When the lights went dark on Broadway in March 2020, Joel Crump ’26 didn’t let his curiosity about musical theater dim. In fact, the time allowed Crump to create new opportunities for himself to learn about performing and the people who bring the stage to life.
Crump is a ninth-grader in his first year at St. Andrew's. He is also a co-founder of Broadway Time
, a media outlet through which he covers Broadway news and interviews some of the biggest names in theater, including Samuel L. Jackson
, Aisha Jackson
, and Kenny Ortega
of “High School Musical” fame. His ambition led him to score a press pass for the 2022 Tony Awards, where he rubbed elbows with Broadway greats, including Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti LuPone, and Phylicia Rashad
He first connected with some of his interview subjects as a two-time participant in the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp, a summer program created by the Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actress and singer. Chenoweth will visit St. Andrew’s
for assemblies with our Lower and Upper Schools on September 23. (Middle School students are on long-planned field trips that day and will not be able to attend.)
Crump has always loved performing, and discovered a love for musical theater when he saw his sister perform in a production of “Into the Woods, Jr.” He went on to play The Baker in his middle school’s production of the show, and was later cast as the lead, Charlie, in “Willy Wonka, Jr.” – a production canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of performing on stage, Crump started sharpening his skills by watching YouTube videos and taking workshops.
“Over the pandemic I really was able to learn how to sing and act and dance, and really take the time to train and learn on my own,” Crump said. “So when I did the camp, it was an amazing experience to learn even more and meet new people.”
Crump discovered the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp while scrolling on Instagram two years ago. He auditioned and landed a spot in the program in 2021, when the camp was virtual, and again in 2022, when the weeklong intensive took place at the Kristin Chenoweth Theater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
The experience included master classes led by Broadway coaches in acting, singing, and dance, and connected Crump with his vocal coach, Celeste Simone, and Ortega, who directed the culminating show of the camp, a Broadway review titled “The Kristi Awards.” It’s also where he finally met Chenoweth in person, who expressed her interest in visiting St. Andrew’s while in the area for an upcoming performance at George Mason University.
As he looks ahead to opportunities to be part of the St. Andrew’s theater community through the St. Andrew’s Players, Crump said he will bring skills from Broadway Bootcamp to the MacDonald Hall Stage, particularly knowing his “why” as an actor.
“I’ve thought about that for a while – why do I perform? Not for the applause, but because I love it,” Crump said. “Just bringing that energy and that mindset into the St. Andrew’s community will be helpful not only for me but also for my castmates.”