The movie musical revival kicks into high gear at the Smith Opera House this weekend with the Geneva premiere of “Camp,” a summery confection crammed with fresh young talented faces. The setting is Camp Ovation, a thinly disguised version of Stage Door Manor, the performing-arts camp in the Catskills where the film was shot. One of its former campers is “Camp” Todd Graff, an actor and screenwriter making his directing debut.
Camp Ovation is thrown into a tizzy by what one counselor describes as “an honest-to-goodness straight boy” at a facility where most of the boys seem more interested in other boys and musical theater. A seemingly “normal” hunk amid self-described freaks, Vlad (Daniel Letterle) immediately sets hearts aflutter among the male and female population. He's quickly bunk-hopping from the blonde Jill (Alana Allen) to the sweet but homely Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat) to Dee (Sasha Allen), who is determined to avoid being tagged as a “fag hag.” Vlad's avowed heterosexuality doesn't stop the insecure lothario from flirting with one of his male roommates — Michael (Robin De Jesus), a sweet pimply Latino teen who was beaten for showing up at his prom in a dress. Other subplots include Jill's put-upon roommate Fritzi (Anne Kendrick), who exacts a delicious revenge on Jill involving detergent and a rendition of “Ladies Who Lunch,” and Jenna (Tiffany Taylor), whose parents have wired her mouth shut to make her lose weight — until she belts out the biggest showstopper in a movie crammed with them. Finally, there is the arrival of Bert (Don Dixon), an embittered, alcoholic composer who hasn't had a hit since 1989 — but who has carted along a treasure trove of unpublished songs that the kids appropriate for the season-closing show. While the film is loaded with hilarious show-biz in-jokes — Jill can't remember appearing with Ellen the previous year in a two-woman play — it presents a view of adolescent yearnings that people far outside this milieu will recognize.
“Camp” will be screened at The Smith at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20, 21 and 22, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23. Rated PG-13, this film has a running time of one hour, 54 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats on Thursday are $3. Call 781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to pre-order tickets. The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.
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