The plot is as old as time itself. A beloved child of the community with talents and a heart that almost knows no bounds leaves to connect with a world in a way that will allow him to become one of the best at his chosen craft. After some time away, he returns once again to share those talents and reconnect with the loved ones he left beyond.
That storyline played itself out once again this past May when Camden Loeser ’14 strode onto the stage at Merrill auditorium with the national touring company of the Broadway show, “Pippin,” a show he first performed while a student at Thornton Academy.
Sam Saucier '14 and Camden Loeser '14 perform in Thornton Academy's adaptation of the musical Pippin.
“Pippin” originally opened on Broadway in 1972 and Ben Vareen won a Tony Award as the “leading player,” the narrator for the play. The production was revived in 2013, and again won a Tony Award, this time for the Best Musical Revival. This latest version includes a troupe of acrobatic circus performers, woven into the story. The show is probably better-known for its Fosse-style dancing and ’70s pop feel than for individual songs.
There were at least 50 people in the audience who had traveled together from TA to watch the performance and each seemed to carry a special memory of their time together.
“If you know me well, you know who Camden is,” said Emma Campbell, Thornton’s dance teacher and choreographer. “If you don't know who he is, you will someday.”
Current students, former students, teachers, and friends joined Campbell as they occupied a good portion of the seats closest to the stage.
That sentiment wasn’t lost on his dance teacher.
“I can't even begin to express how proud I was tonight watching Camden Loeser in the Broadway National Tour of ‘Pippin.’ He blew me away, said Cathy Murray, the Director of Vocal Music at Thornton Academy “He is a star through and through! I cried through the opening and cried again at the end.”
For those from Thornton who were in attendance, Loser’s smile songs, and most especially his dancing, seemed to be directed toward them. He was one of them again.
At the end of the performance he met with his former classmates, friends, and teachers and to celebrate the show and his homecoming.
“I was so happy to see you and everyone there after the show,” Loeser said. “You guys helped me get to where I am and I am so grateful to have such an amazing support system that I can come back to.”
The TA crowd celebrates with Camden after the show in Portland.