Thursday October 19th 2017

“Camelot”

Highly Recommended**** How fortunate are Chicago area theater audiences to have a company like Light Opera Works, a musical theater troupe that brings us superb productions each year- classics, redefined with dynamic casts made up of Equity and non-Equity players, who share one common goal; to bring us the best musical theater, with full orchestra in a comfortable setting and of great importance, affordable ticket prices. The only drawback this company has, if one can call it a drawback, is that they can only offer us limited run times due to the large expense of giving us a full orchestra. Currently, Light Opera is doing “Camelot”, the wonderful story of King Arthur with a book and lyrics by Alan J. Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe ( the creators of “My Fair Lady”) and one of last year’s hits at Light Opera. Director Rudy Hogenmiller, who did that one as well, was smart enough to snag Nick Sandys ( who played Henry Higgins) to take on the daring role of King Arthur and succeed he did. Over the years, Sandys has shown the full spectrum of his acting abilities; a great dramatic actor, a many for all seasons when it comes to light comedy and wit and now, he shows off his triple threat capabilities as a song and dance man- and he does it all with panache!

To make this production one that will stay in our memories and hearts for years, we need to have a solid Lancelot and of course a Guenevere that will make us forget Julie Andrews. They have the delightful Jennie Sophia playing our leading lady to perfection ( Julie who?) and as Lancelot, the powerful William Travis Taylor. While there are many characters of importance in “Camelot”, these are the three “key” players and these three actors have just the right chemistry to pull off our feelings for them despite some of the events that occur. If you recall, the story is about King Arthur who became Kind because he was able to remove a sword from a rock. Now he is to marry Guenevere and is afraid of his future. They get along fine and Arthur comes up with ideas of having less wars and battles and a justice system that will be fair to all- he establishes his “Round Table ” and one of those who comes to serve him is France’s Sir Lancelot, a man with great skills and a rather large ego. As time goes on, we see ( as does Arthur) that Guenevere and Lancelot have something special in their hearts for each other.

What we watch during this almost three wonderful hours of music and merriment is a maturation of a King who didn’t want the kingdom and of  three people who formed a special love between them. Most of you know the story and have probably heard the many famous songs,” “I Wonder What The King is Doing Tonight”, “C’est Moi”, “The Simple Joy of Maidenhood”, “If Ever I Would Leave You”, “I Loved you Once In Silence” and of course, “Camelot”. It is truly a remarkable love story with some twists and it is also a story of  loyalty. There are some marvelous characters, some funny, some bad and some good and I must say, as usual Hogenmiller fills his stage with great talent:Michael Harnichar ( an exquisite Merlin), Skip Lundby, a very funny Pellinmore, Patrick Tierney as the evil Mordred, the very sexy Patrice Egleston as Morgan Le Fey and youngsters Matthew Schroeder and Brooks Whitlock as pages and then Whitlock becomes the Tom of Worwick character who is given the mission of staying alive during the battle between France and England, to spread the word that once there was a spot known as Camelot!”

The ensemble is also one of great strength and energy and the set by Adam L. Veness is worthy of any of the Broadway type stage in town- well done. Andrew H. Meyers lighting is sheer perfection and the costumes ( wow! They are pure Braodway) by Jeff Hendry truly take us back to a time long ago. Todd Rhoades’s choreography is delightful and the fight choreography ( Nick Sandys, who is a specialist in this area, just one of his many talents) is superb.

As always, Roger L. Bingaman brings his talent to the forefront as Musical Director and Conductor of 29 fine musicians who fill the Cahn Auditorium of Evanston with Lerner & Lowe’s wonderful score. As I said earlier, the biggest fault with this production is that there are not enough performances for the number of theater audiences members in the Greater Chicagoland area- you only have the following opportunities to view this masterpiece:

Wednesday,June 6th at 2 p.m.

Friday,June 8th at 8 p.m.

Saturday,June 9th at 8 p.m.

Sunday,June 10th at 2 p.m.

Cahn Auditorium is located at 600 Emerson Street ( at Sheridan Road) in Evanston at the southern tip of Northwestern University- parking is available in the area along Chicago Avenue and in the City Lot just two blocks south of Emerson at Chicago Avenue

Tickets range from $32-$92 and are half price for under 21

To order yours call 847-920-5360 or visit www.lightOperaWorks.com

 

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