Growing up with the Young People's Theater will stick with me forever - Nick GeorgoffI have been involved in the YPT since I was in fifth grade in 2000.
My best friend, Chris Brookmeyer, was doing an after-school drama class
at my elementary school. Since I did pretty much everything Chris did, I
decided that I would try it out. My mom knew the teacher, Kyle P. Becker, so
she was very happy that I wanted to try out drama. We had classes after
school, and performed for our parents. We did simple games, like "Colors"
and "I did it", acted in some skits, and basic drama activities like that.
After the performance, Kyle invited me to come to Kirk Community Center and
do their summer Boot Camp program. I was more than happy to do it, even
though I would only know Chris there. It was a great summer camp, I met new
people, and we performed around a Tom Sawyer theme. The staff was really
nice, and they were the key reason that I went and tried out for their next
play, Charlotte's Web.
The fall play of 2000 was Charlotte's Web, my very first play at Kirk.
I was cast as Mr. Arable, Fern's father. It was such a new experience,
acting under lights, learning lines, blocking, dancing (!), and singing with
groups of people. I remember during one rehearsal, we were learning a square
dance, and I simply couldn't do it. I don't know if I was embarrassed, or
too tired, or what it was, but I broke down. I remember crying, and Kelli
LaRussa, a staff member, helped me get over myself. I ended up learning the
square dance, and did great. It was stressful, for my first time, and
combined with just starting sixth grade, I was feeling the pressure. We had
a great run, and I learned a lot about myself, even though I wasn't the
greatest of actors. I didn't really react and only thought of when my next
line was, I was really unnatural, but I wanted to improve, so I came back
for the next play.
The spring play of 2001 was the Frog Prince. I was cast as the
happy-go-lucky bear, clad in a Hawaiian shirt. I recall having a lot of fun
with that play, and making a lot more friends. I won a sweatshirt during a
raffle, and I still have it to this day. Aside from my new friends, I
learned how to react, even though I didn't really do it on stage as much as
I could have. After Frog Prince, I went on to do the next Boot Camp, which I
believe was a Little Mermaid theme. That Boot Camp was really a turning
point for me. I broke out of my shell that summer. I used to be very shy,
only coming out to people if they came up to me.
I did not do the fall play of 2002, The Wiz, because I was too busy, but
eagerly came back for the spring production of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
playing Van Houton, a lead shops keeper. Between Boot Camp and Sleepy
Hollow, I lost a total of fifty pounds. I was so proud of myself, I ran
every day, I ate healthier, and I had a boost of self-confidence. I earned
the "Most Improved Actor" award during the run. Like every play, I made new
friends, strengthened relationships with old ones, and improved in my acting
abilities. Sleepy Hollow is on the top for favorite play I've performed in.
It was spooky, it was one act, and I thought the acting was great. By far,
one of my favorite productions I've been in.
Another summer passed, along with another Boot Camp. It was a Guys and
Dolls theme, and that was my favorite camp. We made cool hats, cool vests,
and got to act with cool accents. That summer I was in my favorite summer
camp I have ever done, Kyle P. Becker's Improv Camp. We played all the games
they did on "Whose Line is it Anyway", we laughed at each other, with each
other, and at ourselves. Kyle told me I was one of the best in the camp,
along with a large percentage of those at the camp with me. With even more
new friends in tow, we moved on to the fall production in 2003, Alice In
Wonderland, where I played the Caterpillar. Although I only had one scene,
it was my favorite scene I've ever done. I wore a really comfortable
costume, made creepy motions with my hands, and got to act as creepy and
weird as possible. Plus, I got to sing the Caterpillar song, "A-E-I-O-U",
all by myself, which I really enjoyed. Alice is in the top three of my
favorite plays done with YPT.
The next play that we performed was Cinderella, in which I was the King.
This play may be my favorite of them all. I was the King in both the Sun and
Moon cast, and I got to act even more. It was great spending my usually
boring weeknights at Kirk, acting with friends and family. During the run of
Cinderella, I got recognized by the staff, and was more involved in moving
scenery and interacted more with the staff members. The feeling of helping
was great, and I felt like a role model to the younger cast members.
Jungle Book came in the spring of 2004 and I was cast as Colonel Haithi.
The close friends I had made throughout my run at Kirk were elephants with
me, and I got to spend so much more time with them. Colonel Haithi is one of
my favorite roles I have played, and I had a great time with Jungle Book.
During the summer of 2004, I performed in the Peter Pan Camp, a prep
towards Peter Pan Jr. in the fall. When it came time for Peter Pan Jr., I
was cast as Mr. Darling and as Skylight the pirate. No words can describe
how much fun and how much I enjoyed every moment of Peter Pan Jr. The actors
around me were great. Each person fit exactly what he or she was cast as.
The story of Peter Pan is a great one, and I feel that Carole Ferris-Greer's
take on it was spot-on. I have never enjoyed a play like I have Peter Pan
Jr. That is by far, the only play where I never wanted it to end. After our
last show, it was a bummer. I knew I would miss the great cast and the great
mood that surrounded that play, but looked forward to what was to come with
version in the spring, the fuller version of Peter Pan. I reprise my roles,
but I have much more fun as Mr. Darling.
Looking back, I've been at Kirk Community Center since I was in sixth
grade and done a total of eight plays and five summer camps through YPT. I
have undergone so many changes. I was shy, quiet, and lacked self-esteem.
There is something special about the Young People's Theater that makes me
come back every year. This is not just me; there are others I have grown up
with in this program. These are people I never expected to talk to. With the
exception of two people, all of my friends at Kirk Community Center do not
even attend to same school as me. A major percentage does not even live in
the same school district as me, the same city as me, or the same zip code as
me. Kirk Community Center has changed me for the better. It helped me learn
to act. It helped me loose over seventy pounds. It has helped me to look
towards the future.
Like the story of Peter Pan goes, in the end, all children grow up.
Growing up with the Young People's Theater will stick with me forever. I
know for a fact that I have made life-long friendships here. I know for a
fact that what I learned from Carole Ferris-Greer will never leave me. I
know for a fact that everything I've ever done at Kirk Community Center
cannot be erased. I've grown up, but I'll never forget.
Thank you YPT.