Prepare to enter ‘Camelot’

Nick Feldtman as King Arthur and Zoe Bishop as Queen Guinevere, along with court members, watch a fight scene during rehearsal of Camelot at the Shane Lalani Center for the Arts Wednesday.

Clockwise from far left:
Sir Lancelot played by Cameron Reichert heals Sir Lionel played by Jack Gauthier during rehearsal Wednesday night at the Shane Lalani Center for the Arts; Zoe Bishop as Queen Guinevere dances with Nick Feldtman King Arthur; Lilly Eaton as Morgan le Fay is surrounded by her court.

Enterprise Photos

by Nate Howard

It’s an old story that everybody knows — the legend of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot struggling in their immortal love triangle in the mythical kingdom of Camelot.

Park High School will perform the award-winning show, “Camelot,” for its annual spring musical, opening Friday, May 4.

“Camelot” is based on the Arthurian legend in the novel, “The Once and Future King,” by T.H. White. It was written by the team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe in 1960. The original Broadway show featured Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet, according to the website www.masterworksbroadway.com.

The PHS show is co-directed by PHS English Teacher Lynnette Evanson and Choral Teacher Nancy Curtis. Curtis played the role of Guinevere herself some years ago at the old Firehouse Theatre, she said.

Evanson said during a recent rehearsal at the Shane Center’s Dulcie Theatre that “Camelot” was Curtis’s idea, and they agreed it would be a good show for the performers they had available.

Curtiss said she likes the show because it’s not the typical American romantic comedy.

“And I felt the roles would push our actors outside their comfort zones,” she said.

The starring roles of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot are all played by seniors, respectively, Nick Feldtman, Zoe Bishop and Cameron Reichert.

Bishop starred in “Annie” as an 11-year-old in 2011, but has not participated heavily in theater since, but is enjoying the role and the work.

“Guinevere is kind of crazy,” Bishop said. “It’s fun and hard work, and I enjoy putting in the work.”

Nicke Feldtman is coming off a recent run as Huck Finn in the Shane Center’s production of “Big River.”

“It’s a big change from playing Huck Finn,” he said, including switching from an American Southern accent to a British one.

Evanson said she sees a lot in common between the two roles.

“They’re wandering through life and learning lessons,” she said. “They’re two completely different but similar roles.”

Cameron Reichert plays Lancelot.

“I get to be kind of a jerk,” he laughed.

Reichert has been a familiar face on the Dulcie Theatre stage throughout his high school years, but he plans to major in music when he begins college.

And Elizabeth Mickelson, also a senior, plays a lady in waiting. She started performing in shows when she was in kindergarten. “Camelot” is her 30th show, she said.

“I’m going to have some play withdrawal,” she said.

Costumes

Besides students who can sing and act, “Camelot” requires costumes. Longtime volunteer Karen Richards was busy in the costume room last week. She said she costumed the show the last time it was performed, and some of the costumes are still around. For the current production, she has 12 boys and 25 girls to outfit.

There are creative theater tricks to making a costume for work. For example, to replicate the look of chainmail — which is expensive — Richards used a silver-gray material that looks, up close, like the material used to make basketball shorts.

Shiny material also does well for chainmail, she said.

She fits all the dresses to the girls with their shapes in mind. She makes sure the dresses fit properly and look attractive.

“I want every girl to feel pretty,” she said.

Richards, like Mickelson, has been involved with theater since she was a child herself here in Livingston. She worked with legends like the late Mike Art, who played her father four times over the years, she recalled.

Arthurian costumes can be hard to come by, but in recent years, with the popularity of “Game of Thrones” and “cosplay,” that is, dressing up like characters from a movie, book or video game, costumes are more readily available.

Richards peruses eBay for items and praises the Community Closet for providing items for free.

“We can template an item and make it look different,” she said.

She credited her mother, Charlene Frazier, who is a seamstress.

Evanson praised the show.

“There are a lot of wonderful moments,” she said. “And the story is both funny and poignant.”

“Camelot” opens Friday, May 4, with an 8 p.m. show time. The show runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 20.