BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Dozens of campers from the Branford Parks and Recreation Department are spending their summer practicing how to perform for an audience, and they are learning from a Broadway star.

It’s about building the courage to step into the spotlight and sing your heart out.

“I like that I get to express myself, dress up in fun costumes and stuff,” Nadya Jones of Branford said.

Jelani Remy plays the role of Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. He takes the stage in Connecticut theaters and coaches a group of students in Branford.

“I love the idea of leaving a little taste of my footprint in the next generation, sort of giving them little tidbits of what I’ve gone through just to prepare them to continue to be their best and to see them break through,” Remy said. 

It’s the Broadway Star Workshop that ends with two performances of The Wizard of Oz. They also take breaks from learning for other activities. 

“We do a lot of theater games,” said actor Jelani Remy. “We do a lot of dancing. When we’re not doing theater, they go outside, play games, they do chalk.”

The students are not only keeping their minds busy but also have the chance to try something new. 

“Not every kid likes sports,” Ben Clause of Branford said. “I was certainly one of those kids.”  

“I didn’t feel like anyone was judging me or anything,” Branford Special Events coordinator Colin Sheehan said. “I felt like they were supporting me and cheering me on.”