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Our Summer Theater Program

Whether you prefer to be on stage or backstage, Usdan’s robust summer theater program offers students a chance to choose from an array of performance and hands-on technical theater classes and work side by side with highly skilled theater professionals and instructors.

 

The dynamic hub of the Usdan theater program is the extraordinary Lemberg Drama Center, which includes an air-conditioned indoor theater, two outdoor theaters, and rehearsal studios, as well as costume, prop, and set shops. With offerings in both drama and musical theater, our students have several opportunities to experience the full of cycle of staging and performing a play or musical throughout the summer.  Recent productions include Into the Woods, Frog and Toad, Finian’s Rainbow, and Oliver!

High-school aged students may audition for The Usdan Troupe which presents one fully staged musical production every year.  Former company members describe it as "summer stock theater for teens."

2020 MAJORS

Curtain Up; Drama Lab; Musical Theater; Musical Theater Adventure; Theater Tech Workshop; The Usdan Troupe.

2020 MINORS

Improvisation; Performance Poetry & Podcasting (also listed under Creative Writing).

 

 

 

2019 Faculty

Musical Theater, Director

James Beneduce

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Warren Bloom

Musical Theater, Director

James Crichton

James Chricton is an actor at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, Shakespeare Theater Company, Pioneer Theater Company, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, and Prospect Theatre Company. He tourned nationally with Peter and the Starcatcher and serves as vocal director at Beyond the Stage Studio in Plainview, NY.
 

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Christopher Drobny

Musical Theater, Director

Rob Gallagher

Rob Gallagher is an actor and vocalist who relocated to New York from the midwest in 1995 to pursue a career in musical theater. He starred as Javert in the Broadway production of Les Misérables and Emile Debeque in the Broadway revival of South Pacific. He is currently adjunct professor of voice at Long Island University and applied music at Five Towns College, as well as Musical Theater Director at Usdan.

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Ken Gilbert

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Jeffrey Hoffman

Musical Theater, Director

Jordan Hue

Theater, Department Chair

James Incorvaia

Jim Invorvaia is a high school AP English and Theater teacher returning to Usdan for his 27th year.  A Long Island native, Jim lives in Westbury and leads the charge for Usdan’s Theater Department, planning, scheduling, and producing the Camp’s annual 35-day, 11-show season for 300-plus theater students.

Theater, Costumer

Sherry Kfare

Theater, Choreographer

Christina Pawl

Christina Pawl is a dancer, singer, actor, and educator. She has appeared in multiple Broadway productions, including the Tony Award-winning CABARET, Meet Me In St. Louis, and South Pacific. She teaches dance at Broadway Dance Center, Main Street Theater, and Dance Alliance Roosevelt Island, and is a musical director at Usdan.

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Carolyn Popadin

Carolyn Popadin is a teaching artist, actress, and Usdan Musical Theater Director. Her work has brought her into schools and theaters throughout New York City and Long Island. She currently serves as a program director for Broadhollow Theater Company and co-director of the Infinity Arts Studio. She trained professionally with British American Drama Academy and has toured with the National Theatre of Performing Arts.

Musical Theater, Director

Carol Prisamt

Carol Prisamnt has been directing regional theater on Long Island for over 25 years. Her numerous credits include shows at Broadhollow Theater, Studio Theater, Bayway Arts Center, and more. She teaches English during the school year and the performing arts across the Hudson Valley during the summer, including Musical Director at Usdan.

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Eugene Rossi

Usdan Troupe, Director

Mike Schwendemann

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Dan Sussman

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Elizabeth Jeffery

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Les Dweir

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Michael Janover

Michael Janover is a Long Island-based musical director, actor, composer, and arranger. He is passionate about sharing music, and believes it has the power to heal and connect people. Michael enjoys directing theater and performing as a pit orchestra musician, and teaching musical theater at Usdan.

Theater, Assistant Costumer

Annie Levine

Theater, Costumer

Amelia Dombrowski

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Dylan Bartlett

Theater, Scenic Design

Rita Broughton

Rita Broughton is the artist behind Usdan theater program’s imaginative backdrops. She is a professional artist and master of murals, faux finishes, trompe l’oeil, and decorative art. Rita’s paintings have been exhibited across the region, and her work has been acquired by many private collectors. She enjoys working with Usdan students to create backdrops that embellish and enrich their performances.

Usdan Troupe, Musical Director

Valerie Sciara

Departments

Art

Art

Chess

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Dance

Dance

music-summer-program

Music

Nature

Nature

summer-arts-camps-for-kids

Discovery

recreational-arts

Recreational Arts

summer-theater-program

Theater

Art

 

Campers love Usdan’s summer art programs because our diverse class offerings allow for both deep engagement and exploration.

