The Story of Stages
Stages Performing Arts Academy (Camp Stages) was founded in 1996 by Debi Lewis and Ginny Grady, two mothers and performers whose love of the arts and theatre education motivated them to create a summer musical theatre camp. Debi’s kind spirit and ability to see the potential and talent in her students and Ginny’s passion, fervor and enthusiasm made a huge impact and changed the lives of many young performers. They inspired their students to be the best version of themselves and instilled in them a lifelong passion for the performing arts. They not only developed an incredible theatre program, they created a family of artists, many of whom pursued careers in the entertainment industry.
As a young child, I was very shy and lacked confidence. In an attempt to remedy my insecurities, my mother signed me up for Camp Stages' 1997 production of The Pajama Game. I was cast as a worker in the pajama factory, the smallest role in the show. After assigning our parts, Debi sat us down in a circle and told us “there are no small roles, only small actors”. She taught us that even the character with the fewest lines could make the biggest impact. Debi's words inspired me that day and I was determined to make the most out of the little role I was given. All of sudden, shy 9-year-old Morgan was a brassy, sassy pajama making factory worker! The thrill of performing in front of a live audience was exhilarating. That summer sparked a fire within me and was the beginning of my performing arts career. From that year on, I would count the days awaiting the start of the next summer at Stages. Those five weeks gave me an invaluable sense of self worth and belonging that shaped me into the person I am today.
In 2005, once their children were grown, Debi and Ginny passed down Stages to the next generation of parents. That summer I received a call that changed my life. I was asked to become the musical director for the Camp Stages production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was now my turn to ignite the fire and share my love of theatre to a new generation of young performers. My love for my Stages family and passion for teaching brought me back to run Stages' summer program for 5 years. After graduating from The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in theatre, I moved to NYC and worked as a performer, director and educator. The knowledge I gained from my time in NYC was immeasurable, but my dream was to come back home to Los Angeles and bring Stages back to life. I am thrilled to embody the legacy that Debi and Ginny created and to bring fresh perspective and aesthetic to youth theatre and theatre education.
I have always believed that theater is not merely about performing but about teaching and enriching all aspects of people’s lives. Through my work with children and professionals I have seen first-hand the positive effects that theatre has in fostering creativity and self-confidence in my students. I hope you join the Stages family today and make memories that last a lifetime.
“For you know, kids will grow in Stages.”