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Camp

Starring: Alana Allen, Robin D Jesus, Daniel Letterle, Steven Cutts, Tiffany Taylor, Joanna Chilcoat, Don Dixon and Anna Kendrick.
Written/directed by: Todd Graff

 


Not a huge fan of the word camp itself - which conjures up scary visions of podunk areas deep within some tick infested wood themed abyss - I entered the theater with a bit of dread. Camp however is not about the scurvy infested bowels amongst the pines, but about a "nerdy" kids' modern (running water etc.) theatrical camp fictitiously named 'Camp Ovation'.

It's a place where souls filled with the desire to perform can pine away the hours studying that perfect sonnet or dance step. The students study theater, perform musical assortments from the likes of Sondheim, and work through grueling dance rehearsals like the Broadway bound babies before them.

And they do all this exhausting performing all while facing many of their teenage size Freudian issues, adapting to peers' points of view and ultimately shaping into the talented adults they'll become.

This year there's a new face among the campy thespian addicts. His name is Vlad (Daniel Lettertle) and he's immediately a shot of pure man heroin thanks to his brooding good looks and obvious talents. Vlad's up for it too. Center of attention is his middle name...

He starts to wield his charms at both the less popular gal Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat) and the camp's diva-in-training Jill (Alana Allan ). Of course he's also popular with the boys who dig boys, and none more then his flamboyant room mate Michael (Robin de Jesus).

The realistic approach to what kids inevitably face as they mature was nice to see. Sadly, however, the touching story falters at times with its obvious "time-for-drama" beats writer/director Todd Graff accented. But the young and gifted cast pour their hearts so deeply into the production pieces (like, one imagines, the campers at 'Stage Door' the real-life camp the story is based upon do each summer) that unless your heart is made of coal you'll be snapping along and humming with the tunes…okay, me at least. And fellow fans of musical theater will be pleasantly coddled thanks to the wonderful production numbers scattered within - and there's even a fantabulous cameo awaiting you...

Camp is unique and fun, too bad there wasn't one for adults!

Snack Recommendation:
Fish and Chips at Po's

 

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