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Royal classic to take the stage
By Barbara L. Fredricksen, Arts and Entertainment
Published February 22, 2008
For sheer beauty and passion, the musical Camelot can hardly be matched.
Set in a mythical, 12th century English kingdom, it's a story of love, betrayal and duty that tears at the heart and never grows old.
Stage West Community Playhouse opens its version of the Lerner and Loewe classic on Thursday, followed by a three-weekend run.
Camelot is based on the legend of King Arthur, who dreamed of creating a perfect, peaceful, egalitarian kingdom. Its symbol would be the gathering spot of Arthur's knights, a round table where all are equal in power.
As the play starts, the young and beautiful Guenevere (Sarah Coit, Sarah in Guys and Dolls) has been sent to Camelot to be the bride of the king. She isn't sure she wants to do this, preferring The Simple Joys of Maidenhood.
Meanwhile, a nervous Arthur (Chuck DePalo, Higgins in My Fair Lady) retreats to the same woods, singing I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight? The two accidentally meet, are charmed by each other and soon marry.
Under the tutelage of Merlyn (Peter Clapsis, Pseudolus in Funny/Forum), a magician who grows younger the longer he lives, Arthur begins building his ideal kingdom.
Word spreads and attracts the pompous, arrogant but handsome Lancelot du lac (George Dwyer, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls).
Almost everyone detests this self-promoting knight except Arthur, who sees him as a loyal and worthy friend.
Unfortunately, Guenevere sees Lancelot as her true love.
When Lancelot realizes this - and his own love for the queen - he leaves Camelot. Two years later, he returns a hero, pledging his love to Guenevere in If Ever I Would Leave You.
At this point, Arthur's illegitimate son Mordred (Dan Brijbag, Nick in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), urged on by his aunt, the evil Morgan Le Fey (Jessica Nichole, Honey in Woolf), sees a way to stir up trouble and destroy the kingdom.
He tells about Guenevere and Lancelot's love, which leads to painful choices for the trusting Arthur and puts all of Camelot in danger.
The 30-member cast is directed by Barbara Everest, with choreography by Toni Berlinger and musical direction by Bobbi Moger. Costume designer is Madeline Child.
Check it out
Where: Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill.
When: Thursday and subsequent three weekends through March 16. Shows are at 8 p.m., except Sundays at 2.
Tickets: $18, reserved seating. Box office is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and an hour before each show. Call (352) 683-5113.