Music by Frederick Loewe
Based on “The Once and Future King” by T. H. White
Directed by Rudy Hogenmiller
Choreographer: Todd Rhoades
Music Direction by Roger L. Bingaman
Produced by Light Opera Works
At Cahn Auditorium, Evanston
Fabulous, lush and wonderfully sung Camelot does justice to the 1960 original production
It is always a special treat (and a throw-back to the Golden Age of Broadway musicals) when the creatives at Light Opera Works mount a show. Using a full (29 piece) orchestra, the full original orchestrations without cutting essential elements, Light Opera Works offers Broadway musical and operetta lovers a rare treat – original styled productions.
Add expert sets (here by Adam L. Veness), stellar light (by Andrew H. Meyers) with the vivid period-perfect costumes (by Jeff Hendry) and Camelot unfolds as a 31 member cast theatrical spectacle complete with fine vocals, heartfelt acting and fun dancing. Camelot has gained luster mainly due to the lush score by Frederick Loewe upon the witty lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.
Based on the old English mythology from T. H. White’s “The Once and Future King,” Camelot’s story revolves around the idealistic, fair-minded English king who establishes rule of law over the ‘might equals right’ mentality.Nick Sandys is charismatic as Arthur, playing him as a younger, pure understanding, reasonable and trusting fellow who places chivalry and loyalty as paramount values. His bride, Guenevere (Jennie Sophie in excellent voice) falls for the pompous and too pure French knight, Lancelot (the strong-voiced commanding William Travis Taylor). Featuring great standards like, “If Ever I Should Leave You,” “How To Handle A Woman” and the title song,”Camelot,” this production is long on splendid music and strong voices.
The Pellimore (Skip Lundby) character is a funny, outspoken and loyal friend of Arthur’s. Lundby is superb with his hilarious antics. While Michael Harnichar’s Merlyn is terrific. Patrick Tierney is deliciously evil as Mordred and Patrice Egleston is delightful as the sorceress Morgan le Fay. The large ensemble adds much to the production that was anchored by the three main characters” Arthur is in the expert hands of Nick Sandys who not only plays the King well but he also sings his numbers with zest. Sandys shows that he is a top musical leading man, not just a fine classical actor. Jennie Sophia sings her heart out wonderfully as Guenevere and William Travis Taylor is both the vain obnoxious knight and the rich baritone who steals some scenes with his bravado.
The look, feel and romantic tones garnered from the lush score deftly conducted by Roger L. Bingaman’s 29 musician underscored the romantic tone of the old English mythical fable.
Take your young folks to see this fine production so that they can experience the memorable lyric from the title song:
“Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot,
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot.”
The show and the myth lives on.
At Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, IL, call 847-920-5360, www.musictheaterworks.com, tickets $32 – $92, Wednesday, June 6 at 2 pm, Friday, June 8 at 8 pm, Sunday, June 10 at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 50 minutes with intermission.