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Campers Performing Shtick at Camp Massad


By Sharon Chisvin

While Camp Massad has always offered all of the traditional summer camp activities like boating and sports, over the years it also has developed a specialty in drama and shtick. It is this specialty that made it the perfect organization to partner with two local theatre groups for a spring fundraiser at Rumors Comedy Club. The fundraiser, dubbed Comedy Tonight: An Evening of Comedy, Improv, Musical Theatre and Shtick, was held on Wednesday, March 10 and was co-sponsored by Camp Massad, Studio 16 and Winnipeg Studio Theatre.

“The collaboration seemed a natural fit given that each of the three organizations is dedicated to promoting creative self-expression in young people,” explained Pam Minuk, a member of the Massad board of directors and the event co-chair.

As co-chair, Minuk approached Winnipeg Studio Theatre with the idea of collaborating on a fundraising event. Winnipeg Studio Theatre, in turn, introduced Massad to Studio 16.

Studio 16 is a fledgling Winnipeg group founded by young student talents Ryan Segal, Jillian Willems and Joseph Tritt. In its three year history, it has staged production of Elegies: A Song Cycle, Company, and Speech and Debate. This summer it will be working closely with Winnipeg Studio Theatre on the Winnipeg Fringe Festival production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

The Spelling Bee will be the third fringe production for Winnipeg Studio Theatre, a company committed to producing contemporary and avant-garde theatre.  Under the artistic direction of theatre impresario Kayla Gordon, Winnipeg Studio Theatre has already enjoyed critical acclaim of youth inspired productions of HAIR-A Rock Musical and the Altar Boyz. 

Members of both Winnipeg Studio Theatre and Studio 16 provided much of the entertainment at the Rumors event, performing an eclectic selection of lesser known Broadway tunes to Tritt’s effortless accompaniment. Another local drama troupe, Hot Thespian Action, also entertained at the event with clever sketch comedy that, during its best moments, poked fun at political correctness.

The notion of political correctness was one of the major themes of the evening’s headline act, Chicago-based stand-up comedian John Roy. Roy has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Tonight Show and Last Comic Standing, and was the recipient of a $100,000 prize on Star Search. He kept the full house at Rumors laughing non-stop for 40 minutes with his keen observations about a host of topics, including racism, cell phones and the internet.

Roy, as well as all of the earlier performers, was introduced by Marshall Carroll, who capably served as the fundraiser’s emcee. Carroll, a Camp Massad alumnus, tossed in a joke or two of his own.

“Stephen Spielberg, Billy Crystal and Jason Reitman all went to Camp Massad,” he quipped. “Well, not really, but people who looked like them did.” Following the evening’s entertainment, Carroll announced the lucky winners of the fabulous silent auction prizes. He then reminded those in attendance that Camp Massad will be working with Winnipeg Studio Theatre and Stage 16 again in the summer, when it sponsors a special advance ticket performance of the 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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