Broadway at Baker continues to impress

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Broadway at Baker continues to impress

Story by Sarah Baker, Editor

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Broadway at Baker is once again raising the curtain and turning the spotlight on 55 teenagers who have a passion for theater. This residential musical theater camp is putting on two musicals this July, “Children of Eden” and “The Pajama Game.”

“The rewards are so great,” Director Cary Danielson-Pandzik said, “because when you work this fast, you get instant results. The friendships the kids make are so lasting you just feel like you’re making an impact in a very short amount of time and it only takes one week of your life.”

Baker University, in cooperation with Music Theatre Kansas City, hosts two Broadway at Baker camps each summer, each for 55 kids, ages 13-18, from the Kansas City area. The teens arrive on a Sunday and have the next week to audition for the play, learn their roles, the music and choreography, all to perform the play on the following Sunday.

Commenting on how far the students have been progressing through the week, Pandzik said, “They have already memorized all of the lines, music and choreography. I mean it’s amazing what they do in such a short amount of time. You have to have a really strong work ethic. They do it for each other, they support each other. I think that is why they learn quickly.”

Broadway at Baker began in 1992 after Pandzik was approached by a Baker administrator who admired the work of Music Theatre Kansas City and wanted to bring something like it to Baker. Pandzik has been directing Broadway at Baker camps for 23 years. She doesn’t plan on quitting anytime soon because Baker is like her second home.

“The show is amazing in its polish quality,” Broadway at Baker Technical Director Tom Heiman said. “Many of these kids will go on to major musical theatre programs and have professional careers.”

The first musical, “Children of Eden,” takes place in the book of Genesis with Adam, Eve, Noah and the Father. It examines the age-old conflict between parents and their children and the theme of love and letting go. The play will open on at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, in Rice Auditorium with a cost of $8 per person, $5 for children and seniors. The second musical, “The Pajama Game,” will premiere on July 26 with an entirely new group of actors.

“I enjoy the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm that these talented young people bring to our campus,” Trilla Lyerla, Music and Theatre department chair, said. “And, I am always dazzled by the finished product.”