There’s a definite buzz at the Museum these days…we’re getting ready for Broadway Bees to make its debut at CMEE this summer! The (almost) decade-old musical theatre camp will be here for a pair of weeklong drop-off camps and a mommy-and-me class (for younger performers). One of the camp’s cofounders, Valentina Berger, was kind enough to share her thoughts on the value of performance, what to expect this season and some of her family’s favorite activities here in the East End.
When did you fall in love with theatre? What made you decide to share this love with kids?
I’ve been a huge theater fan since I was a kid. I grew up going to see Broadway shows and dreaming to become part of the community that day. That dream came true shortly after graduating with my Broadway credit on Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. I also started developing workshops for international students to train in New York.
50+ Broadway opening nights, 500+ students and 2 kids later, several mom friends asked me to start producing programs for locals. During a play-date with my business partner Sofia, we decided to merge her after-school program expertise with my camp experience, which developed into Broadway Bees, a safe space where kids and teens can learn musical theater, while enjoying the process.
Do you have a favorite musical or show-tune?
Matilda: The Musical, AIDA, Peter & The Starcatcher.
Why do you think Broadway Bees is so valuable for kids?
We have been working on Broadway for almost a decade and our programs are up-to-date with the latest techniques used on Broadway. We also offer theater programs in various languages, including Spanish, which is very valuable. We are experts in the theater education field and develop a rich curriculum for each age group. We hire the best teaching artists and work very closely with them to plan each class. We both love what we do and that shows in our work. I think parents and students like and trust that.
We always say that our work doesn’t end in the classroom. We hope that all the values and skills our students learn are transported into their day-to-day lives. Broadway Bees is a community and we hope that once students and parents join us, they become part of our family forever.
How do you encourage someone who might be a little hesitant to perform to conquer their fears?
We are both very nurturing and want our students to relax and enjoy theater like we do, without the pressure of having to be the best or having previous experience. We want our students to discover their personalities and who they are as artists by staying true to themselves and making new life-long friends.
What can families expect from Broadway Bees at CMEE this summer?
Lots and lots of fun! We will explore different Broadway shows each week through dance, singing, acting, storytelling, crafts, and games. On the last day camp, families are invited to an open class at the Museum’s amphitheater.
What are some of your favorite things to do here in East End?
- Taking the kids to Little Red Barn in Jamesport for pony rides
- Stopping at North Sea Farm for peach raspberry pie (yum!)
- Making s’mores and bonfires with friends
- Hanging out at the pool and BBQ
- Getting gelato at Saint Ambroeus after the beach
- Sunsets at Wolffer’s Wine Stand
- Family walks