Lush, Romantic

Kevin McGuire stars as King Arthur in Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot at Capital Repertory Theatre

Even the names are romantic—Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Mordred, Morgan LeFey … And the score, oh my, the score—“If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Lusty Month of May,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight …”

It is, of course, Camelot. The eternal, inspiring 1960 masterpiece—based on The Once and Future King by T.H. White, with book & lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe—bows at Capital Repertory Theatre Nov. 25–Dec. 24, in a lush, thrilling, superbly musical holiday production directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill; starring Kevin McGuire as King Arthur.

Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter empire have nothing on theREP’s steampunk-tinged fantasy world of leather armor, textured gowns and Gustav Klimt-inspired scenic design. It’s a lusty visual collision of the classic and contemporary.

The original Broadway cast recording of the multiple Tony Award®-winning show famously stayed pinned at the top of the charts for 60 weeks, driven by the unforgettable songs of librettist Alan Jay Lerner and Fredrick Loewe. At theREP, Camelot is a daring, enchanting effort with virtually all of the music played onstage by multi-talented actors, many with previous ties to the theatre.

“This is, quite simply, one of the finest casts we’ve ever assembled,” beams Mancinelli-Cahill. “We needed diverse talents, and we found them. This is the deepest investment we’ve ever made in the actor/musician model, and the breadth of ability is unbelievable.”

Mancinelli-Cahill is fond of the latter premise at theREP because it creates such intimacy—“You get to know the characters in a different way, hearing them play as well as speak and sing.”

McGuire, as noted, returns to North Pearl Street as King Arthur, a leader for all times. Boasting a strong Broadway, regional and film resume, McGuire is an associate artist with theREP, having directed Hamlet and starred in Red, A Christmas Carol, Man of La Mancha, Other Desert Cities and The Secret Garden.

Camelot, of course, tells the legendary story of Arthur, who ruled his kingdom with tolerance, mercy and new ideals, bringing peace to a troubled land. It came to be a catchword for John F. Kennedy’s presidential administration, inspired by the title song’s memorable line, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”

Camelot,” says Mancinelli-Cahill, “is about a leader who believes in compassionate strength. Right now, in our world, I am attracted to that. Arthur’s code of honor is near and dear to my heart.”

McGuire is joined by Leenya Rideout as Guenevere, Oliver Thornton as Lancelot, Martin Van Treuren as Merlyn, Michael Hicks as Mordred and Jane Pfitsch as Morgan Le Fey.

Rideout, whose Broadway credits include Warhorse, Cyrano de Bergerac, Company and Cabaret, previously appeared at theREP in The Secret Garden alongside McGuire. An exemplary musician who has worked with actor/muso pioneer John Doyle, Rideout will play violin, mandolin and guitar.

Thornton is a West End mainstay, who has worked in London with many of the world’s great directors including Harold Prince, Simon Phillips, Trevor Nunn and Walter Bobbie. He created the role of Adam/Felicia in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Van Treuren starred in the national tour of Camelot with Richard Harris, and has been seen on Broadway in Jekyll & Hyde; Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical; A Christmas Carol; Me And My Girl; and Singin‘ In The Rain. 

Hicks returns for a fifth visit with theREP, where he played roles in My Fair Lady, James Joyce’s The Dead and the popular Menopause The Musical. Most recently, he wrote the songs for, and performed in, Plan B at NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 5. Hicks will play accordion, piano, trumpet and recorder in Camelot.

Pfitsch has worked with Rideout and Doyle on Broadway, and, in addition to an impressive resume, which includes a stint at Barrington Stage Company, she has narrated a number of audiobooks. Pfitsch will play violin, guitar, trumpet, flute and French horn.

Other cast member/musicians include Jessie Shelton, Kevin Grace, Justin Friello,

Shayne David Cameris, Anna Fernandez, Jake Goodman and Patch Gallagher.

Camelot’s design team includes Sound Designer Brad Berridge, Costume Designer Hyun Sook Kim, Lighting Designer Travis McHale and Set Designer Brian Prather. And Mancinelli-Cahill is joined by Assistant Director Matt Winning, Music Director Josh D. Smith (who also plays the role of Sir Dinidan) and Choreographer Freddy Ramirez.

Preview performances for Camelot take place Nov. 25-27. Opening night is Tuesday, Nov. 29. Regular performances continue through Sunday, Dec. 24. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday—with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany. Tickets range from $20 to $60. Students with valid ID: $16 all shows. For tickets and information, call Tickets By Proctors, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Opening night includes live music in the café at 6:30 p.m., and complimentary post-show champagne and dessert from Bella Napoli Bakery. The Chef’s Table performance, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, includes live pre-show music and complimentary hors d’oeuvres for ticketholders from Albany Pump Station, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby.

Discussion nights for Camelot will take place before the Wednesday evening performance Dec. 7, with guest Amy Lane from The Open Door Bookstore on The Once and Future King and Arthurian literature; and after the Wednesday evening performance, Dec. 14, with Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill and cast members.

The Sunday, Dec. 18 matinee will be preceded by a Behind-the-Scenes event, which features complimentary light breakfast fare for ticketholders, and discussion led by theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. Food service begins at 12:30 p.m., with the presentation following from 1-1:30 p.m.

The 2016-2017 Season at Capital Repertory Theatre is sponsored by KeyBank.

Camelot at Capital Repertory Theatre is sponsored by Artist Pianos, Camelot Print & Copy Center and Greenberg Traurig.