'Theater Camp' is an affectionate celebration of friendship

Saturday, July 15, 2023
'Theater Camp' is an affectionate celebration of friendship
"Theater Camp," a passion project of old friends who grew up to fulfill their dreams, is in theaters now.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- "Theater Camp" delivers a fun, heartfelt addition to the summer-camp film canon.

The new comedy, which marks the directorial debut Molly Gordon, who co-directs with Nick Lieberman, pokes gentle fun at the earnest young students of a theater camp and their camp counselors, who try to make magic onstage every summer.

Gordon and Lieberman's charming mockumentary shares an affectionate look at the young theater world and the unlikeliest of friendships forged along the way.

If every scene feels like a page ripped out of a real moment, it's because the film was made by a group of old friends who were once those same kids.

"Theater people are the main characters of their own lives," said Gordon, who joined Sandy Kenyon at the film's premiere in New York City. "They also made me who I am. They took me seriously. They showed me that anything was possible."

The film captures similar experiences of Gordon and Lieberman, and their co-writers Noah Galvin and Ben Platt, who all share a deep appreciation for theater.

"I would say this movie is like tamer than reality," said Galvin.

"We really pushed it up the hill together and believe so deeply in it," said Ben Platt, who knew Gordon since she was 3 years old. "It really looks like the inside of our hearts."

"Theater Camp" follows young campers at a fictional camp in upstate New York called AdirondACTS, which is almost bankrupt when the owner's son has to take it over.

According to the actors, so much of the film was improvised.

"This is a wildly creative bunch," said Sara Bareilles of the cast. "And they're doing things at such a young age and they're just fiercely creative."

Bareilles was among the guests at the premiere, days before the Hollywood actors strike would make such events impossible.

All in all, the premiere was a celebration for a film, but also for friendship and the joy of finding one's special group of people.

"If you get the chance to do that," said Gordon of finding her tight-knit foursome in Lieberman, Platt and Galvin. "You are a lucky person."

"Theater Camp" is in theaters now.

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