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
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
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
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!