Merging the ‘60s JFK era with King Arthur’s court
The Lerner and Lower musical Camelot first premiered on Broadway in 1960, the same year John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President. The play saw 873 performances, four Tony awards, and a multitude of fans, including Jack and Jackie themselves. Eventually, the Presidential era and the Arthurian reign became so closely connected that Kennedy’s presidency became known as the “Camelot era.”
Several years later, at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, Scott Dunlap and George Quick entertained an idea for quite some time—a re-imagined staging of Camelot, set during the Kennedy presidency, Camelot in America’s Camelot era. This Friday, their dream will become a reality.
The show will take place in the early ‘60s “cocktail culture,” as Dunlap describes it, as made popular by its depiction in the hit TV series Mad Men. Composer Tim Hinck has also re-imagined the score for a memorable trio.
The story will remain the same, with Guinevere encouraging her husband King Arthur to establish the Knights of the Round Table, and rumors gradually circulating of her and Lancelot’s affair. Dunlap explained that the themes of the show are naturally political—his King Arthur is “a leader in crisis wracked by scandal,” lending itself an easy transition into the American political atmosphere.
Characteristically, Camelot is a show that lends itself to bombastic scores and elaborate sets, but Quick and Dunlap have chosen to set their production into “the intimate setting of the Mildred M. Montague Circle Theatre,” Dunlap states.
Tickets are available online at theatrecentre.com