SFAC Musical Theater Camp: Newsies Takes the Stage in 2024

In late July every year, Broadway comes to Sitka. Broadway, you say? Yes, Broadway - in the form of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (SFAC) Musical Theater production. 

In late July every year, Broadway comes to Sitka. Broadway, you say? Yes, Broadway – in the form of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (SFAC) Musical Theater production.

Production of Cinderella by SFAC Musical Theater Camp 2023

Past shows include Seussical: The Musical, Little Mermaid, Legally Blonde, Oklahoma, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This year, Newsies takes the stage.

In 2009, SFAC director Roger Schmidt wanted to maximize camp space and resources. He recruited two current instructors, Andrew Hames (vocals) and WT McRae (acting). From these discussions came the idea of putting on productions that followed a summer stock model, with which McRae had experience.

That first year, Bye Bye Birdie was staged under the direction of McRae, with Hames organizing the vocal and music pieces. McRae explains, “Birdie was selected as the first production because I had directed it before, which allowed me to focus on other moving pieces of the show.”

Zeke Blackwell, Director of SFAC Musical Theater Camp

Musical Theater Camp begins the Sunday after High School Camp ends. The program has now evolved into a 3-week camp, welcoming students from Grade 9 through sophomores in college. Everyone who registers for Musical Theater Camp is accepted, with two tracks available – acting or technical theater.

Students know what the production will be when they register for camp. They are also aware that they will be pushed to the limits to get the production to show quality. Each student must complete a video audition to be viewed by the creative team, made up of industry and local professionals.

Production of Mamma Mia by SFAC Musical Theater Camp 2022

The two tracks for Musical Theater Camp are integral to pulling off the show. Both tracks require dedication, as students are busy eight hours a day working on the production. Acting students run lines, work on their performance chops, perfect their choreography and strengthen their singing voices. The technical team focuses on stage building, finding and making props, altering costumes, running the lights and soundboard, and filming the production. Each night after dinner, campers attend master classes in music, dance, acting or tech work. The days are long, the hours grueling, and the students give it their all.

This year’s production will be Newsies. The first attempt to perform this show was in 2020 but camp was canceled due to COVID. The musical was adapted from the 1992 film Newsies and is based on the true events of 1899, when newsboys went on strike against the powerful Joseph Pulitzer. It is an uplifting production that captures the power of young people working collectively against injustice.

Newsies will be presented on August 2nd at 7pm and August 3rd at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets can be purchased at fineartscamp.org.


The 2024 Sitka Summer Arts Guide is out on stands now!

Pick up your copy at one of our locations or check it out below.

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