September 5, 2003 0 By Fans
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(L-R) Tracee Beazer, Alana Allen (Jill) and Dequina Moore (L-R) Anna Kendrick (Fritzi), Joanna Chilcoat (Ellen), Robin De Jesus (Michael) and Tiffany Taylor (Jenna)Robin de Jesus at event of CampDaniel Letterle (Vlad) with Joanna Chilcoat (Ellen)Daniel Letterle (Vlad) and director Todd Graf Still of Joanna Chilcoat and Robin de Jesus in Camp


After a series of Broadway flops, songwriter Bert Hanley (Dixon) goes to work at a musical camp for young performers. Inspired by the kids, he finds an opportunity to regain success by staging an altogether new production.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.3/10 (3,687 voted)

Critic's Score: 55/100

Todd Graff

Stars: Don Dixon, Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat

Misfits in their lives back home, a group of young people live it up at musical-theater camp. While the sports counselor is completely ignored, the kids' spend all their time in rehearsal for a grueling schedule that involves a new show every two weeks. Several personal stories come to the fore. Is talented golden-boy Vlad honest in his feelings about Ellen? Can cross-dressing Michael have a relationship with his parents? Will one-hit-wonder musical playwrite and now camp counselor Bert Hanley remain mired in drink and cynicism? Fireworks are in store when Fritzi, who slavishly serves glamour girl Jill, is finally told to get a life, and the parents of Jenna, whose jaw has been wired shut in a compromise to avoid being sent to "fat camp", learn a valuable lesson at the summer's big end-of-season benefit.


Daniel Letterle

Vlad Baumann

Joanna Chilcoat

Ellen Lucas

Robin de Jesus

Michael Flores

Steven Cutts


Vince Rimoldi


Kahiry Bess


Tiffany Taylor

Jenna Malloran

Sasha Allen


Alana Allen

Jill Simmons

Anna Kendrick

Fritzi Wagner

Don Dixon


Robert Orosco


Stephen DiMenna


Omar Edwards


Camilla Millican Samuelson


You can't fit in when you already stand out.

Release Date: 5 September 2003

Opening Weekend: $54,294
(27 July 2003)
(3 Screens)

Gross: $1,628,154
(12 October 2003)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Based on director Todd Graff's experiences at a drama camp called Stagedoor Manor.


At the beginning of the movie, Vlad is sitting with a skateboard. He is later seen riding the skateboard but it doesn't have a design on it as it did in the beginning of the movie.


[first lines]

[scene opens on Dee, Shaun and Company singing "How Shall I See You Through My Tears"]

[as singing continues, scene shifts to Vlad in his bedroom]

To all the critics out there, I know they're gonna review this, and I know they're gonna try to knock me – is it OK if I say this to the camera, Amber? – Okay. I only am who I am 'cause I was born that way. I have a gift, and I'm trying not to be selfish about it, but to use it. Okay? If you're gonna knock me for that, that's your problem. Jealousy will get you nowhere. And I'm gonna keep rockin' on.
[scene returns to singing cast, then shifts to Ellen's bathroom]

Ellen's Brother:
Ellen, what's the matter with you? Don't tell Mom I'm taking you to your stupid junior prom.

[in shower]
Get out of here!

Ellen's Brother:
Your brother – how gross is that! Come on!

They don't know you're my brother. Please Ben you have to – I'll pay you.

Ellen's Brother:
Find someone who's not related to you. Loser.

User Review

It's not perfect but I found it highly enjoyable from start to finish and consider it one of the better musicals for quite a few years


After a string of musical flops, the career of Bert Hanley is at rock
bottom, which leads him to take up a position with a musical summer
camp. When he arrives to teach he finds a diverse group of boys and
girls who have come together to put on one musical every two weeks,
leading up to one final show at the end of the camp. He is angry at the
children's naïve ease of acceptance of the musical lifestyle and
their apparent comfort with who they are, feeling that they are not
helping themselves for when they go out into the real world. However
will their energy for the music win him over or just frustrate him?

I can understand why this film didn't make a massive splash when it hit
UK cinemas – basically I saw a trailer for it then the next time I
saw it, it was on DVD! It is very different from your average teen
movie as well as being different from many musicals (not always a
massive genre in themselves). I will be the first to admit that this
film has weaknesses but I enjoyed it from the opening song, through to
the final show – there was barely a moment where I was bored or
uninterested. The basic plot is a mix of minor story lines around an
array of characters – various romances happen, lessons are
learned, eyes are opened and friendships made. It all sounds rather
ordinary and, in a way, I suppose that it does do just what you expect
it to. However, pretty much every other aspect of the film comes
together to lift the film to be better than the script suggested it
would be.

Primarily, if you hate musicals, then avoid this for it is a big part
and, for me, it served as a superb foundation. The overall soundtrack
is really good and is an enjoyable mix of music but it is the actual
musical numbers that really lift the film. They are really enjoyable
– both the well known ones and the new songs; they fit in well
with the narrative and act as good bits of punctuation. The narrative
could have been stronger but the musical numbers mean that even if the
narrative causes a slight dip, then the songs are there to provide a

The characters are very well drawn, even if they don't use them that
well. The fact that we have so many diverse teenagers who seem at ease
with who they are is perhaps rather difficult to swallow but it
certainly helps make the film feel a bit different from the usual. At
first I was a bit put off by how the gay characters all seemed to be of
the 'flaming' variety, but as the film went on I got over this and got
to know their characters and not just their characteristics. More
impressively, the whole cast (mainly teenagers) are really good –
they cope with the demands of the narrative (and the limitations as
well) but they are very impressive when it comes to the musical
numbers. One time tutor at one of these camps himself, writer/director
Graff does a really good job with the direction here – it never
feels as low budget as I imagine it must have been and he frames many
shots in involving ways.

Overall this is a standard teenage movie with all the hurts, lessons,
romances and friendships that you would expect from the genre but it
manages to rise above many of the genre by having different (if
unrealistic) characters, roundly good performances and frequent musical
numbers that never let the fun level of the film dip for too long.