Camelot

  • HBO, 1982, Color, 147 minutes, ****
  • Winter Garden Theatre revival (11/15/81 – 1/2/82)
  • Broadcast on Cable Television by HBO on September 26, 1982

Experience Camelot’s “one brief, shining moment” as Lerner and Loewe envisioned it – live on a Broadway Stage. Working at the top of his talent, Richard Harris heads an all-star cast in one of Broadway’s wittiest, most literate musicals, filled with memorable tunes. Recorded at New York’s historic Winter Garden Theater in 1982, this production captures all the immediacy and intimacy of a live performance viewed from the best seat in the house.

Idealistic King Arthur longs to create a perfectly principled kingdom, but sees his dream undone by a tragic love triangle involving Queen Guenevere (Meg Bussert) and his best friend Lancelot (Richard Muenz). In this thoroughly engaging Tony-nominated production, the medieval monarch’s vision – a place where “violence is not strength, and compassion is not weakness” – speaks to our time and for all time. [from DVD case]

DVD special features include insert with production notes by Meg Bussert, original Broadway playbill (DVD ROM), and bios of Lerner & Loewe and Richard Harris. Color, stereo, 4:3 full screen

I like this version of Camelot better than the movie version (above). As Meg Bussert (Guenevere) puts it in her production notes included with the DVD, “… Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot form an unusual love triangle in that each one of them cares deeply for the other two. As their relationships deepen, the characters face not only personal betrayal but also treason. Marty [Callner] wanted to share these complicated emotions with the audience even more intimately than they could be shared on stage…” I think it is largely due to Meg Brussert’s Guenevere that this emotion is transmitted as well as it is. All three of the main characters are equally strong in this production, and between the three of them there is an emotion that is much more than just that of three combined. Meg Bussert is very beautiful, a great singer, and so much more multi-dimensional than Vanessa Redgrave was in the film. She is a true gem!

Most of the songs in this version are sung as solos, allowing each artist complete emotional range unencumbered by accompanist or Chorus. This seems to have the effect of making each song a bit more intimate and personal. This is a beautifully produced stage version of the Lerner & Loewe classic, and comes across so powerfully that it stands as one of the best of all the classic musicals! Don’t miss it!

Details

  • Presented by: Home Box Office
  • Presented at: Winter Garden Theatre, NYC
  • Produced by: Mike Merrick and Don Gregory
  • Executive Producer: Michael Fuchs
  • Coordinating Producer: Kathleen Fitzpatrick
  • Associate Producer: Patricia Fili
  • Production Associate: Jan Collison
  • Production Manager: Patricia Morinelli
  • Production Coordinators: Sharon Blackwell, Angela Mancuso
  • Production Assistants: Kathy Faul, Susan Sands
  • Staged and Directed by: Marty Callner
  • Associate Director: Molly Miles
  • Assistant Directors: Patrick Aumont, Damian Harris
  • Musical Director: Terry James
  • Book and Lyrics by: Alan Jay Lerner
  • Music by: Frederick Loewe
  • Choreographer: Buddy Schwab
  • Assistant Choreographer: Sally Ann Swarm
  • Lighting Designer: Greg Brunton
  • Assistant Lighting Director: Jeff Goodman
  • Art Director: Bill Groom
  • Assistant Art Director: Charles McCarry
  • Videotape Editor: Andy Zall
  • Assistant Videotape Editor: Kevin Fernan
  • Audio: Blake Norton, Mike Moran
  • Re-Recording Mixers: Ed Greene, Doug Nelson
  • Assistant Re-Recording Mixers: Marti Humphrey, David Glover
  • Technical Director: Terry Donohue
  • Video: Mark Sanford
  • Cameramen: Joe Epperson, Bob Keys, Hector Ramirez, Ron Sheldon, Ken Tamburri
  • Continuity: Peter Mullet
  • Stage Managers: Alan Hall, Steve Adler
  • Make-up: Fran Kolar, Romania Ford, Edward Jackson
  • Hair: Vincent Prestia, Steve D’Amico, Annette Prestia
  • Theatrical Technical Consultant: Arthur Siccardi
  • For the Stage Production:
  • Directed by: Frank Dunlop
  • Original New York Production Staged by: Moss Hart
  • Based on “The Once and Future King” by T. H. White

Awards

  • Cable ACE Award Nominations: Best Actor (Richard Harris), Best Actress (Meg Bussert)

Cast

  • Richard Harris [King Arthur]
  • Andy McAvin [Sir Sagramore]
  • James Valentine [Merlyn]
  • Meg Bussert [Guenevere]
  • William Parry [Sir Dinadan]
  • Jeanne Caryl [Nimue]
  • Richard Muenz [Lancelot Du Lac]
  • Richard Backus [Mordred]
  • Robert Molnar [Dap]
  • Vincent Prestia [Friar]
  • Sally Williams [Lady Anne]
  • Patrice Pickering [Lady Sybil]
  • William James [Sir Lionel]
  • Barrie Ingham [King Pellinore]
  • Daisy [Horrid] Steve Osborne [Squire]
  • Randy Morgan [Squire]
  • Craig Mason [Squire]
  • Ken Henley [Knight]
  • Bruce Sherman [Knight]
  • Jack Starkey [Knight]
  • Ron Stratton [Knight]
  • Thor Fields [Tom]

Musical Program

  • Opening Credits (played by Orchestra)
  • Guenevere (excerpt sung by Chorus)
  • I Wonder What The King Is Doing Tonight (sung by Richard Harris)
  • The Simple Joys of Maidenhood (sung by Meg Bussert)
  • Camelot (sung by Richard Harris)
  • Camelot (reprised by Meg Bussert)
  • Follow Me (sung by Jeanne Caryl)
  • C’est Moi (sung by Richard Muenz)
  • The Lusty Month of May (sung and danced by Meg Bussert and Ensemble)
  • How to Handle a Woman (sung by Richard Harris)
  • The Jousts (sung by Chorus)
  • Before I Gaze at You Again (sung by Meg Bussert)
  • This I Know Will E’er Be So (??) (short folk song sung in French and English by Richard Muenz and Ensemble)
  • If Ever I Would Leave You (sung by Richard Muenz)
  • The Seven Deadly Virtues (sung by Richard Backus)
  • What Do the Simple Folk Do? (sung by Meg Bussert and Richard Harris)
  • I Loved You Once in Silence (sung by Meg Bussert)
  • Guenevere (reprise, sung by Chorus)
  • Camelot (reprise, sung by Richard Harris, then taken up by Chorus and Orchestra)