French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts
It is located just outside Hancock, New York, on a private lake known as Sand Pond in the western Catskill Mountains. French Woods offers summer camp programs in dance, theatre (including technical theatre and musical theater), music, rock and roll, circus, magic, visual arts, skateboarding, sport and horseback riding, and in 2008, 2,400 children attended the camp, over some 12 weeks. According to New York Times, "Stagedoor Manor and French Woods, along with the Interlochen Center for the Arts, in Michigan, are considered the gold standard of theater camps."
Schaefer wanted campers to make their own choices; they each design their individual schedule, with 3 major activities and 3 minor activities each day. Majors are done every day for three weeks at a time, whereas minors are chosen daily. The camp mounts a full-scale production of a musical in under three weeks.
The winter office is located in Coral Springs, Florida.
- Marc Acito (opera singer, novelist)
- Steve Augeri (Journey former lead vocalist)
- Doug Besterman (Tony Award-winning orchestrator)
- David Blaine (Magician)
- Jason Robert Brown (composer and lyricist)
- Andrea Burns (actor)
- Jesse Carmichael (keyboardist of Maroon 5)
- Alex Charak (actor)
- Daniel Delaney (James Beard Foundation Award-nominated restaurateur)
- Zooey Deschanel (actress)
- Max Ehrich (actor, singer, and dancer)
- Melissa Errico (actress)
- Jon Favreau (actor)
- David First (composer, guitarist of Notekillers)
- Barrett Foa (actor)
- Eamon Foley (actor)
- Gideon Glick (actor)
- Daniel Eric Gold (actor)
- Ilan Hall (winner of Top Chef season 2)
- Glenn Howerton (actor)
- David Javerbaum (Executive Producer, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)
- Adam Kantor (actor and singer)
- David Kriegel (actor)
- Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5)
- Merrick Stein (Rapper, Public Speaker)
- Alisha Levine (Fashion Designer)
- Amy Linker (actress)
- Natasha Lyonne (actress)
- Graham Patrick Martin (actor)
- Julianna Minotty-Mendelsohn (educator, arts manager)
- Tito Muñoz (conductor)
- David Nagler (singer/songwriter of Nova Social)
- Benj Pasik (Composer and Lyricist)
- Mauricio Perez (actor)
- David Pogue (New York Times contributor)
- Zac Posen (fashion designer)
- Julie Potash (musician Hesta Prynn from the band Northern State)
- Elena Satine (actress)
- Steve Rosen (actor)
- Dylan Ericy-Loan Fertuity (actor)
- Jared Scharff (guitarist for Saturday Night Live)
- Max Schneider (singer-songwriter and actor)
- David Sheinkopf (actor)
- Matthew Sinsheimer (former Casting Director; now talent agent at Don Buchwald and Associates)
- Howard Stelzer (composer, owner of Intransitive Recordings)
- David Stone (producer)
- Olivia Thirlby (actress)
- Ron Varod (Kayo Dot)
- Jed Whedon (screenwriter and musician)
- Nat Wolff (actor, singer-songwriter)
- Matt Windman (AM New York Theater Critic)
- Jason Wise (Director/Choreographer)
- Harris Wulfson (composer and violinist)
- Remy Zaken (actress)
- Nick Zanca (musician and producer)
In popular culture
- Camp'd Out: I'm Going to Performing Arts Camp is a documentary television movie in the MTV True Life series that was filmed in summer 2008 and first shown on April 25, 2009. Filmed in summer 2008, the film follows three aspiring Broadway stars through nine weeks of competitive drama at French Woods.
- Scenes of Episode 17 (Season 9) of MTV's MADE were filmed at French Woods during the summer of 2008. The show featured Alex Mills, who wanted to be made into a skateboarder.
- Mickey Rapkin, "Auditioning Round the Campfire", Fashion & Style, New York Times, July 27, 2008.
- Frank Nestor, "Camping It Up", Backstage, March 23, 2011.
- Michael Gioia, "Being Bold, Battling Bullies and Broadway: Why I Became a Counselor at French Woods Theatre Camp", Playbill, 7 August 2014.
- "MTI Meets MTV at French Woods Summer Camp", The Marquee blog, Music Theatre International, May 5, 2009.
- Michael Gioia, "A Moment in the Woods: Aspiring Performers Tackle La Cage, Sweeney Todd and More at French Woods Theatre Camp", Playbill, 1 August 2013, p. 4.
- Tea Price, "New music director for Phoenix Symphony crescendos to prominence through youth", Downtown Devil, September 18, 2014.
- Robert Lloyd, "Review: MTV's Camp'd Out: I'm Going to Performing Arts Camp", Show Tracker blog, Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2009.