The Magic Lives on in Camelot
By The Art Guru

I had the privilege of spending this past weekend in Camelot -- or at least, revisiting the magic of Lerner and Loewe's musical. Now in its 23rd season, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre has developed a reputation of producing enchanting musical theatre performances, and their interpretation of this classic was no exception.
The original production, based on T. H. White's novel, The Once and Future King, debuted at the Majestic Theatre in 1960 and ran for 873 performances. The original cast included Julie Andrews as Guenevere, Richard Burton as King Arthur and Robert Goulet as Lancelot. The musical tells the story of the love triangle between the less than confident King, his loyal Knight, and the beautiful Queen.

Overall, I thought that this production was delightful. The sets and costumes were wonderful and the orchestra played with finesse. Hats off to Steven Daigle as Stage Director, who combined innovative staging and interesting character development, and to J. Lynn Thompson, who served as Musical Director and Conductor, in addition to fulfilling his role as Artistic Director for the company.
David Parlier did an incredible job as King Arthur. In this, his third production in this role, I found him believable as the ill-fated King who champions "Might for Right; Right for Right!" Though his voice was not as strong as those of his co-stars, his character was both admirable and pitiable.

Adelia Thompson brought life to the part of Guenevere. This is her second time playing this part, having debuted this role with The Lyric in 1996, and listening to her voice was a treat. I found her to be more believeable and to look more comfortable on stage when singing than when acting -- there seemed to be less energy when she was without accompaniment -- but her interpretations of the music were no less than entertaining.
The part of Lancelot was played by the incomparable Daniel Britt. From the moment he stepped out on stage he had the audience wrapped up in his ideas of chivalry. He is larger than life on stage with an incredible voice and great timing. I must admit that I did feel a connection between him and Guenevere, which is essential in any love story. They had chemistry, most notably present in Act II, during his performance of the memorable song, "If Ever I Would Leave You".
Another bright spot in this production was Robert Wayne's portrayal of Pellinore. Although his Merlyn was wonderful, Pellinore stole the show, and his character kept the audience in stitches.
And of course, no musical is complete without the men and women of the chorus, whose rousing dance number "The Lusty Month of May" brought a light and airy life to the carefree early Camelot. And I could not forget "The Joust" -- a number reminiscent of My Fair Lady's "Ascot Gavotte" (also by Lerner and Loewe) -- in which the chorus delightfully pantomimed the joust between Lancelot and the Queen's knights from the spectators' point of view; an exciting emotional roller coaster!
The only problems I noticed with the performance were minor -- namely that the plastic armor of Lancelot and Arthur often clip-clopped across the stage, an inevitable issue that could hardly be remedied and still produce the same visual effect of knights in armor.
In closing, I believe J. Lynn Thompson said it best in his opening night welcome -- there is nothing better than the experience of Musical Theatre.  I could not agree more. The Atlanta Lyric Theatre announced its 24th season, which features performances of West Side Story , Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado , and Brigadoon .  Make sure you visit their website for more information -- it will be well worth your time!

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