I am also a professional director and equity actor with over 100 productions to my credit. This summer, I will be directing two musicals with the oldest unit, Anaf. The campers are very excited and it is something all the younger campers aspire toward. The show that I decided to direct for first session is the – shh! It’s still a secret!
We are busy rehearsing “The Greatest Musical of all time” (GMOAT). We held auditions the second day of camp and I’m proud to report that 100% of the Anaf campers were cast. We have been rehearsing feverishly every day since. I am so proud of the cast; I challenged them to be off book (that is theatre lingo for completely memorizing the script) in a week and they skillfully met my expectations. The entire cast also helps put on the show by working on various crews – set, props, backdrop, costumes, and Project Ruach, which helps get the camp excited about the show. I explained to the cast that the goal of rehearsal is to make the show better and better each day. I have been teaching them the same theatre games and tools that I use with my university students to improve their acting.
We are privileged to be rehearsing the show in our beautiful new building – the Mircaz Tarboot. This week the Anaf campers went on their three-day camping excursion, Kesher, and now that they have returned, we are working feverishly to polish and put on the GMOAT! We are having a great time in rehearsals; everybody is contributing their ideas and pitching in to create a memorable theatrical event. And wait until you see the beautiful cast t-shirts! I look forward to seeing future Garin, Shoresh and Geza campers work on a show when they join Anaf. Thank you for loaning me your talented children, it is an extreme pleasure to work with them.
[Editor’s Note: Want to post about Project on Facebook or Twitter? Use the hashtag #GMOAT! (Hashtags are now available on the Facebook platform as well as on Twitter.)]