Kelsey’s Team Pick: Camp Wanatachi – A New Musical for the Queer Camper in All of Us

Let me be frank: I hate musicals. I used to perform in them back in my stellar, beautiful teen years [Editor’s Note: Kelsey was also a cheerleader. Discuss].

Then we had a falling out, musicals and I. They were too happy, too polished. And they didn’t really go with the whole “edgy” thing I had going on (moved to Brooklyn, wore some ripped-up skinny jeans). But recently I came across a shiny new musical with a whole bunch of queers up in it, Camp Wanatachi. Workshopped in Williamsburg and previewed at various joints throughout Brooklyn, it’s finally here and officially taking names in the Off-Broadway scene.

Created, written, and composed by indie performance genius Natalie Elizabeth Weiss from Unicornicopia, Camp Wanatachi is about two girls falling in love at an all-female Christian summer camp. You might be tempted to think, “been there, done that,” and wince at those half-forgotten regrets you have about making moves on your friends as a tween. But you’d be wrong to think this musical is just ponies and rainbows and holding out for that teenage feeling.

The innocence and sweetness you’d normally expect from a storyline like this is still present in Camp Wanatachi, but it’s woven in (from what I’ve seen) with serious amounts of wit, irony, hipster-pop, and some pretty self-aware young teens just trying to figure it all out with Jesus Christ as Their Witness. It’s also being produced by Bridget Regan (the hottie who played “the Mother Confessor” on ABC’s Legend of the Seeker) and Fischerspooner’s music director Ian Pai.

I can’t convince you to like (or even re-like) musicals if you don’t, but I can convince you to watch this video and then maybe go to the show that is playing for a few more days at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York. I have a sneaking suspicion (and high hopes) that this run will not be the show’s last. So if you dig it, make sure to keep an eye out for future performances and, if we’re lucky, maybe even a tour.

Some lyrics for you:

“Let’s ride bareback
in your shortest skirts
and I’ll go down on you
under the ivy

Rigor without regret
baptized ’til soaking wet
I won’t quit
’til I have you”

If you don’t live in the area or can’t make it or want to make up more excuses for yourself, then at the very least check ’em out, follow them on twitter, and just tell them they’re all awesome, special, queer-friendly snowflakes/campers.

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kelsey has written 7 articles for us.


  1. Just when I thought this website couldn’t get any better, you enable my…interest…in musicals. And this one looks gooood!

  2. I had totally forgotten about this!!! Yay Autostraddle for putting it back on my radar. Oh gay summer camp, how well I know thee.

  3. That clip was fantastic. And beautiful. And awesome. And glorious.


  4. Great li’l write up, Kelsey.

    Also, is it wrong if I just want to get confessed? Legend of the Seeker…anyone?

    • Legend of the Seeker = awesome. Also, I can definitely identify with wanting Kahlan Amnell to confess you.

    • I am perpetually torn between wanting to get confessed and wanting to get “broken” as a Mord-Sith. I mean, whoa! That show is so much QUEER and HOTNESS and KINK, it makes my brain explode, in a good way.

    • Have you read the books by Terry Goodkind?

      The series is called, ‘The Sword of Truth.’ There are 13 books in the series thus far, and they have over 500 pages per book, but it’s an easy read.

      I’ve only read four of them, but compared to the show, they switch the lesbian character (I’ve only ready about the show). The lesbian character in the book isn’t that prominent, but there’s a “laugh out loud” scene with her and her girlfriend.

  5. [Editor’s Note: Kelsey was also a cheerleader. Discuss].

    But I’m a Cheerleader reference en route: “I’m not perverted! I get good grades, I go to church… I’m a cheerleader!”

    Was that movie the first thing anyone else thought of?

    • this! i just tried to buy tickets for the afternoon show tomorrow, but no luck. guess i’ll just have to go watch “the roommate” instead. jay kay (sort of).

  6. Oh my Goodness oh my Goodness oh my Goodness I am SO EXCITED THIS EXISTS.

    Independent musical theater makes me go all fuzzy inside.

  7. wow, it must be funny to hear teenagers who are so self-aware and their musings. I’m sure people from all ages can really appreciate this musical simply because there will always be an oddball part in all of us.

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