Theatre Review ‘Camelot’ at Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 12:00 pm By: Kristen Weyer Source: NY Theatre Guide

Camelot, this classic tale of knights, chivalry and ill-fated love has enthralled countless generations.  Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, Merlin, Mordred and the Knights of the Round Table, these names bring us to a place of mystery, magic and legend.  Told in many ways throughout the ages this version, Camelot, is the creation of the musical geniuses Lerner and Loewe.  It opened on Broadway in December 1960, starring Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Roddy McDowall and Robert Goulet, and won four Tony Awards in 1961.

… a classic tale of love, honor, dreams and betrayal.

Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production of Camelot, is directed and choreographed by Richard Sabellico.  He also adapted this version from the original, with permission from Alan Jay Lerner’s family.  Eliminating scenes which he considered to be superfluous to the main plot, Sabellico chooses to focus on the love triangle of Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot.  He accomplishes this quite well actually, with one small caveat.  There is very little setup for the budding romance between Guenevere and Lancelot, so the seemingly direct jump from disdain to love feels rather abrupt.  Perhaps this is due to the excised scenes, perhaps not, either way you are expecting it to happen at some point regardless, so it’s fairly easy to look over.

The cast of this performance is incredible.  Excellent characterization, emotion, and singing from every angle.  Clark Scott Carmichael’s portrayal of King Arthur is superb.  You fall in love with him from his first scene, where he plays the nervous young man waiting to meet his bride with the perfect level of adorable bashfulness.  He is innocent and lovable, with charming mannerisms that follow him as he matures throughout the show into a man with high ideals and lofty dreams.  Jennifer Hope Wills is stunning as the beautiful Guenevere.  With an impressive soprano and regal bearing, she goes from a sheltered, naïve girl to a woman torn between two sides of her heart.  Jeremiah James’ Lancelot is suave and debonair.  He oozes the self-confidence his character possess, assured he is the best at whatever he sets out to do.  Mordred is played by Jordan Wolfe with perfectly disturbing creepiness, and an added brogue which heightens his air of mystique.  Martin Van Treuren is wonderful as both Merlyn and King Pellinore.  His comedic timing is much appreciated throughout a production which is otherwise quite emotionally heavy.

Any show centered on the past, no matter the quality of the book or talent of the cast, must rely on costuming as the final element.  Camelot’s Costume Designer Janell Berté does not disappoint.  Gorgeous, intricate costumes dazzle in every scene, with historic details and accurate cuts.  Added to an attractive set by Kyle Dixon, Camelot is visually stunning from beginning to end.  Of course, as with any classic musical, the score carries much of the show.  The live orchestra under direction of Ryan Edward Wise performs brilliantly, executing the soaring melodies with perfection.

Camelot, a classic tale of love, honor, dreams and betrayal.  A noble goal centuries before its time.  A love, fated to fail.  A legend that cries “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

Running Time: Approximately 3 hours with one 20 minute intermission.

Camelot is playing at Westchester Broadway Theatre until April 5th, 2015.  The theatre is located at One Broadway Plaza, Elmsford NY.  For tickets call the Box Office at (914) 592-2222