SF Playhouse Gives Camelot A New Look

Guenevere (Monique Hafen) in Camelot at SF Playhouse

Artistic Director Bill English and Producing Director Susi Damilano bring a triumphant conclusion to their 10th season now in their new venue with an award-winning cast for Camelot (1960) by Alan J. Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music), directed by Bill English together with Music Director Dave Dobrusky.

The Camelot cast features four award-winning actors, Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Lancelot who won a Tony Award for his performance on Broadway in Rent; and Johnny Moreno (Arthur), Monique Hafen (Guenevere) and Charles Dean (Merlin/Pelinore) – all three winners of BATCC for Best Actors in a Musical for last summer’s SF Playhouse hit, My Fair Lady.

The SF Playhouse Director Bill English has chosen to push Camelot into the dark ages before the time of shining armor, when Europe was deeply buried in the ignorance and fear of the dark ages when Arthur’s ideas of justice and democracy were truly revolutionary.  Camelot is the timeless and powerful love triangle between the legendary King Arthur, his Queen Guenevere and his best friend, Lancelot in a much grittier version than earlier productions.

The cast and direction of Camelot are uniformly professional.  Nina Ball’s set is a masterpiece with effective use of moving set pieces on a revolving stage and a cyclorama that creates a feeling of a magical kingdom.  Abra Berman’s costumes are both impressive and imaginative.  Battles which were written to be peformed offstage now occur onstage and Miguel Martinez’s fight choreography is cleverly staged. Under his outstanding leadership, Bill English chalks up another success with Camelot equal to last year’s My Fair Lady.

Camelot runs at SF Playhouse July 16-September 14, 2013. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Saturday at 3 p.m. SF Playhouse is located at 450 Post Street (2nd Floor of Kensington Park Hotel b/n Powell and Mason), San Francisco. For tickets, call 415-677-9596 or go online at www.sfplayhouse.org.

Coming up next at SF Playhouse will be the World Premiere Sandbox Series featuring Grounded by George Brant and directed by Susannah Martin and starring Lauren English, August 15-September 7, 2013 at the A.C.T. Costume Shop, 1119 Market Street (at 7th St.), San Francisco. Performances will be Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 415-677-9596 or go online at www.sfplayhouse.org.

Flora Lynn Isaacson