Sierra Repertory Theatre opens their 2020 season with a different take on the classic musical “Camelot.”
With book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, “Camelot” tells the story of the idealistic King Arthur who led Britain against Saxon invaders in the late fifth and early sixth centuries, a fable that was later adapted in T.H. White's book “The Once and Future King,” which was later turned into the musical.
This new small-cast version has been adapted by David Lee and puts a sharp focus on the three main characters and in doing so, transforms it into an intimate story of love, hope and leadership. With a rich score including "If Ever I Would Leave You," "I Loved You Once in Silence," "The Lusty Month of May," and of course, "Camelot," Lerner and Loewe's fantastical masterpiece triumphed on Broadway in a legendary original production that led to a film version and numerous revivals in New York, London and across the globe. Sierra Rep’s new production will be directed by the theatre’s founder Dennis Jones.
Idealistic King Arthur hopes to create a kingdom built on honor and dignity, embodied by his Knights of the Round Table. His ideals, however, are tested when his lovely queen, Guenevere, falls in love with the young Sir Lancelot, and the fate of the kingdom hangs in the balance.
“Camelot” is still well-known as the wistful, inspirational musical about a leader of conscience and a commitment to the ideals of better, fairer government. Not to mention, a reminder of a bygone administration headed by John F. Kennedy that, at the time, adopted the musical as an avatar of its own aspirations. “Camelot” is a shining example of how a work of popular entertainment, when it comes along at the right time, can embed itself in the public imagination and acquire social resonance.
“When I read the sparkling new adaptation by David Lee, I couldn’t imagine another show I would be more excited about directing,” said Jones. “SRT's first production of ‘Camelot’ in 2001 (directed by Frank Latson) was a huge, lush, multi-set affair with a cast of almost thirty that ran over three hours. This adaptation has pared down the cast to eleven, a unit set and will run around two hours. At the heart of this play nothing has changed and that's what makes this ‘Camelot’ so exiting to direct. We are still engrossed by Arthur's quest for his utopian society. And, throughout the journeys and travails of Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, we are continuously enveloped by the romantic Lerner and Loewe score everyone loves. In my opinion, their most romantic.”
The role of King Arthur will be played by Jerry Lee. Courtney Glass will play Queen Guenevere. Lancelot will be played by Brian Krinsky, who will be making his SRT debut. The cast includes Lake Wilburn as Mordred, Brian Michael Henry as Sir Lionel, Christopher David Roché as Sir Sagramore, James Smith as Sir Dinadan, with Abigail Campbell and Laura Millar as ensemble, all making their SRT debuts. Returning to SRT are Atticus Narron, Fiona Mowbray and Amy Mannon, who will be adding live percussion.
The creative team includes Jones (Director & Scenic Designer), Scott Michaelsen (Music Director), Zoe Swenson- Graham (Fight & Intimacy Choreographer), Emily Gatesman (Choreographer), Kimily Conkle (Dialect Coach), Joanna Hobbs (Stage Manager), B. Benjamin Weigel (Costume Designer), Peter Leibold (Media & Lighting Designer), Ty Smith (Sound Designer), Noah Kozminski (Properties Designer) and Sean Paxton (Musical Accompaniment).
Regular performances begin March 1. A post show Q&A with the cast and director will be held on April 8 and is included free of charge with the purchase of a ticket to that performance. This production is rated PG for mature themes. “Camelot” plays in the East Sonora Theatre until April 12.
For more information about Sierra Repertory Theatre and upcoming shows, visit www.SierraRep.org or call the Box Office at (209) 532-3120.