Friday Playlist: Theater Geek

Songs that practically smell of greasepaint.

A few years back, I wrote a book about Stagedoor Manor—an absurdly awesome theater camp in the Catskill Mountains that’s been shaping hearts and minds (not to mention grooming talent like Natalie Portman and Robert Downey Jr.) since the 1970s. The book was called Theater Geek, and I spent three magical (yeah, I said it) weeks up at camp reporting on the ins and outs of the place. It was hard to leave at the end of the summer, and this crisp, fall weather always makes me wistful for Stagedoor Manor. Nothing brings back the smell of greasepaint quite like a showtunes playlist. Here are some of my favorite songs.

Illustration by Minna

Mickey Rapkin is a monthly columnist at Elle magazine and a contributing editor to Bon Appétit. His first book, Pitch Perfect, about the competitive world of collegiate a cappella groups, which was the basis for the film, was published by Gotham Books in 2008. His work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Details. He lives in Manhattan.

This playlist is generously sponsored by Pitch Perfect, in select theaters Friday, September 28. The content was produced by Rookie.


  • desangre-hermosa September 28th, 2012 7:16 PM


  • Kate September 28th, 2012 7:28 PM

    Raul Esparza on a Rookie playlist!? <3 <3 <3

  • actressgirl September 28th, 2012 8:12 PM

    LOVING the theater stuff!!!!

  • brennachan September 28th, 2012 8:30 PM

    The Glamorous Life and Waiting for Life are some of my favorite songs!! Wonderful playlist! :)

  • Miss Erin September 28th, 2012 8:33 PM

    I read Theater Geek last year–I LOVED it. Can’t wait to listen to this.

  • Jessica W September 29th, 2012 4:02 AM

    I be jammin in my cupcake print pjs right now.
    No shame.

    The Lovelorn

    • Cutesycreator aka Monica September 30th, 2012 10:34 AM

      You’re awesome.

  • Narnie September 29th, 2012 4:27 AM

    Yes Patti Lu Pone!!! And ‘Once on this Island’. This is so perfect…

  • End Orphan September 29th, 2012 7:17 PM

    Is anyone else picturing Rachel Berry singing all of these?

    • Marijose October 1st, 2012 9:50 PM

      oh my god i thought i was the only one!!

  • Lascelles September 29th, 2012 10:21 PM

    Blossom Dearie stands out.

  • eggzonable September 30th, 2012 11:56 AM


  • eireann September 30th, 2012 4:44 PM

    This is so awesome. Theatre Geeks unite! That book was such a fun read :)

  • ninamau5 October 6th, 2012 7:23 PM

    This is practically a summation of all the music on my iPod.


  • ForeverFalllingSlowly October 15th, 2012 4:53 PM

    What?! No Once?

    • tcmaree December 12th, 2012 5:30 AM

      Once is the most amazing thing on earth.

  • marengo October 21st, 2012 4:22 PM

    Idina Menzel <3

  • Juliane October 27th, 2012 11:00 AM

    I’m so grateful that this list includes “Frank Mills” by The Lemonheads because I totally forgot how much I used to love it! I love it!