×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Camelot

Alan Jay Lerner once told me that during 1960 rehearsals for "Camelot," he was petrified that the play would fail, moaning, "My God, it has no damn humor!" Lerner would have been delighted to see the Hollywood Bowl version, because director Gordon Hunt, star Jeremy Irons and a superb cast have brought a fast, funny and lighthearted flavor to his musical adaptation of T.H. White's "The Once and Future King."

With:
Performers: Jeremy Irons, Ben Platt, Orson Bean, Melissa Errico, Thomas Ian Griffith, Melissa Hoff, Robert Marra, James Barbour, Stephen Breithaupt, Paxton Whitehead, Anthony Meindl, Kevin Earley, Mary Van Arsdel, Malcolm Gets.

Alan Jay Lerner once told me that during 1960 rehearsals for “Camelot,” he was petrified that the play would fail, moaning, “My God, it has no damn humor!” Lerner would have been delighted to see the Hollywood Bowl version, because director Gordon Hunt, star Jeremy Irons and a superb cast have brought a fast, funny and lighthearted flavor to his musical adaptation of T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King.” Rather than a one-night-only show, this production deserves a long run.

Watching a musical once regarded as a major disappointment in comparison with Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady,” one can see that the memorable songs are the equal of those from that 1956 masterpiece. “Camelot” stayed on Broadway for more than two years; the score album spent more than 150 weeks on the U.S. chart — six at No. 1 — and John Mauceri’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra interpretation of Robert Russell Bennett’s arrangements in the orchestra reinforced their harmonic magnificence.

Irons skillfully maintained the tradition of talk-singing established by Yul Brynner, Robert Preston, Rex Harrison and the production’s original Arthur, Richard Burton. As an actor, Irons gave an exhilarating contemporary relevance to his speech “Violence is not strength — compassion is not weakness.” In addition, he invested the part with a boyish vulnerability that made him a warmly appealing figure.

Irons’ Arthur, a man used to relying on advice from wizard confidante Merlyn (Orson Bean, looking impressive in Lisa Ann Hill’s flowing, gold-embroidered robes), expressed ingratiating insecurity, singing, “I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight.” Irons gave a perfect reading to the line “He’s scared,” when confronted with the nerve-wracking last-minute prospect of meeting his new bride, Guinevere (Melissa Errico).

Errico was an inspired choice for the part.  When Arthur said, “I won’t touch you,” Errico’s Guinevere countered with hilarious female vanity, “Why not?” and called this “respectful, polite, despicable behavior.”  Errico did a magical rendition of “I Loved You Once in Silence,” and her approach throughout skipped sweetness and utilized a playful, yet admirably powerful tone.

The part of Lancelot (James Barbour), the knight who reveres his king but can’t control his passion for Guinevere, was a challenging one, as Barbour initially had to be “overbearing and pretentious,” as well as a loyal, courageous character.  He potently projected those warring elements in Lancelot’s nature. Barbour’s strutting version of the narcissistic “C’est Moi” was one of the production’s high spots, and his directly virile approach and red-blooded singing voice were excitingly showcased on “If Ever I Should Leave You.”

Rhythmic variety is one of the score’s strong points, and Kay Cole’s choreography delightfully accented the ebullience of the upbeat “The Lusty Month of May.” Cole was also in peak form with “What Do the Simple Folks Do,” in which Irons and Errico sat on chairs and let their feet do the talking with a joyful, cleverly conceived dance.

As three faithful knights who attempt to vanquish Lancelot at the queen’s request, Kevin Earley, Thomas Ian Griffith and Anthony Meindl sang splendidly and brought vigorous comedic energy to their parts. Malcolm Gets, playing the darkly villainous Mordred, supplied a rousingly energetic “Fie on Goodness,” and Paxton Whitehead excelled as Arthur’s wise and witty friend.

Camelot

Hollywood Bowl; 17,376 seats; $110 top

Production: Presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner; music by Frederick Loewe, based on "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White. Directed by Gordon Hunt. Choreography, Kay Cole.

Crew: Sets, Evan Bartoletti; costumes, Lisa Ann Hill; lighting, Casey Cowan; stage manager, David Lober. Reviewed Aug. 14, 2005.

Cast: Performers: Jeremy Irons, Ben Platt, Orson Bean, Melissa Errico, Thomas Ian Griffith, Melissa Hoff, Robert Marra, James Barbour, Stephen Breithaupt, Paxton Whitehead, Anthony Meindl, Kevin Earley, Mary Van Arsdel, Malcolm Gets.

More Scene

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content