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The perfect spot for romance

The legend of Camelot comes alive at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.

By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 3, 2007


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TARPON SPRINGS - Historians say that a place called Camelot never existed.

Don't tell that to fans of the Tony Award-winning musical Camelot, for which the time, place and people of that perfect spot are as real as romance, heartbreak and tragedy can be.

"Romantic love, brotherly love and spiritual love all converge to make this tale one that has stood the proverbial test of time," said Rand Smith, a Lary Award-winning singer-actor who is directing his second show for the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center (the first was last year's Fiddler on the Roof).

The show opened Friday night and continues for three weekends.

The story is set in 12th-century England, where King Arthur (James Demetrius) nervously awaits the arrival of his chosen bride, Guenevere (Margee Murray).

Shy and nervous, he hides in the woods, musing I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight.Soon he spies his bride-to-be, who, just as apprehensive, is singing about TheSimple Joys of Maidenhood.

They meet, are soon charmed by each other and agree to marry.

The lighthearted first act continues as Arthur, under the guidance of the magical Merlin (Stu Sanford), establishes the Round Table of brave and noble knights, the handsome Frenchman Lancelot (Trey Ryan) arrives, vowing to serve Arthur, and Guenevere and Lancelot fall in love.

Act 2 takes on a more somber tone as Lancelot returns from a two-year stint in foreign lands, still in love with Guenevere .

Arthur's illegitimate son Mordred (Duncan Smith) arrives to stir up trouble, under the tutelage of his sorceress-aunt, Morgan LeFey (Colleen Marvel).

The truth about Guenevere and Lancelot comes out and leads to painful choices for Arthur that put all of Camelot in peril.

Along the way are some of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner's most beautiful and touching songs -If Ever I Would Leave You, I Loved You Once in Silence and the tragic Guenevere - as well as Lancelot's self-confident ode to himself, C'est Moi, and Arthur's befuddled How to Handle a Woman.

Music director for the 25-member cast is five-time Lary winner Mary Anne Boos. Choreographer is Mark Anthony Jelks, who was principal dancer with the Scottish Ballet and musical director for the Francis Wilson Playhouse for three years and recently opened Tampa Dancenter, a preprofessional dance academy.

If you go

'Camelot'

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, inside City Hall, 324 E Pine St., Tarpon Springs.

When: Weekends today through Nov. 18. Shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. (A sign language interpreter will be present at the Nov. 4 matinee.)

Tickets: $25 for nonmembers, $23 for members and students, reserved seating. Call (727) 942-5605.

[Last modified November 2, 2007, 22:25:12]


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