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April 26, 2012 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-26

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Tamarack Roots

Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller
to speak at camp kick-off event.

Bring your rugs to any of our
drop-off centers and we'll clean
every other one FREE!

Gabe Neistein
Special to the Jewish New

chooses the play?" He credits this real-
ization as the moment he decided to
become a producer.
efore bringing theatrical hits
As I grew older, I was more inter-
to Broadway, Tony Award-
ested in how musicals got created and
winning producer Jeffrey Seller how musicals got sold:' he said.
used Tamarack Camps as his stage.
Seller had his bar mitzvah at Temple
Seller, who won three Tony Awards
Israel and completed the temple's
for Best Musical for
high school program,
Rent, Avenue Q and In
but it wasn't until his
the Heights, will return
freshman year at the
home this spring as
University of Michigan
Tamarack's featured
that he even consid-
guest for its fourth
ered adding Tamarack
annual Send a Kid
to his Playbill.
to Tamarack kick-off
When Seller's
event May 6 at the
cousin, Marty Singer,
Berman Theater for
who had been a staff
the Performing Arts in
member at Tamarack,
West Bloomfield.
told him about the vir-
While this won't be
tues of camp and that
Seller's first time back Jeffrey Seller
Specialty Village had
in Michigan since
a theater program, he
he moved from the Specialty Village
jumped at the chance to spend a sum-
drama department at Camp Maas
mer working at camp.
to the bright lights of Broadway, this
"I remember I was in my freshman
homecoming takes on a special mean-
year at Michigan, and I had to beg for
that job:' Seller said. "Elliot Sorkin,
"I feel extremely honored to sup-
program director at the time, was
port the Send a Kid to Tamarack event
skeptical at first because I looked 15;
because I would have been that kid
he gave me a chance and it turned out
who needed financial aid to attend
to be a wonderful experience'
camp:' Seller said. "It was through
Seller was responsible for put-
financial aid that my brother was able
ting on the camp play in each of his
to go to camp."
three years at Tamarack. Some of
The evening also will feature
his Tamarack productions included
Tamarack alumna and Detroit News
Aesop's Falables, a take on Aesop's
columnist Laura Berman, who will
Fables, Free to Be You and Me and
interview Seller. The program will
Snoopy. Some of these camp pro-
showcase Seller's career in the theater
ductions even toured — they were
industry as well as the important role
performed at the Jewish Community
that Jewish camping plays in instilling
Center for the community.
Jewish identity in children.
But, for Seller, directing plays at
For Seller, the theater has always
camp was always about more than the
played a large role in helping him to
play itself
shape his own Jewish identity
"Putting on a play is like the perfect
"Growing up in Oak Park, I was
team sport because everyone can be a
exposed to theater in a variety of
winner," he said.
ways:' Seller said. "I participated in a
However, Seller insists that his
Purim play in fourth grade at Temple
Tamarack experience was a two-way
Israel, which juxtaposed South Pacific
with the story of Purim. It inspired me
"I loved working at Tamarack',' said
to write a play of my own:'
Seller. "I learned so much about teaching,
The fact that Seller's exposure to
directing and producing. I also gained
Rodgers and Hammerstein came at
a lot from being around a camp that
the same time as his earliest exposures had Jewish values and was immersed in
to Judaism set the tone for his career
Jewish culture. It felt like home." El
in the theater.
After being involved with
Tickets for the fourth annual Send a Kid to
Stagecrafters, an esteemed local ama-
Tamarack kick-off event are still available.
teur theater company, where he acted
Order online at www.tamarackcamps.com
in productions as well as helped with
or by calling the Tamarack office at (248)
the public relations side of the plays,
647-1100. Gabe Neistein is a development
Seller began to ask himself, "Who
associate at Tamarack Camps.


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April 26 • 2012



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