Make us your home page
Instagram

'Camelot' brings romance, tragedy to Richey Suncoast Theatre

The night the now-classic musical Camelot opened in Canada in 1960, it ran for 4 1/2 hours, creating what co-creator Alan Jay Lerner called a "bladder endurance contest."

Subsequently, Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe pared it down considerably, and that's the version opening March 6 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

It's a romantic and tragic story based on the legend of fifth-century King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur's love for his bride Guenevere, the betrayal of his favorite knight, Sir Lancelot de Lac, and his hope for a perfect, peaceful world.

It ran on Broadway for 873 performances, won Tony Awards for its cast and crew, and became part of the story of America when people began to see parallels between the mythical Camelot and the ever-hopeful but tragically assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

The show has many of Lerner and Loewe's favorite songs — If Ever I Would Leave You, How to Handle a Woman, Before I Gaze at You Again and the title song. It made a star of a young Robert Goulet, who played the handsome knight Lancelot when it opened on Broadway and 30 years later toured with the show as an aging King Arthur (that production played the Straz Center in 1993).

The story spans more than two decades, starting when a young Arthur (Bob Marcela, Charlie Award for Horace in Hello, Dolly, Max in Lend Me a Tenor) waits apprehensively outside the castle walls to see the bride chosen for him, a very young Guenevere (Vicky Stinnett). He's encouraged by his mentor Merlyn (David Cruz, Jimmy in No, No, Nanette), who lives backward in time and knows the past and the future.

Guenevere is also a bit skittish, wishing to live an ordinary life on her own. But once she meets Arthur, it's love at first sight. Sadly, Merlyn begins to fade away before he can warn Arthur about two dangers — his angry, illegitimate son Mordred (Keith Surplus, Charlie as Cornelius in Dolly), and the charming knight-to-be Lancelot (David Bethards).

Five years pass, and Arthur ponders what he can do to help create a better world. He and his wife come up with the idea for a Round Table of planners and advisers, where everyone's voice would be equal. Five years later, he's established the Knights of the Round Table, and that's when the somewhat overly self-assured Lancelot shows up. He challenges other knights in jousting, wins, and becomes a hero. Before long, Lancelot and Guenevere realize they are in love.

More years pass, and their love grows, though they think Arthur doesn't know (he does). That's when the conniving and vengeful Mordred arrives to make mischief, with the help of his magician aunt, Morgan Le Fay (Monica Underwood). Their tricks lead to tragedy and the most heartbreaking part of the story, with wars and treachery tearing the idyllic Camelot apart.

The Richey Suncoast production has a cast of 19, including Paul Mattes (Buddy in City of Angels) as Sir Dinadan, David Bergeron as Sir Sagramore, Cruz as Sir Lionel and multi-Charlie winner Bill Schommer (Dr. Drimmond in There Goes the Bride, Henry in Funny Money, Tito in Lend Me a Tenor, etc.) as King Pellinore, Arthur's comical, skeptical, permanent guest who abhors any new ideas, no matter their worth.

Directors are Linda Hougland and Keith Surplus, with Steve Schildbach as music director and Amanda Witt as choreographer.

. If you go

'Camelot'

Camelot, a musical, at Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey, March 6-9; 14-16; and 21-23. Shows are at 8 p.m., except Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 adults, $8 ages 11 and younger, all reserved seating. Call (727) 842-6777.

'Camelot' brings romance, tragedy to Richey Suncoast Theatre 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five recipe ideas for cooking with sparkling wine

    Cooking

    With high school and college graduation season upon us, you might find yourself stocking up on sparkling wine (if you don't normally). Though the obvious choice is to drink it all, you may find yourself with leftovers after all the parties are over. These five recipe ideas will use up that grad-friendly bubbly so …

    Sparkling Wine Risotto takes risotto up a notch.
  2. Portobello Mushrooms With Tuscan Kale and Sweet Potato work as main course or appetizer

    Cooking

    I've made no secret of my mushroom love. As I've written, I like to divide them into two categories: the interesting varieties (oysters, shiitakes, morels, puffballs and the like) that I find at the farmers market or forage; and the less-interesting ones (buttons, creminis) I buy at the supermarket. The former I …

    Portobello Mushrooms With Tuscan Kale and Sweet Potato will work as a main course or an appetizer.
  3. Will Brad Culpepper win it all on Wednesday's 'Survivor' finale?

    The Feed

    Heading into Wednesday's finale of Survivor: Game Changers, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brad Culpepper said his fans need to know there are still plays to make before the end zone.

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Spaceballs 2 could really happen, Mel Brooks says

    Blogs

    When Mel Brooks talks about a sequel to Spaceballs, ‘80s fans are tempted to politely smile and nod our heads. It’s a joke, we figure, because how can you possibly recapture the magic of the 1987 Star Wars spoof, especially since John Candy has passed away. 

  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 23

    Events

    Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons: The original Jersey boy himself has produced hits like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Rag Doll, December '63 and Grease during his long-lasting career both solo and with the Four Seasons. 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, …

    Saint PAUL, MN - JULY 25: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons perform at the 2010 Starkey Hearing Foundation 10th Annual "So the World May Hear" Gala at Saint Paul RiverCentre on July 25, 2010 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.   (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation) *** Local Caption *** Frankie Valli