Weekender

COMING HOME TO ‘CAMELOT’: Center for the Performing Arts presents classic Knights of the Round Table tale

The Center for the Performing Arts’ production of “Camelot” will be a homecoming for one cast member and a national tour debut for a local actor.

Kate Turner, a 2012 Penn State School of Theatre graduate, will return to the Eisenhower Auditorium stage April 20. This is Turner’s first time in a touring theater production, and she said it has been an enlightening experience thus far.

“I’ve gotten to go to a lot of places that I wouldn’t normally see on my own … places that I didn’t even know would have theaters,” Turner said. “I’ve met all kinds of people and traveled on a bus. It’s been nothing but wonderful so far.”

“Camelot” tells the story of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot and the love triangle that ensues between them. It was adapted for the stage in 1960 by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Since then, it’s had more than 800 performances on Broadway and won four Tony awards.

Turner said she has long been a fan of Lerner and Loewe and was drawn by the opportunity to act in something they wrote. She plays the role of Nimue, and said this adaptation has a slightly more modern feel than its 1960s predecessor.

“It’s a very new production of Camelot, a more tightened version and a bit more epic and chamber-esque,” Turner said. “There’s something for everyone to enjoy … fight scenes and love scenes and one of the most dramatic love triangle of all time.”

Acting alongside Turner and the rest of the cast will be 10-year-old Parker Hanawalt, who was cast for this stop of the tour as Tom of Warwick, a boy destined to become a knight.

“I think Tom of Warwick is adventurous, brave and passionate about being a knight one day,” Hanawalt said. “I feel happy, special and very lucky to have this experience.”

The “Camelot” production team worked with State College theater teacher and producer Richard Biever to cast Hanwalt based on a video audition. He previously appeared in the Nittany Valley Shakespeare Company’s youth production of “Little Lear” last summer, and Fuse Productions’ “Scrooge!” at the State Theatre in December.

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