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Teenage Wasteland

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with Circuit Playhouse's energetic production of Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical that an extended visit from Jason Voorhees couldn't fix — rising from the bottom of Crystal Lake with a machete in his hand to terrorize the teenage campers and bring some urgency and conflict to a show that could only benefit from a surprise twist or two.

Caveat emptor: Although this musical is called Disney's Camp Rock and does borrow a few moments from the popular Demi Lovato/Jonas Brothers vehicle, the story is based almost entirely on the sequel, Camp Rock 2, and viewers who haven't seen the original film may have a hard time caring about the childish squabbles of young, self-absorbed characters they're never really allowed to get to know. Throughout the show, my 9-year-old twins — more this show's target demo than I — tugged at my sleeve, whispering venomously (and just a little too loudly), "This is part 2, Daddy. This is part 2!"

The story: Camp Rock now has competition, and the technologically advanced rival, Camp Star, is stealing away some of the older camp's most talented teens. Will the challenged, big-hearted rock campers be able to compete with Camp Star in the talent show? And that's about it.

The lackluster script and canned music doesn't prevent Camp Rock's gifted teenage stars from shining. The choreography is tight and energetic, and Tierinii Jackson's mature, explosive voice is especially thrilling. Her Mitchie — though given very little to actually do — makes Lovato sound like a scream queen by way of comparison.

"Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical" at Circuit Playhouse through September 18th. playhouseonthesquare.org

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