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Inspiring U | Nov 30, 2023

What's New With U? November


We hope that Usdan will continue to serve as a source of joy and inspiration. Please continue reading this month's newsletter to learn about our new Senior Director of Student Affairs, new classes for Summer 2024, and more!


MEET OUR new senior director of student affairs Stephanie Abrams!

We are so excited to introduce you to our new Senior Director of Student Affairs Stephanie Abrams. Since she was a child going to camp at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds next to Usdan, Stephanie has wanted to be a camp director. She comes to Usdan having spent the past eight years working at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, NY where she was most recently the Senior Program Officer of Camping & Youth Services. Her professional camp career began in 2019 as the Director of Camp Friedberg and co-founder of Camp Ga’avah (an LGBTQ day camp) in 2018. Stephanie passed her love of musical theater to her oldest daughter, a current Usdan student and is so excited they get to experience Usdan together! Stephanie lives in Long Beach with her husband Craig, her daughters Molly and Zoe, and dog Lincoln. During the summer when not at camp you can find Stephanie on the beach!



We all know that Usdan is the best camp on Long Island (if not the entire country - though, perhaps we're a bit biased). So let's make it official! Please remember to vote for Usdan once per day, every day from now until December 15! The only way that we can win is if everyone in our community votes consistently every day. Please share the link with your friends and family to ensure that everyone knows that Usdan is the best camp on Long Island!


This series not only seeks to highlight the remarkable work of our alumni, but also to explore all of the amazing career paths that studying the arts at Usdan can offer to our students. 

INTRODUCING Mat Eisenstein, Professional Musician:

This month we are featuring alum Mat Eisenstein, a New York City based Music Director, Pianist, Composer/Arranger, and Coach. Students might recognize Mat from our summer Voices of Broadway Festival performances! Mat spends most of his time working on Broadway, where he is currently the Associate Conductor/Keyboards for “Some Like it Hot.” He has also conducted and played keyboard for The 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee; Frozen; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Something Rotten; Newsies; Book of Mormon; Elf; Promises, Promises; Next to Normal; Bye Bye Birdie; 13; Fiddler on the Roof; Avenue Q; 42nd Street; and Les Misérables. Mat has also played keyboard in 45+ Broadway pit orchestras. His recordings include six Broadway Cast albums and an original solo piano album, SURROUNDINGS.

What do you do for a living?

I am a professional musician. Most of my time is spent working on Broadway shows. I am currently the Associate Conductor/Keyboards for "Some Like It Hot" on Broadway.

What years did you attend Usdan?

I attended Usdan as a student from 1981-84 (I was 9-12 years old those summers). From 1991-92, I worked as a Modern Dance Accompanist at Usdan.

What classes did you take at Usdan?

I was in Junior Chorus (now called Junior Vocal Ensemble) and took classes in the Art Department. I played Daddy Warbucks in the Junior Chorus production of "Annie" in 1984. 

What, if any, impact did Usdan have on your career path?

Along with my grandmother and mother taking me to see live theater, having the chance to watch and perform in musicals at Usdan enlightened and exposed me to this art form that I love.

What is your most vivid memory of Usdan?

Playing Daddy Warbucks in "Annie." 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

For the past decade, I have performed with well known Broadway artists at Usdan in the "Voices of Broadway" series. Performing at Usdan has been a highlight of my summers. Also, I conducted "One Day More" at Usdan's 35th Anniversary Gala Celebration at Carnegie Hall.

For more information about Mat, including his solo album, click here.

The Tony award winning musical Some Like it Hot, starring Adrianna Hicks as Sugar, will be playing at the Shubert Theater until December 30. Purchase tickets here.


Are you a Usdan alum, or do you know a Usdan alum who would is doing something amazing? If so, please email and tell us all about it, and you (or they) could be featured in our next newsletter!


We are dedicated to making Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts affordable for all students. Usdan welcomes and supports students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and we aim to ensure that cost is not a barrier for any child wishing to attend. Discounts, payment plans, scholarships, and financial assistance are available for students in grades K through 12, and we strongly encourage families to explore and take advantage of these options. Please click the buttons below for more information.

If you have any questions about any of our tuition assistance programs please contact our friendly enrollment team: Email enrollment@usdan.org or Call 631.643.7900.

New Classes for Summer 2024!

There are so many wonderful new and returning classes for Summer 2024! Here is a preview of a few of the new classes we are offering: 

The Premiere

After the success of the very funny and touching Camp U! last summer, faculty member Ben Boecker is creating a new musical commissioned by Usdan! Our new theater class, The Premiere Group, for grades 4 through 12, will have the pleasure of bringing this new musical to life in the Lucy Moses Theater. In addition to being part of the world premiere performance, students will be given advance access to the show’s creative team and be allowed to offer feedback on songs, characters, and story line. This is an amazing opportunity for students who love to perform and want to learn more about the creative process of writing a musical!

Beginner Painting

Want to take painting this summer but never tried it before? Beginner Painting might be the right class for you! This class not only teaches the fundamentals, but helps you develop your own creative style as you learn traditional and contemporary techniques through media such as acrylic, watercolor, ink, graphite, and more. Create your own life drawings, landscapes, portraits, and abstract works.

Creative Writing: Spoken Word & Poetry

Writers will examine the way of the poet as they turn their lived experiences into spoken word pieces. They will experiment in new crafts, techniques, and the elements of storytelling to create vulnerable and empowering slam pieces that will be uploaded to Usdan’s YouTube Channel


Back for Summer 2024! – Open to students in grades 6 through 12. Students will discover the joy of ballet through movement, expression, and the camaraderie of ensemble work. Dancers will develop a strong understanding of ballet technique in a fun and inclusive environment.


Fall Into Usdan


Here's what's happening this Fall!


Do you know someone who is thinking of sending a child to Usdan this summer for the first time? We invite new families to take a tour and experience our beautiful campus and meet our friendly staff! We will be hosting tours on December 3, and December 17. To register, please click the button below or call us at 631.643.7900.


Jeremy Davis | Open Conflict

Friend of Usdan and Visual Art Teacher from the inaugural session of GrownUp Camp on September 9, 2023, Jeremy Davis currently has a photography exhibit at Aicon Contemporary Art Gallery. The show, Open Conflict, creates a visual world that exposes underlying currents and assumptions that color the contemporary Native American struggle for land. The show closes on December 2, 2023. The show was recently reviewed in Hyperallergic. For more information, click here

Milo Cramer | School Pictures

Congratulations to playwright, performer, and Usdan grant writer Milo Cramer on the New York Times review of their spectacular new Off-Broadway play, School Pictures. The play paints intimate portraits of ten New York City students fighting to get into competitive schools. As the review states, "Mr. Cramer is young, uncooked and open enough to receive these children as they are, foregrounding their voices in all of their complexity and self-contradiction, their resistance and silence and honesty and delight, taking you where the opinion writer or cultural anthropologist can't." The show runs until December 10, at Playwrights Horizons. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.