New Ben Platt film to be shot on site of former Jewish summer camp

JTA – The Union for Reform Judaism discontinued its Kutz camp program for youth leaders in 2019, but now the camp is finding a second Jewish-ish life: as a stand-in for a fictional camp in the Ben Platt film In.

“Theater Camp,” a musical comedy starring the Jewish Broadway star, will be shot on the site of the old Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York, as revealed in an Instagram post by the film’s production company, Gloria Sanchez Productions.

Under an image that Kutz’s alumni identified as camp, the company wrote, “Pack your bags and rest your voice, we’re going to theater camp.” The post coincides with Thursday’s announcement that the film was greenlighted. According to a source with direct knowledge, Platt has also stated that the film will be shot at the Kutz camp.

In addition, according to an article in the Warwick Advertiser, the film’s producers will help revamp the camp in preparation for its full opening for use by the City of Warwick for arts and culture and recreational activities.

Announcing the film in her Instagram post, Platt said, “This film has been many years in the making and I am extremely proud of my colleagues and their love, hard work to make our dream come true.”

It’s a fitting location for a Platt project: the actor is an alumnus of Camp Rama in California, another major Jewish camp, and in 2020 recorded a greeting message for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, as its annual The conference was canceled due to the coronavirus.

The film will be directed by Jewish actress Molly Gordon (“Shiva Baby”), who also co-stars, and Nick Lieberman; The screenplay and music are co-written by Platt, Gordon, Lieberman and Jewish-Catholic actor Noah Galvin, who also stars. It is based on the group’s 2020 short film of the same name (which was not filmed at Kutz).

Jewish camps can certainly be musicals in their own right, as anyone who’s attended a Havdala jam session can attest, but the actual “theater camp” will be more Broadway-inspired. The film will follow the workers of an arts-focused summer camp as they attempt to keep the place open after budget cuts.

Kutz Camper poses for a picture in 1977. (Courtesy of Kutz Camp)

Platt, whose mother is the current president of the Jewish Associations of North America, is also working on more explicitly Jewish projects. He will play Jewish lynching victim Leo Frank in a stage revival of the musical “Parade” this fall.

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