Now that both Smash and Glee are both off the air, there is an absence of programming to inspire the younger generations to get involved with the arts. Even worse, there is hardly any programming on major networks to address various teen issues such as sexuality, gender identity, bullying and body image. While I might have had various issues with both Glee and Smash, I can acknowledge the impact they had.
With the absence of this type of show right now, the time has never been better to adapt CAMP for TV.
CAMP is a 2003 film written and directed by Todd Graff. The film was based on his experiences attending the summer performing arts camp, Stagedoor Manor.
The film centers on the experiences of several teenagers at Camp Ovation, a summer theatre camp. The campers are a mishmash of youngsters from different backgrounds and dealing with different issues such as body image, self-esteem, sexual orientation and mental illness. Weaved into the plot were some fantastic musical performances as you can see throughout this column.
The film starred Sasha Allen, Joanna Chilcoat, Daniel Letterle, Alana Allen, Robin DeJesus and Anna Kendrick.
While it's not exactly cinematic brilliance, CAMP was certainly one of the first movies of its type to address these types issues with teens. It's certainly reached a cult level status among theatre crowds, I can't tell you how many viewing parties I've been too.
A show based on CAMP could work on a lot of different formats for 2015. If not a full run on a major network, with the popularity of streaming, a 13 episode run on Netflix or Amazon Prime would be perfect. Can you imagine binge watching a full season of CAMP? We would lose our minds. Thanks in large part to Glee and Smash, acquiring rights for shows like these is easier than ever. And you can keep cycling through casts with each camp session.
It could also promote and help discover a lot of under appreciated musical theatre and plays. I mean how many of you were rocking out to The Gospel At Colonus before CAMP?
But as I mentioned above, there is an alarming need to have programming like this on major network TV right now. It doesn't just help get more people interested in the arts, it can save lives. With the number of teen suicides occurring at a tragic and horrifying rate because communities, churches and politicians keep telling them they're abnormal or monstrosities. They need as much help as they can get. Glee helped them, Smash helped them, CAMP can help them.
So I'm hoping there are some TV movers and shakers out there who are looking for something like this. If not CAMP, please bring something like it. The timing has never been more important.