BWW Preview: CAMELOT at Candlelight Music Theatre
Candlelight, the only dinner theatre in the state and indubitably the best theatrical value, opens its doors after a 3-month hiatus with CAMELOT on March 18.
With state Sen Cathy Cloutier leading the 2 year $300,000 effort, the 80-year-old sway backed stage has finally been redone. For the past decades, an actor who was, for example, 6' tall standing at center would have been 6'2" on stage left or right.
Candlelight Music Theatre, and the names it was previously, showcased a few legendary actors in its past including Bruce Willis and Susan Stroman. Its real legacy, however, is the hundreds of local actors who relished in the theatrical experience afforded them and the thousands upon thousands of people entertained.
The official birth of Candlelight Music Theatre was in 1969 when John and Lena O'Toole and Julian and Annabelle Borris walked through the cobwebs, smelled the musty interior and took the risk of their lives.
The opening show was FORUM. John later remarked he had never before heard of the production. Dinner and theatre then was $7.50 byo. Julian directed and John wrote by hand the program book. Both men were in multiple productions. Lena and Annabelle were administrative help. Both sets of their children were in many of the performances.
Aisle Say saw the sold-out FORUM many times for he was cast to play the Frank Sinatra role in the next one, PAL JOEY. His only claim to fame was that he was so horrid in the role that the production has NEVER been revived in the 48-year history of Candlelight. Some of the tunes in the show are classics: "I Could Write A Book", "Chicago", "Lady Is A Tramp" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
Aisle Say has seen every opening night for many years. Notably, under the stewardship of Producing Artistic Director Bob Kelly, the production values have been across the board excellent. Time and time again I have commented on the energy, passion, camaraderie and love that the players exhibit on stage.
With the many productions I review, it seems none can get around topical comments of today's political environment. Even PIPPIN, at The Playhouse last week, had a few choice lines for our dictatorial, narcissistic President. (and PIPPIN is set in the Middle Ages!). So, Candlelight premieres its new stage with CAMELOT, a theme bequeathed to JFK, Jackie O, John John and Caroline. Do we not wish to have such a revered family such as they at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today?
Director Kelly continues to bring in new faces to this funky Arden barn. Paul McElwee, late of City-Theatre's LA CAGE is Arthur. Sophie Jones, Guinevere and Stephen Degosa is Lance. Candlelight regulars Max Redman, Dan Healy and Andre Dion Wills are part of the knights' crew. Lindsay Mauck and Erin Waldie are two of the ladies in waiting. All five I know to be fantastic with the quick quip and titanic 'takes'. (Aisle Say had lobbied strenuously to have Sen Cloutier at least be cast as a lady in waiting understudy but to no avail).
One can assume there is a lot of pent up theatrical energy for opening night.
Through April 23 Candlelighttheatredelaware.com 302.475.2313
The rest of the season includes CRAZY FOR YOU (directed and choreographed by Sue Stroman on Brdway), BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, FUNNY GIRL and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.