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The Story
In his court at Camelot, King Arthur, scorning the traditional principle of "might equals right," creates a new order of chivalry based on justice, equality and the rule of law: the brotherhood of the Knights of the Round Table.

They are joined by Sir Lancelot du Lac, who soon proves himself to be the greatest of their number, thus fulfilling a prophecy made by Arthur’s old friend and mentor, the magician Merlyn. But Lancelot’s arrival also spells doom for Camelot – for he and Guenevere, Arthur’s queen, fall desperately in love.

Arthur is willing, for the sake of both their loves, to accept the fact of their illicit relationship – but when it becomes public knowledge thanks to the malicious intervention of his illegitimate son Mordred, he realizes that he must allow his wife and his friend to be judged by the very rules of impartial justice that he has fought so hard to establish.

In the battles that follow, the brotherhood of the Round Table is irreparably shattered – though the ideals that it embodied will live on in legend forever.


Program Notes by Lois Kivesto 

In short, there’s simply not

A more congenial spot

For happ’ly-ever-aftering than here

In Camelot.

After the resounding successes of My Fair Lady (1956) on stage and Gigi (1958) on film, public and press awaited with eager curiosity the next musical collaboration of lyricist-librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe.

In the summer of 1958, production manager Stone “Bud” Widney proclaimed: “Lerner, here’s your next show.” He had just read, as had Lerner, a New York Times book review of The Once and Future King, T. H. White’s whimsical epic chronicle of King Arthur and the Round Table. In December 2010, at the time of Camelot’s fiftieth anniversary, Widney recalled the sense of a “big idea” in White’s book. More ... 

Director’s Notes by Gary Griffin
People sometimes suppose that the musical form implies lightness or superficiality: that a musical, by its nature, cannot venture into the same serious territory as a play. This idea seems to me to be particularly mistaken in the case of Camelot, a musical of truly classical power.

Camelot centres on a love triangle between extraordinary people who pursue extraordinary visions of themselves: to be a king, to be a queen, to be the greatest of all knights. The participants truly love each other in their different ways, but the human part of them that falls in love conflicts with the ideals they hold: they have to negotiate the truth of who they are with who they want to be. More ...

Additional Notes by Shira Ginsler
No one knows for sure if a real-life counterpart to the legendary King Arthur ever existed, though he is presented as a historical personage in some early chronicles. A Welsh poem written around the year 600 contains our first known mention of him: a glancing reference in which another soldier is praised for his valour, “though he was not Arthur.” He appears again in Welsh writings over the next five hundred years, always cast as a great warrior. More ...
 

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April 2014
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