Mickey Rapkin's 'Theatre Geek' about Stagedoor Manor Gets June 1 Release

Before there was GLEE or "American Idol," there was Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in the Catskills where big-time Hollywood casting directors came to find the next generation of stars. It's where Natalie Portman, Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Braff, MAndy Moore, Lea Michele, and many others got their start. The famed theater camp continues to be a breeding ground for Broadway and Hollywood. And at age 31, Mickey Rapkin, a senior editor at GQ, was lucky enough to go, too.

In THEATER GEEK: The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor, the Famous Performing Arts Camp (Free Press; June 1, 2010; $25.00), Rapkin, who spent three weeks at the camp last summer, pulls back the curtain on this elite and intriguing world of young performers eager to find kindred spirits, to sing out loud, to become working actors-or maybe even stars.

THEATER GEEK will be featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in Vanity Fair, Playbill, GQ, Glamour, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, New York Post, BookForum, and more.

Says Zach Braff in Vanity Fair of the book: "In his wonderful new book about the history of the camp, THEATER GEEK, Mickey Rapkin recounts Stagedoor's colorful history and takes us on a backstage tour of the lives of young, real-life drama queens....There are times, even today, when I see a great piece of theater-or my eyes tear up from some visual display of unconditional love-that I cannot help but daydream about going back. And Rapkin's book took me there." 

Every summer since 1975, a new crop of campers has come to Stagedoor Manor to begin an intensive introduction to professional theater. These kids come from varying backgrounds-the offspring of Hollywood players like Nora Ephron and Bruce Willis work alongside kids on scholarship. Some campers have agents, others are seeking representation. But all are there because they love to perform. In THEATER GEEK, Rapkin-a self-proclaimed theater fanatic- tracks three of these determined teen actors through the rivalries, heartbreak, and triumphs of a summer at Stagedoor. And via original interviews with former and current campers and staff-including MAndy Moore, Zach Braff, and Jon Cryer-Rapkin also recounts Stagedoor Manor's colorful, star-studded history.

A senior editor at GQ magazine, Mickey Rapkin's work has appeared in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Post, Entertainment Weekly, and other publications. His first book, Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory, was published in 2008 by Gotham. He has appeared on such national media outlets as "Good Morning America" and NPR's "Weekend Edition."


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