When was Theatre Camp released?
Theatre Camp premiered at the 2023 Sundance Festival in January. It was released in cinemas in July for the USA and August for the UK. The Comedy was highly anticipated among theatre fans, with Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman making their directorial debuts. Writing was also provided by Broadway star Ben Platt.
Theatre Camp is a mockumentary-style comedy focusing on a run-down theatre camp in upstate New York, showcasing the efforts to save the summer camp from financial ruin. The legacy of the camp is threatened when the owner ‘Joan’ falls into a coma, leaving the business to her son ‘Troy’. Troy is taken on a creative and theatrical journey as he attempts to salvage his family business whilst learning the importance of community and theatre. In the pressure of being outbid for the camp’s estate, the team scrambles together to put on the musical ‘Joan Still’ to ensure the kids can perform and the camp can continue its legacy. The heartfelt film highlights the joy of performing as a young person while poking fun at the intensity and seriousness of the craft.
Credit: Youtube/SearchLight Pictures
Ben Platt (Amos) and Molly Gordon (Rebecca-Dianne) play two childhood friends who grew up coming to camp each summer and are grasping onto their failing theatre careers. The pair will break out in song at any given moment and won’t forget to mention to the young performers that “this will break you.”
Jimmy Tatro plays Troy, whose character meets the stereotype of the clueless crypto-bro focusing on his “en-Troy-preneurship”. His lack of theatre knowledge and experience casts him as the outsider, as we see him grapple with selling the camp or attempting to keep it afloat.
Ayo Edebiri plays Janet Walch, a fresh face at the summer camp who lies on her CV and gets the job of camp counselor. Edebiris’s natural comedic streak is highlighted in the character of Janet, whose lack of theatrical energy is in stark contrast with the dedicated performers.
Noah Galvin (Fiance to Ben Platt) plays Glenn Winthrop, the awkward technician whose been cast aside but has the chance to show off his talent once the main actor gets sick. As the underdog of the film, audiences root for Glenn, as we see his talent shine once given the opportunity to perform.
Ben Platt, famously known for his role in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and Molly Gordon for her role in ‘The Bear,’ have their history as young children in theatre. The pair grew up in youth theatre groups, with snippets of their performances from ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ making it into the film.
An interview with Ben Platt with Rolling Stone revealed the inspiration for Theatre Camp and the shared theatre history that bonded the cast and creatives
“The four of us who wrote it together, the cross-section that bonded us is this love of theater and musical theater and youth programs and growing up doing theater in high school, which is where I met Nick, and doing theater as children in elementary school, which is where I met Molly. We met Noah doing workshops of a musical in New York. We are very much musical theater nerds and we crossed that with our other joint passion that brought us together, which is a love of comedy and improv and comedy collectives”EJ Dickinson
Theatre Camp provided meaningful opportunities for lots of young actors. Jonathan Lengel, who has muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user, was featured in the film and was ecstatic to work alongside big names such as Ben Platt.
The importance of theatre camp
Theatre Camp represents a community of people across the world whose passion lies on the stage. Although the show heavily mocks the craft, it equally celebrates the creativity and self-expression that theatre promotes.
For ‘Theatre Kids’, this movie represents them with the exact level of seriousness, commitment, and passion they are known for. The film is full of niche references that heavily appeal to them, with fans embracing the characterization and themes of the film.
When the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, it received two standing ovations, which is often an indication of a successful film. The film opened with $301k in America, and was one of the most successful limited releases with SearchLight Pictures. Theatre Camp also released a soundtrack album, with show tunes from Broadway writers such as ‘Camp Isin’t Home’ and ‘Wall Street Noise’. Fans can stream the album on Spotify and Apple Music.
Theatre Camp will also be released digitally, available for streaming on Hulu from September 14th.
Theatre Camp successfully captures the big dreams and culture behind being a theatre kid, with self-satirical commentary providing comedic relief at the crazy pressures of theatre. It is the highly comical and talented actors that bring to the forefront the importance of theatre and community.