OREM — Looking for a high energy, family-friendly summer musical? Love Disney movies? Look no further than the SCERA’s Camp Rock: the Musical. Based loosely on the plot of the Disney Channel movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2, the musical follows the kids of two rival camps—Camp Rock and Camp Star, that both aim to enrich their talented campers and prepare them to be “rock stars.” Drama ensues when Camp Star instigates a sort of “battle of the bands” between the two camps, and some campers get a little more competitive than others.
The first thing you see when you enter the grassy, outdoor theater is the whimsical set that looks as if a coloring book came to life. From the first look, Jennifer Taylor’s set design set the mood for the show and got me excited for the coming action. As is often the case with SCERA Shell shows, mounting a full-scale musical comes with plenty of obstacles, especially the constant battle with nature. The first act is, unfortunately, visually bland without the aid of theatrical lighting. Granted, there is theatrical lighting, but it’s overwhelmed by the natural light of the sun. However, the sun begins to set during intermission and by the time act two begins it’s obvious what magic lighting can bring to a show because Camp Rock is truly a totally different production once the sun goes down. Lighting designer James Larsen does a wonderful job of creating a world where both the exciting, engaging musical and the rock concert vibes can exist. The show is definitely a party, which is made obvious not only by the lighting but also by how much fun the cast members have on stage.
This show is without a doubt all about the music. The plot, thus, was rather flat and actors were seemed inexperienced; conflicts came up in a few lines of dialogue and were solved by the end of the next musical number. Regardless, the production is no less fun to watch and the musical numbers provide entertainment enough to bring the whole family. Standout performances go to Julia Rae Sanchez as Mitchie, Phoebe Shephard as Caitlyn, McKenzie Florence as Tess, Cameron Crowe as Jason, and Monique Shurtz as Ella. Sanchez, Shephard, and Florence were well deserving of their spotlights because of their stellar vocal talent, and Shephard, Florence, Crowe, and Shurtz’s characters were fun, real, and just a blast to watch. High-energy awards go to Jason Langlois as Sander and Cameron Crowe as Jason; they had my attention whenever onstage. On that note, I loved the act two opening: typical boys getting into the spirit of camp. Go see the show to see what I’m talking about!
With high quality singing voices in this cast, I wished I could hear the actors better. At times microphones didn’t come on or weren’t loud enough and I missed some great singing. Also, the opening number is lackluster with unenthusiastic and unenergetic performances. However, as the show progresses characters come to life, energy increases, and Camp Rock is all around more fun. The closing number, “This is Our Song” gave me chills, and the megamix (Yes, there’s a megamix.) was a blast for both actors and audience and a perfect ending to such a high-energy, uplifting show.
Camp Rock—full of action-packed musical numbers, kid-inspired set pieces, adorable moments, catchy songs, glitter, lasers, and plenty of surprises—is the perfect night out for the family. Make sure to get there early, because the “campers” have planned a hilarious pre-show complete with stories and dance moves. So grab your kids, nieces, nephews, and neighbor kids, a blanket, and some snacks and get your tickets quick for Camp Rock: the Musical!