Favorite Drama Camp Memories With Tim Federle, Corbin Bleu and Julia Lester from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
From playing bedridden grandfathers to finding your people, the Disney+ show crew talks about what brought drama to their childhood summers.
Summer camp is a quintessential experience for theater kids. Where else can you go to the “Corner of the Sky” belt of Pippin apple, discussing their favorite Elphabas and playing Zip, Zap, Zop with a group of theater-obsessed, Broadway-oriented teenagers? The last season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series tap into all that excitement by bringing the Wildcats to Camp Shallow Lake.
In the third season, which began streaming on July 27 on the Disney+ platform, the group of teenagers prepare to star in the first-ever student production of Frozen edited by the original musical high school actor Corbin Bleu (who does not reprise his role as Chad Danforth, but instead appears as himself in the new spin-off series). In addition to featuring songs from Disney’s Frozen (written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez), the season will contain hits from musical high school and camp rock franchises, as well as the original song “Fally Free” by lead actor Joshua Bassett.
Along with Bassett, returning cast members include Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, current Broadway In Woods star Julia Lester, Dara Reneé, Frankie Rodriguez and Saylor Bell Curda, and guest star appearances by Kate Reinders, Olivia Rodrigo, Olivia Rose Keegan, Larry Saperstein and Joe Serafini.
Showrunner Tim Federle and cast members Corbin Bleu and Julia Lester talked about their first theater camp experience. their favorite roles and their sunny memories.
Tim Federle: I went to summer camp when I was a kid and it changed my life. I went to a camp in the Poconos that didn’t not have theater brand fame and played Daddy Warbucks in a production of Anne which nobody talks about, to this day.
Young love, first crushes, embarrassment, taking my shirt off, jumping in the pool, the drama of opening night, the condensed time frame before going back to school, all of this is working its way into this season. Especially those people who walk in thinking “these are my people,” and you leave and you’re like, “Wait, that’s my person now or that’s my new best friend.” I think it’s a fundamental experience to be young and to remain open.
Corbin Blue: I never went to summer camp — and to this day, I don’t camp — I grew up in Brooklyn and then moved to Los Angeles, and I’ve always been like a city guy. But I went to a day camp that was a theater camp, and we put on a production of Willy Wonka. I played the bedridden grandfather. I think it’s Grandpa Joe going to the factory with Charlie. I was not that one, I was the other grandfather. It’s always good to play different roles, sometimes we play small roles… even if there are no small roles in the theatre.
Julia Lester: I was a summer theater camp kid at one point. I come from a long family line of performers, so there’s a lot of musical theater in my blood and in my house all the time. I grew up going to summer musical theater camp, which was one of my favorite places. It’s really where I found my people and where my love for theater blossomed. I’ve been to a few different places, but one of my favorite roles I played was Carrie in Carrie: The Musical. It was a really big turning point for me as a performer, it showed me, “Oh, yeah, I want to do this for the rest of my life.”