Delight in the joy and magic of musical theater

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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Taking the stage and lighting the screen this week at Tryon Theatre is “Theater Camp,” a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. 

“Theater Camp” is a directorial debut for a pair of young directors, Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, whose shared personal experiences of a theater camp childhood brought beautiful authenticity to the film. This pair also wrote the film, along with two of the film’s stars, Noah Galvin and Ben Platt, providing a compellingly lived-in and genuine quality to the dialogue throughout. 

“Theater Camp” tells the story of an Adirondacks-set summer camp known as “AdirondACTS.” The camp is beloved, but as most artistic endeavors are, it is underfunded. This camp has provided many a safe refuge for dramatic and artistic youth—a space of empathy, support and spontaneous song. At the heart of the camp’s ethos is its adored director Joan, played by the always hilarious Amy Sedaris. At the opening of the film, Joan falls ill as a result of a freak accident, leaving the camp in the hands of her son Troy. Troy, unlike his mother, has lived a life far from the theater, unaccustomed to its personalities and passion, and as a result, finds himself struggling to keep it in operation. Joan’s young but dedicated acolytes, Rebecca-Diane (Gordon) and Amos (Platt) decided to take it upon themselves to right the ship, and save their beloved camp! 

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They of course know only one way to do so: staging and performing a successful musical. This endeavor brings them no shortage of obstacles and provides the viewer with no shortage of hilarity in the process. 

“Theater Camp” is first and foremost a comedy. It is a light and happy film, breezing through a brief runtime, and leaving a guaranteed smile on your face. But more importantly, it is a kind and uplifting film, its verbal snipes balanced by earnest sweetness in equal measure. This film is a classic underdog story, with a well-known “saving the summer camp” setup. The film’s value is showcased in the authenticity of its emotions. 

While the setting of the film will provide endless delight and nostalgia for those who actually attended theater camp in their youth, it does not do so at the expense of joy and relatable laughs for “non-theater kids.” For any filmgoer in search of an uplifting story, endearing performances and a bellyful of laughs, “Theater Camp” will surely strike a chord for you! 

In an important note of our showtimes for “Theater Camp,” we will be closed this Friday, September 22, but will otherwise be open for our normal Wed-Sun showtimes. We appreciate your understanding and patience, this is a very rare occasion for us!