Seventy open-air studios dot the forested campus and create a sense of flow and community among artists.  Each studio is tailored to its medium with materials, equipment and software. Studios feature large skylights, as well as courtyards that take advantage of natural light and the inspiration of nature, which is a distinguishing feature of Usdan’s summer art programs. Throughout the summer, campers can visit the campus art gallery which mounts student, faculty, and visiting-artist exhibitions.

2020 MAJORS

Animation;  Art Adventure; Ceramics; Comic Art; Cosplay; Metalsmithing; Painting & Drawing; Photography; Sculpture; Sculpture & Ceramics; Sewing & Fashion Design.

2020 MINORS

Comic Art; Lego Design; Painting & Drawing; Photography;

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Chess

Usdan’s chess summer camp program follows the principles of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation and is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each student, whether they are new to chess or are experienced competitors. The Usdan Chess Ladder groups students in varying levels, from absolute novices to advanced tournament players. New players learn rules, notation, and the opening, middle, and end games. Advanced players develop a vast repertoire of complex strategies and the ability to apply them shrewdly in-game. All of our chess players benefit from improved problem solving, critical thinking, and concentration.  Students hone their skills through game-play and tutoring in competitive chess tournaments and exciting team competitions. Individual and group lessons are conducted by highly-ranked tournament players with decades of experience.  A major highlight of our chess summer camp is that celebrated chess masters come to Usdan to serve as guest teachers and share their expertise with our young players.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Usdan takes full advantage of New York City’s pool of exceptional writers to lead our summer creative writing programs. Our faculty is comprised of accomplished authors who are also experienced in nurturing students in the discipline and art of writing.

Whether their preferred form is poetry, plays, short stories, novels, or non-fiction, our young storytellers get to practice their writing in small, collaborative groups. Working in peaceful, open air writing studios, our writers build imaginative narratives and find their creative voices, while experimenting with the core elements of storytelling like style, structure, setting, point of view, conflict and resolution.  One vital element of our teaching involves encouraging our students to experience empathy, both as an ingredient and a result of their writing practice.  Finally, all writing students gain invaluable editorial experience by shaping and contributing their works to a new installment of Usdan’s literary magazine, Painting with Words.

2020 Majors

Creative Writing; Making Magic & Monsters; 

2020 Minors

Creative Writing; Performance Poetry & Podcasting;

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Dance

In our summer dance program, our dancers study technique, classic repertory, and original choreography with nationally renowned dancers and choreographers. We offer classes across a wide range of styles and traditions, including contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop, funk and tap. 

Instruction at our dance camp is rigorous, caring and fun.  Our studios are spacious and mirrored, with soft floors and generous skylights that give an open-air effect. Each class culminates in a freshly choreographed dance performance for the entire community, including friends and family, in the dance department studios or on Usdan’s main stage.

Ranking Model

Students participating in the Dance Department will rank their class choices according to the listed offerings. On the enrollment form, students will be asked to rank their first, second, and third choice for their major, minor or recreational activity. After review in late January, Usdan will announce Dance class offerings based on student interest. A placement form will be sent after enrollment. Usdan staff will try to place students in their top ranked class, however, it may not always be possible based on levels and scheduling. 

Please note, Junior students, with the exception of 4th graders, who choose to major in Dance will have two classes to rank instead of three.  

Junior Majors (2nd-3rd)

  • Dance Adventure
  • Choreography

Junior Majors (4th)

  • Dance Adventure
  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography

Junior Majors (5th & 6th)

  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography

Senior Majors (6th-12th)

  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography
  • Ballet
  • Hip Hop
  • Ballet/Hip Hop

Junior Minors (2nd-6th)

  • Tap
  • Broadway Jazz
  • Contemporary Forms
  • West African Fusion
  • Hip Hop

Senior Minors (6th-12th)

  • Tap
  • Broadway Jazz
  • Contemporary Forms
  • West African Fusion
  • Hip Hop

2020 MAJORS

Ballet; Ballet/Hip Hop; Choreography; Contemporary Forms; Dance Adventure; Hip Hop;

2020 MINORS

Broadway Jazz; Contemporary Forms; Hip Hop; Tap; West African Fusion; Yoga.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Music

 

Usdan's celebrated music program features four orchestras, four bands, two choruses, chamber and jazz ensembles, rock bands, and instruction in strings, brass, reeds, woodwind, and percussion. Piano, guitar, and ukulele students work on technique and perspective through individual and ensemble practice and performance. With classes for absolute beginners to advanced students, budding musicians of every level can find a place for themselves in our music department. Musicians will have unique opportunities to work and collaborate with contemporary composers and artists-in-residence. 

