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Stronger emphasis on drama in version of ‘Camelot’

Dink O’Neal

Not since its most recent production of “The King and I” has Glendale

Centre Theatre presented a musical with the depth and strength as the

current offering of “Camelot.”

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Director and choreographer Mark Knowles complements Lerner’s and

Loewe’s moving story of King Arthur’s attempts to establish a kingdom

based on man’s better nature with a near flawless cast.

Additionally, Knowles expertly handles the dramatic scenes so

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often glossed over in favor of the show’s musical numbers.

As Arthur, George Champion deftly transitions from a younger,

less-mature ruler into a solid monarch, due in large part to his

marriage to Guenevere. His angst then over her alleged infidelity is

all the more heart-wrenching as he struggles between personal

feelings and his sense of duty.

Centre Theatre stalwart Charlotte Carpenter portrays a queen of

equal stature. Her Guenevere, whether matching wits with Arthur or

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enjoying a melodic romp with her subjects, is a joy to behold.

The triangle of near tragedy is completed by Lawrence Long in the

role of Lancelot, Arthur’s hope for the future of the round table and

Guenevere’s temptation. Long’s vocal quality is nuanced while

remaining unpretentiously strong.

Mario Di Gregorio, Centre Theatre’s chameleon, imbues the dual

roles of Merlyn and King Pellinore with a worldly wisdom and lovably

dry wit.

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Only Joseph Conarkov, in the pivotal role of Mordred, Arthur’s

illegitimate son, falls short of the mark. A villain whose treachery

is so obvious to other characters begs the question as to why someone

doesn’t just do away with him on the spot.

Hats off to sound operator Nathan Verbois, musical director

Steven Applegate and his singers for blessedly seamless transitions

between dialogue and song, an attribute often missing with the use of

taped accompaniment.

Debbie Gluck’s wardrobe is regal and lush, while Tim Dietlein’s

scenic design of hanging tapestries, period furniture and a perfectly

choreographed flowered maypole fills every corner of this quaint

theater.

This “Camelot,” unlike the plodding film version, moves forward

with building anticipation and passion thanks to a director who, with

a great cast and excellent technical support, knows how to tell a

story.


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