Sunday, January 14, 2007

Camelot Revisited

from an HSU production of Camelot in 2003
A newly rewritten and restaged version of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot will begin its maiden tour on January 30 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. According to this Reuters report, the show has been re-focused to address deficiencies that have been present since its opening on Broadway in the early 1960s. It's shorter, with more stage action, especially in the troublesome second act. Though a few songs have been dropped, at least one has been reinstated that was heard on the original cast album but not in the show itself.

Camelot was the first Broadway show I saw, on my first visit to New York when I was a freshman in high school. I saw the original production with the original cast, which included Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet. With its romantic updating and contemporary meaning of the Arthurian myth, and the wit of both the music and lyrics, it remains my favorite stage musical. For me, not many measure up to it.

I remember being completely transported by the first act, and then feeling a little lost in the second act, until the very end. I always thought it was because of my inexperience, but apparently this was a more common impression. I saw the HSU production a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The new version is currently trying out at the La Mirada Theatre in southern California, starring Michael York.

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