Bryan Haeffele photos
A story of passion, pageantry, chivalry, and betrayal comes to the Clune Center stage this month in the form of Wilton High School’s spring show, Camelot: A Legendary Musical.
“It tells the story of King Arthur, who dreams of ruling his kingdom under a new code of peace and justice,” said musical director and Wilton High School alumna Meredith Walker.
“But the passion between his queen, Guenevere, and his most trusted knight, Lancelot, as well as the evil plans of his illegitimate son, Mordred, threaten to destroy all that Arthur dreams of achieving in Camelot.”
About 50 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, are performing the “iconic and captivating score,” said Walker. There are also four student managers and at least 15 students working backstage and in the orchestra playing the Lerner and Loewe score.
For the February auditions, each student prepared a short song in the style of the show and learned a short dance piece, said Walker. Select students were then called back to read and sing for specific roles.
“Rehearsals began right after auditions. We wasted no time,” said Walker.
“We really try to maximize our rehearsal time in order to teach kids the songs [and] dances, but to give our tech director/stage designer Christian Planton and costume designers Marty Kozlowski and Carol Sell enough time to create all our amazing sets and costumes.”
Walker, who has directed Wilton High School productions for four years, said a show of this size requires a lot of commitment.
In addition to rehearsing four nights a week, the students are required to put in five hours of “tech” a week, which includes painting and building sets, creating costumes and finding props, said Walker.
Because the ensemble in Camelot is “not as featured in the show as they are in some other musicals,” said Walker, most people walk away remembering only the lead roles — Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot.
In an effort to make each cast member memorable, Walker said, she worked with choreographer Kristin Ruggieri and musical director Jerold Goldstein to make sure every student had “something special” to do.
“Whether it be a small solo, a featured dance part, singing in a select quartet, [or] a few lines in a scene,” said Walker. “We’ve really put serious thought and effort into showing off all our kids’ talents.”
Walker said the best part about putting the show together has been “watching the kids do their thing.”
“We have so many talented students. They are going to just blow you away,” she said.
“It’s such a joy to watch these kids have such passion for what they do and to step up and really take responsibility for their show, all with a smile and a positive attitude.”
Walker encourages people to see the Wilton High School production of Camelot because, she said, “it’s a beautiful, magical show that is truly a gem in the American musical theater canon.”
“Watching King Arthur try to change the world for the better while navigating social and political obstacles is just as relevant today as it was when it first premiered on Broadway in 1960,” she said.
Additionally, she said, “Wilton High theater productions are known in the area for our first-rate production values, and Camelot certainly will not disappoint.”
Opening night at the Clune Center, 395 Danbury Road, is Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 16, at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. They may be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 203-834-4844.
Tickets are also available for purchase during the high school’s lunch periods.