Ignore the crown and scepter — that King Arthur is a real cut-up.
Rich Biever has listened to the cast album for “Camelot” — Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s meditation on what life would have been like if the Knights of the Round Table had pitch — many times.
Better yet, Fuse’s producing artistic director is also in the process of directing rehearsals for Fuse’s interpretation of the text, set to take the stage at Schwab Auditorium starting June 22.
Still, even after all that time there are still surprises to be found in “Camelot.”
I’m surprised in rehearsal how funny the show is — I don’t think people remember that about it.
Rich Biever, Fuse Productions’ producing artistic director
“I’m surprised in rehearsal how funny the show is — I don’t think people remember that about it,” Biever said.
The plot doesn’t exactly scream yuk-fest. Idealistic King Arthur forms the Knights of the Round Table as the backbone of a society where might is used for right. One of his hires, the dashing Sir Lancelot, catches the eye of wife Guinevere and it all comes tumbling down.
But Biever sees the musical’s optimism, an idealistic streak that audiences can plug into if knight-talk doesn’t quite hold interest.
“I think it also speaks to our desire for the right things to happen,” he said.
For Penn State grad Michael Pilato, that includes being back in Happy Valley. After a few years spent performing in regional theaters around the country, “Camelot’s” erstwhile Lancelot now has home field advantage.
Pilato is interested in the musical’s complicated and adult themes.
“Forgiveness is a quality that we think is human but might actually be more of a superhuman ability,” Pilato said.
Forgiveness is a quality that we think is human but might actually be more of a superhuman ability.
Actress Kayla Berghoff doesn’t require superhuman powers — she’s just glad that Biever opted to include the song “Then You May Take Me to the Fair” in the production.
It is by far her favorite “Camelot” number, and as Guinevere, she’ll finally have the pleasure of performing it onstage.
“I was so happy because I think it’s such a fun song,” Berghoff said.
“Fun” being the operative word there.
Berghoff knows that “Camelot” has its legions of fans, her mother and grandmother among them.
“I think it is such a classic that people really enjoy,” Berghoff said.
IF YOU GO
- What: Fuse Productions’ “Camelot”
- When: 7:30 p.m. June 22-24 and 2 p.m. June 25
- Where: Schwab Auditorium, University Park
- Info: fuseproductions.org