BWW Reviews: The Arvada Center Presents a Stunning Homage to Beloved Classic, CAMELOT

The Arvada Center presents Lerner and Loewe's Tony Award winning musical classic CAMELOT, playing now through October 6th. CAMELOT follows the rise and fall of one of the most famous love triangles of King Arthur, Queen Guenevere, and Sir Lancelot.

Now I know that I may be burned at the stake for this, but compared to other Lerner and Loewe classics, CAMELOT is not their strongest musical. While Act One is so focused, Act Two seems to wander all over the place and the show desperately cries out for a love duet that is seriously missed throughout. With that said, I have to give high praises to the cast of crew of the Arvada Center for creating a night of magic and wonder with this outstanding production. I truly appreciate that the Arvada Center gives rebirth and a newly found appreciation to these sometimes forgotten classics (most notably their award winning production of MAN OF LA MANCHA last season) and hope that they continue this tradition in the future. Memorable musical numbers include - The Simple Joys of Maidenhood, C'est Moi, The Lusty Month of May, Take me to the Fair, How to Handle a Woman, The Jousts, Before I Can Gaze at You Again, If I Would Ever Leave You, I Loved You Once in Silence, and Guenevere.

David Bryant Johnson rose to the occasion and took the throne as King Arthur and it was such a dynamic performance. He ruled the show with a boyish charm and wit and wonderful diction. I enjoyed his performances of Camelot and How to Handle a Woman. My only note would be that I really needed Arthur to extend Excalibur fully during his moving speech at the end of Act One, or even during his last triumphant monologue at the end of the show. Melissa Mitchell as leading lady, Guenevere was absolutely amazing in her Arvada Center debut and kept me engaged with her wonderful performance from her very first note. From The Simple Joys of Maidenhood to Take Me to the Fair and the exceptional Before I Can Gaze at You Again, I was transfixed and I could listen to her rich and vibrant voice all day. Glenn Seven Allen was superb in his Arvada Center debut as Lancelot and even though his voice was a bit more operatic than I have heard from other Lancelot's, the audience just loved him. His renditions of C'est Moi and If I Would Ever Leave You were wonderful. The highlight of the night was the special duet (with a special thanks to Rod Lansberry and David Nehls for creating this) of I Loved You Once in Silence that made the audience fall in love with this scandalous affair. William Thomas Evans was fabulous in playing double duty and truly shone in the contrasting roles of Merlyn and Pellinore. While his Merlyn portrayed so much strength and charm, while Pellinore was a complete 180 in his bumbling and hilarious mannerisms. Mordred (aptly played by Aaron M. Davidson) was good, but had he infused more humor into his devious role, it would have been a much more memorable evil character. He could have taken a page from the deliciously energetic and enjoyable performance of Megan Van de Hey as Morgan Le Fey. I also have to compliment the entire ensemble for adding to the wonder and enhancing every scene with their voices and fun characters.
The entire creative team once again hit it out of the ballpark with this exceptional production. Director Rod A. Lansberry and musical director David Nehls did a super job of picking such remarkable and talented cast with outstanding voices. I also appreciated that they thought out every aspect of this show with excellent blocking and fluid scene transitions. Choreographer Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck had simpler, yet sensible choreography in this show compared to others, but it was exactly what this show needed (especially enjoyable in The Lusty Month of May and The Enchanted Forrest). Designer Brian Mallgrave once again gives us an absolutely sensational set, transporting us back to the era of King Arthur's court. The Celtic floor design was fantastic and I was in awe of the surrounding forest, that was very lifelike and I loved the stonework. The larger than life staiNed Glass window was also gorgeous. Jane Spencer helped to enhance each scene with her sensible lighting design and effects. Sound Designer David Thomas was spot on with his blending of the voices and orchestra. Above everything else, this night belonged to the costumes by designer Clare Henkel. The many, many costumes in this show were rich and overflowing in tapestry, varied fabric, leather design, jewelry and accessory choices and shimmering armor. Every costume that Guenevere wore was simply marvelous and I adored the flowing, ethereal design of Nimue. I also took note that each actor had their own character design that helped to give the ensemble their own personality. Diana Ben-Kiki helped to enhance each character with her wig and makeup designs. I especially loved the braiding of the woman's hair that intricate and positively noticeable.
The biggest compliment I can give this show that I was so transfixed with the performances, the set and those gorgeous costumes, that time on the outside world just slipped away and I thoroughly enjoyed this production...and you should too! Come take the time warp and experience the Arvada Center pay exemplary homage to this beloved classic. CAMELOT is sweeping audiences away at the Arvada Center now until October 6th (due to high ticket sales, an extension was added to the run). Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact the Arvada Center box office by calling 720-898-7200 or online at https://arvadacenter.org/on-stage/camelot-2013.
PHOTO CREDIT: P. Switzer


David Bryant Johnson as Arthur, Melissa Mitchell as Guenevere, and Glenn Seven Allen as Lancelot


David Bryant Johnson as Arthur and Melissa Mitchell as Guenevere


William Thomas Evans as Merlyn


Glenn Seven Allen as Lancelot and David Bryant Johnson as Arthur


Glenn Seven Allen as Lancelot and Melissa Mitchell as Guenevere



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From This Author Michael Mulhern

Michael Mulhern has lived in Denver and been active in it's theater scene for over 10 years. He is originally from Wiesbaden, Germany and graduated (read more...)