Mercyhurst students, faculty present classic production of ‘Camelot’


Camelot, the timeless tale of King Arthur, Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table, comes alive on the stage of Taylor Little Theater at Mercyhurst University for three performances Oct. 19-21.

Alan Jay Lerner’s musical tells the story of King Arthur and Queen Guenevere trying to rid their kingdom of senseless fighting, establish chivalry and introduce the idea of using “might for right.” With Merlin and Guinevere by his side, King Arthur creates a kingdom known for peace and sensibility.

The production features student actors with faculty and alumni who have worked hard to bring the timeless classic to life. Evening performances are Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, at 8 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 21. Camelot is produced by D’Angelo Department of Music Chair Louisa Jonason and directed by Rebecka Kerr with support from Mathew Anderson, a junior voice major.

The show begins with King Arthur (Matthew Tolbert) perched in a tree, terrified by his impending marriage to an unknown Queen. Merlin (Barry McAndrew) arrives and coaxes him out of the tree, reminding him of his kingly duties. Not knowing who the King is, Queen Guenevere (Kirstan Orgel) then appears, begging him to take her away from Camelot. The King soon charms her and she falls instantly in love with Arthur and the city itself.

Five years later, the happily married King and Queen discuss ideas such as chivalry and “might for right” instead of “might is right.” After much debate and discussion, they formulate the idea of a round table where Knights would gather and discuss politics and hold trials. A new age was dawning – an age or reason and prosperity. Soon after, though, the young French knight Lancelot (Dillon Shidemantle) comes seeking to join this round table. Lancelot disgusts Queen Guenevere at first sight, but soon the two fall hopelessly in love.

Five years later, a young yet bitter man (Chris Gaertner) appears in the castle. He introduces himself as Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son. In a quest for blood and vengeance, Mordred leads the Knights in an uprising against the round table, testing the bounds of chivalry and the Kingdom itself.

The score of Camelot is as enchanting as the classic story line. Conducted by Mercyhurst alumnus Andrew Ferguson, it includes favorites like “C’est Moi,” “Camelot,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Lusty Month of May” and “Fie on Goodness.” Erie set designer Harold Hotchkiss pulls the whole story together with an outstanding set and stunning lighting.

Tickets for Camelot are $15.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and students, $5 for youths (under 12) and $2.50 for Mercyhurst students with ID. They can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) box office. For ticket information, call the PAC at 824-3000.

PHOTO: Matthew Tolbert & Kirstan Orgel

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