A national touring production of Camelot is on stage at TPAC Nov. 4 - 9.
Camelot (Nov. 4 – 9; All ages)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $27.50 – $72.50
Before buying tickets to a “Broadway Series” production, ask if it’s equity. See the list of equity vs. non-equity tours here.
While TPAC’s first two installments of its 2014/15 Broadway Series gave local audiences an outstanding taste of true, Broadway-caliber musicals — Once and Chicago — its current offering of Camelot doesn’t fill the Jackson Hall stage with the same high-quality standards this savvy theater patron expects from an official Broadway (equity) touring production — that’s because it’s not an actual Broadway tour. This is a decent-at-best non-equity tour produced by Throne Games/Phoenix Entertainment. Alas, the sub-quality of this production shows up in numerous ways, and it’s important to note because Nashville’s gotten savvier to theater offerings in the last few years, and we don’t want to be duped.
I’m picking at this equity versus non-equity tour bone because ticket costs aren’t cheap, and patrons should know what they’re paying for when reaching for their wallets. While equity versus non-equity may mean nothing to typical theater goers, the term “Broadway” sure does, and that’s the thing: Attaching the term “Broadway” to a production gives producers a much-needed bounce that less-informed theater goers may spring for. Camelot was a Broadway show at one time, but this particular production has no relationship to current Broadway offerings whatsoever and is not a tour that came out of a current Broadway run. The difference between purchasing an equity versus a non-equity tour ticket should be made known to theater patrons at purchase point for a Broadway Series show.
Camelot itself is a four-time, Tony Award-winning musical, and the songs of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe are magical. This production doesn’t provide the glorious Broadway stamp patrons should expect. There are tonality problems in the singing. The love triangle between King Arthur (Adam Grabau), Guenevere (Mary McNulty) and Sir Lancelot (Tim Rogan) exists only in the libretto, not in the acting. The stakes of the story — that there can be an idyllic place such as Camelot but that it can be shattered by things like deception, betrayal and ultimately war — are minimal in the playing out. The best performance of the show is courtesy of Kasidy Devlin, who plays Arthur’s illegitimate, revenge-seeking son, Mordred. The best thing about this show is the score.
One positive thing about this Camelot stop at TPAC is that it involves three local teen boys sharing the role of Tom of Warwick during the last scene, and any opportunity for a young acting enthusiast to step into the spotlight is a good one. These performers include Henry Hawes (7:30 p.m. Nov. 4, 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 8), Bryton Cole (7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9) and Charlie Webb (7:30 p.m. Nov. 6, 8 p.m. Nov. 7, 1 p.m. Nov. 9).