Classes, rehearsals, and performances take place in studios sized for each group and specialty. Throughout the summer, our music students have opportunities to present their summer’s work to family, friends, and the entire Usdan community. Select performances will take place in the McKinley Amphitheater. 

2020 MAJORS

Advanced Jazz Ensemble; Concert Band (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion); Guitar;  Intermediate Piano; Intermediate/Advanced Piano; Instrumental Ensemble: Traditional Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Contemporary Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Jazz Ensemble;  Instrumental Ensemble: Silent Film Orchestra; Instrumental Ensemble: Rock Band; Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Junior Chamber Ensemble; Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass); Vocal Ensemble; 

2020 MINORS

Absolute Beginner Brass; Absolute Beginner Guitar; Absolute Beginner Lower Strings;  Absolute Beginner Piano; Absolute Beginner Ukulele; Absolute Beginner Upper Strings; Absolute Beginner Woodwind; Advanced Beginner Piano; Chamber Music (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Piano); Guitar & Songwriting;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Rock Band; Senior Vocal Ensemble.

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Nature

 

In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens. Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem. In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.

 

2020 Majors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Sustainable Design.

2020 Minors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Garden to Table.

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Discovery

Play and exploration are at the heart of Discovery, where children enjoy music, art, dance and swim multiple times a week.  Rather than select a major and minor, Discovery students experience a special multi-disciplinary program tailored for their age group.  Discovery students experience the arts through hands-on practice with Usdan's esteemed faculty. Each class is led by a minimum of four adults who provide individualized attention and support.

Throughout the summer, Discovery campers attend select Festival Performances performed by professional and student artists. In addition to the core program, additional activities draw from Usdan's diverse offerings such as theater, nature, archery, chess and photography. With the Discovery Center as a base, campers explore the arts together in small groups with dedicated college-age counselors to guide them throughout their adventurous day.  

Children from all over the New York metropolitan area choose Usdan’s Discovery program because it is a singular summer arts camp for kids who share a common love for the arts.

Typical Day
9:30 a.m. : Children are helped off of their bus by one of the Discovery counselors
10:05 a.m. : Music
10:45 a.m. : Snack
11:05 a.m. : Art  
12:00 p.m. : Swim
1:00 p.m. : Lunch / Supervised Play 
2:05 p.m. : Discovery Period*
3:00 p.m. : Ice Cream and children are brought back to their buses

* The "Discovery Period" is an activity that is scheduled weekly such as theatre or a scheduled visit to one of the junior/senior classes such as chess, archery, or sewing. 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Recreational Arts

 

The Recreational Arts program augments Usdan’s core mission to support campers’ creative development by encouraging physical fitness and an appreciation of the natural world. This comprehensive approach to our children’s creative, spiritual, and physical development makes Usdan unique among camps in our region.  Set in an idyllic woodland forest, our campus spaces are joined together by walking paths and are designed for optimal enjoyment of fresh air and natural light.  Across campus, students can enjoy nature walks, splash in two large outdoor swimming pools, play sports on multiple playing fields, as well as practice yoga and archery.

 

Each day, students spend a dedicated period enjoying a Recreational Activity of their choice. Each of these activities, with the exception of Recreational Swim, can also be chosen as a Minor.

2020 Recreational Arts classes

Archery; Beginner Tennis; Free Swim & Poolside Games; Gaga & Basketball; Instructional Swim & Poolside Games; Quidditch; Tennis; Yoga.

(Each of these classes can also be selected as a Minor, except for Free Swim.)

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

View All

Theater

 

The dynamic hub of the Usdan theater program is the extraordinary Lemberg Drama Center, which includes an air-conditioned indoor theater, two outdoor theaters, and rehearsal studios, as well as costume, prop, and set shops. With offerings in both drama and musical theater, our students have several opportunities to experience the full of cycle of staging and performing a play or musical throughout the summer.  Recent productions include Into the Woods, Frog and Toad, Finian’s Rainbow, and Oliver!

High-school aged students may audition for The Usdan Troupe which presents one fully staged musical production every year.  Former company members describe it as "summer stock theater for teens."

2020 MAJORS

Curtain Up; Drama Lab; Musical Theater; Musical Theater Adventure; Theater Tech Workshop; The Usdan Troupe.

2020 MINORS

Improvisation; Performance Poetry & Podcasting (also listed under Creative Writing).

 

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

View All