May 14

Recap of the New York Pops 31st Annual Birthday Gala

The Camp Broadway Kids performed a week ago on the stage at Carnegie Hall; seven days have gone by and yet, we’re still dreamily smiling, stuck in the enchantment of our favorite event of the year! This was our 7th time performing with the New York Pops orchestra for their annual birthday gala and the event did not disappoint! Every year, you can feel the hall buzzing with excited energy as Broadway talent–young and old– gather to celebrate the incredible tunes that make our industry unlike any other!

The concert highlights the talents of the orchestra while also honoring a legend of the theater. In years past, we’ve danced with golf clubs while honoring Bob Hope or donned our most colorful, Seuss-inspired garb for a night honoring composer-lyricist team Ahrens and Flaherty. This year, the event celebrated the work of composer, lyricist, and arranger Marc Shaiman and director, lyricist, and writer Scott Wittman— the collaborative team behind Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can! 60 kid performers joined us from around the country and in just one weekend were whipped into a collaborative cast that performed among Tony winners and Broadway royalty on stage at the legendary concert hall.

This year, the Camp Broadway kids were tasked with participating the show-stopping finale number “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” They also performed “Blame Canada” from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. The weekend was filled with rehearsals at Pearl Studios, led by Camp Broadway artistic staff members Tony Parise, Erin Spears, Anna Raful, and Diego Rios.  Like with all of our programs, our participants underwent the real Broadway rehearsal process, and also participated in a selection of workshops. One of the more memorable moments was the mask workshop with Bill Hubner, master behind the puppets in The Lion King. Read more about the workshop here!

Cast Members hard at work making their own masks!

Cast Members hard at work making their own masks!

While every program with Camp Broadway is a packed with fun and unforgettable moments, we have a special fondness for our Carnegie Hall experiences. As part of the New York Pops Spring Gala program, our cast of kids spend the day at Carnegie Hall rehearsing alongside major stars. On the roster this year were names like Aaron Tveit, Katharine McPhee, Martin Short, Nikki Blonski and many, many more. This meant our cast members were riding elevators with Matthew Morrison and walking through the same stage door as Laura Bell Bundy! Then there was the extra-special private rehearsal with legendary choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots) where we fine-tuned the choreography for the finale to “You Can’t Stop The Beat!” The Camp Broadway kids performed this number with Matthew Morrison, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Linda Hart, Corey Reynolds, and Clarke Thorell.

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The Camp Broadway Kids rehearse the “You Can’t Stop the Beat” Finale with Tony-Award-winning director, Jerry Mitchell!

“Blame Canada” was also one of the highlights of the weekend. Our cast members performed this song with Broadway legend and 2013 Tony-winner Andrea Martin (Pippin), which meant run-throughs and dress rehearsals in the presence of a Broadway superstar. Plus, the song, which is lifted from the South Park movie is funny and irreverent– meaning our Kids were up there singing it and getting a lesson in on-stage humor with one of the best in the business!

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Decked out in their South Park costumes

When it came time for the actual show, the hall was buzzing with Broadway bigwigs. The red carpet swarmed with names like Nathan Lane, Victor Garber, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Megan Hilty, Patti LuPone, and many many more. Even Bravo’s Andy Cohen couldn’t help but feel starstruck as he Instagrammed a moment from the big night! All that said, our kids definitely stole the show… not that we’re biased or anything!

Thank you to all of the folks at the New York Pops again for having us, thanks to all of the Broadway talent who welcomed our rising stars with open arms, thank you to our staff for a job well done (as always) and thank you to our Camp Broadway kids and parents who made it all possible! You all helped us to be a part of one of the most magical nights on Broadway!

For more photos of our weekend rehearsing for the New York Pops Annual Birthday Gala, check out’s coverage!

Some of the Camp Broadway Kids with Hairspray and Glee star, Matthew Morrison!! Selfie credit: CB Kids, Joshua

Some of the Camp Broadway Kids with Hairspray and Glee star, Matthew Morrison!!
Selfie credit: CB Kid Joshua


CLICK HERE to see more pictures from the weekend!

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