Families that appreciate Disney’s High School Musical franchise just might fall in love with A Week Away, a new faith-based musical featuring classic contemporary Christian music songs in a whole new way. Songs like Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby”, Michael W. Smith’s “Place in this World”, Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Dive” and others are featured prominently performed by the young cast. Grant and Chapman even make cameos in the film.
I haven’t seen the film yet and I don’t consider High School Musical a “classic” film series, but HSM has proven to be solid family entertainment with good messages and A Week Away appears to follow in that vein. It is directed by Emmy-award and MTV Music Video Award-winner Roman White and the film’s music producer is Adam Watts who has actually worked on High School Musical 3. White has also won three Dove awards and an ASCAP POP award and wrote four original songs for the film as well.
The movie follows Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn), a troubled teen who finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He must either go to a juvenile detention center or simply attend a Christian youth camp. The choice seems obvious. Attending this, Will finds a sense of belonging in the last place he expects to find it. He even finds love with Avery (Bailee Madison in her singing debut) who is a camp regular. But from the trailer, it appears that Will isn’t completely forthcoming on why he came to the camp in the first place and might even be faking his faith in order to fit in.
Music can be a power force and many of us turn to Christian music to encourage us. Over the years, teens and adults have been inspired by songs like “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline, “Awesome God” by Rick Mullins and “God Only Knows” by For King & Country. They are all in the film and soundtrack and all “reimagined and revamped to engage today’s listeners,” says the movie’s press release.
Producer Gabriel Vasquez (who developed the story of the film along with Alan Powell and Kali Bailey) expressed, “I could not be more excited that iconic artists like Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Rich Mullins, Audio Adrenaline and Michael W. Smith are being celebrated in our film,” says Producer Gabriel Vasquez. “The memories that are attached to their songs are endless, and I am thrilled we get to be a part of introducing their music to a new generation.”
And the feeling appear to be mutual as the orignal singers of these songs have given the movie their blessing.
“Thankful that ‘Place in This World’ found its way into the movie,” says Michael W. Smith. “It was my first top ten Pop single. And to see it getting a second life this many years later is a thrill for me. This song has been life-changing for many, and I am grateful for that. And by the way, I LOVE this movie!”
Amy Grant, who plays a camp counselor in the film, relates to the film in a personal way. “I was one of those kids that went to church camp for one week every summer from middle school through my high school years,” she says. “In addition to all of the preteen/teenage angst and drama that we dragged with us on the bus to camp, we were surrounded by adventure, spiritual encouragement and music…lots of music. What a thrill it was for me to hear my song ‘Baby Baby’ reinvented for a camp setting and feel like it fit the story of the film so perfectly. Also to hear it sung by a fantastic male voice is something I had never imagined. They knocked it out of the park!”
Steven Curtis Chapman is also happy with the results of his music being featured in the film. “I’ve watched it with my family, including my granddaughters, and it got big ‘thumbs up’ from everyone! And if you watch close you might even see a little cameo of someone you know.” (Spoiler: He plays a lifeguard.)
In these negative times, it is nice to see something positive come to our home screens and it couldn’t come at a better time.
A Week Away also stars Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling, Iain Tucker and Sherri Shepherd. It begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, March 26, 2021. The soundtrack for the film is currently available on streaming services and physical copies of the album will become available on April 23, 2021.
The full album track list includes:
- Let’s Go Make a Memory
- The Great Adventure
- Good Enough
- Baby, Baby
- Place in This World
- Big House
- Awesome God
- Where I Belong
- Best Thing Ever
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.