The hit new comedy “Theater Camp” follows a cadre of queer campers and counselors alike through their summer-long battle to maintain the integrity and legacy of their run-down, bucolic camp, the AdirondACTS. Despite the absence of their beloved director Joan (due to a “Bye Bye Birdie”-induced coma) and their ever-threatening risk of foreclosure, they continue to persevere with the implicit Broadway adage guiding them: the show must go on. It’s a story of ambition, friendship, and belonging; a story of kids discovering themselves through their mentors, their characters, and ultimately, their hammy, precocious, and oh-so-endearing friends.
The film stars Tony Award winner Ben Platt as Amos and Molly Gordon as Rebecca-Diane —best friends and drama instructors; Jimmy Tatro as Troy—dopey and discredited tech-bro entrusted with running the camp; and Noah Galvin as Glenn—underestimated production manager turned show-stopping musical lead. The film is directed by Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, and the screenplay is based on a short film that the two created.
GLAAD attended the premiere, which took place before the SAG AFTRA strike, and had the opportunity to speak with a few members of the cast and crew, including Noah Galvin. He spoke on what it is about theater that makes it such a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. “Theater is a space for people to express themselves, and try on different personalities, and step into other people’s shoes,” he said. “And I think it gives people the freedom to really explore, and I think throughout those processes of being able to try on different costumes and selves, you end up really finding your authentic being.”
Costume Designer Michelle Li contributed to Galvin’s sentiment, specifically giving voice to why theater resonates so deeply for LGBTQ+ people. “The theater has kind of always been a place where outcasts gravitate towards, and it’s because people feel like they can be themselves,” she remarked. “Historically speaking, a lot of LGBTQ individuals have not been able to rise above the mainstream and have found a lot of comfort and solace in musical theater, and theater in general, because of the different identities… and characters you’re able to find yourselves playing.”
Nathan Lee Graham, who plays Clive, the camp dance instructor, told GLAAD that “going to theater camp, as I did, is so important. It gives you a sense of belonging, and that you matter, and that you’re not a weirdo. And if you are, how fabulous?!”
Throughout the film, campers navigate the camp and their experiences within it, ultimately deciding that while summer isn’t forever, theater is eternal. At the close of the film, a select group of campers starring in the AdirondACTS premier musical belt a final ballad with a chorus that proclaims, “Camp isn’t home, but… I think it kind of is.” “Theater Camp” ultimately exposes the irrelevance of commonplace constructs such as time, finances, and role assignments when propped up against the backdrop of queer connection, camaraderie, community, and a beautiful set design.
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