Originally conceived as a short film and now expanded into a full-fledged Hulu feature, Nick Lieberman’s debut, Theater Camp, dives into the world of young talent attending theater camps across America.
The mockumentary takes off when the camp’s founder, Joan (Amy Sedaris), falls into a coma, leaving the future of the upstate New York summer camp in the hands of her aspiring influencer son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro).
Under Troy’s guidance, two camp legends and inseparable best friends, the music teacher Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon) and the drama teacher Amos (Ben Platt) undertake the task of creating an original musical centered around Joan’s life, titled “Joan, Still.”
Speaking of the casting process for the film, Lieberman shared, “One hundred percent we owe everything in that domain to our wonderful casting directors Kristian Charbonier and Bernard Telsey. Bernie is a New York legend and has such a beat on true theatre kids. All the kids in the film are committed performing theatre kids and that authenticity is a huge reason why, from day one, they were bringing the energy.”
He added, “We had written the kids’ characters and had a sense of the types but also there was a level of abstraction that allowed for when a kid came in and we were like ‘This person has to be in the movie.’”
Lieberman explained, “They were able to mould who the character was and they were embodying themselves at theatre camp. Bailey Bonnet, in particular, is so wonderful as young Joan. The second she came into an audition we were like ‘We don’t know what character this girl is playing but she has to be in the movie.’”
Theater Camp releases September 14 on Hulu.