Class of 2011 alum Alec Steinhorn brought a little more theatre to Willow this summer through his musical theatre program! The program, which Alec organized and led on campus, was open to fourth through tenth graders and covered singing, playwriting, improvisation, and set and costume design.
The first session featured fifteen Willow students with various levels of experience in music theatre. The second session took place mid-August and was a more intensive program, spanning ten days and focusing on creating songs, monologues, and scenes written by students. The students then performed selections of their work at a showcase on the 24th.
The idea for the program came out of a conversation between Alec and Willow music teacher and performing arts director, Mrs. Gina Lefferts.
“We met for coffee months ago. The topic that there could be more theatre at Willow came up, and this had been in the back of my mind for awhile,” said Alec. As summer approached, he reached out to a friend, Spencer Knoll, a rising junior at Sarah Lawrence College studying theatre and history and a talented producer and director.
Alec and Spencer planned the program in April and May with the goal to run it in June. The program took place in the barn studio.
“It’s a really great space in general. It’s a cool building,” said Alec. “It was ideal for us because the size of the space allowed us to work on improv and warm-up exercises. There was a stage, and it was already equipped with lighting and sound.”
There was also the added bonus of the outdoor space around the building. During their lunch breaks, students played pick-up soccer or played in the woods. “It was a cool, unexpected treat to have the outdoors as a play area when we weren’t working”
One of the challenges the directors faced was predicting how each day of camp would run during the first session. “The program was very centered on how the kids were able to grasp the material, how fast, and what they wanted to do,” said Alec.
Alec and Spencer had goals they wanted to meet with the students, but the curriculum was not hyper intensive where students were expected to learn complex combinations or had a strict schedule to meet.
“Doing things to the taste of what the kids wanted had us working every day after camp at one of our houses to plan the next day based on the day before,” said Alec. “We quickly realized we would need to take on more staff because the time constraint of working with fifteen kids in four days would require more than two people to be able to meet our deadlines.”
The goal of camp was to help students hone their own personal talents in musical theatre, singing, scene work, and writing, as well as to help foster a creative environment where people would be inspired to do theatre beyond just that camp. Alec certainly inspired a number of kids.
Alec Steinhorn is a class of 2011 alum attending Northwestern University. He is studying theatre and engineering and specializing in acting, composition, and musical directing. Alec is a talented writer and composer. During his time at Northwestern he has played Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, served as music director for Tick Tick Boom and the Bix, and as a writer for the 87th and 88th Annual Waa-Mu Shows. He is also an ensemble member for TBH, a Northwestern theatre performance group.