Another Muny season is over, but the memory lingers. Here are three highlights from The Outdoor Theater’s 104th season, which ends on August 18.
(If you’re unfamiliar with some of these shows, take this as spoiler alert.)
The performance of the title song in ‘Camelot’
It might be unfair to expect this musical, which centers on King Arthur (Robert Petkov) and his philosophical and romantic challenges, to be as wonderful as another Lerner & Loewe show, My Fair Lady. Compared to that timeless classic, the score was disappointingly lacklustre.
But the Muny production, which aired June 22-28, did show a shining moment: Petkoff’s take on the title track. “Camelot” is pure magic, lyrics include “Winter is prohibited until December/And leave on time March 2./Summer in Camelot continues until September, as ordered.”
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Petkoff brings a mix of elegance and gravitas to this tune, and the oddly underpopulated production could certainly use more. Overall, his performance was simply king. But “Camelot” best showcases the sophisticated yet approachable wit that lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Lowe excel at.
Mr. Proposal in “Purple”
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which inspired the Steven Spielberg-directed film, is destined to be questionable source material for the musical. There’s no getting around the fact that a story that traces the life of an African-American woman involved an abusive spouse, which is a disturbing backdrop for Song and Dance. The production of Muny runs from August 3rd to 9th.
For much of the story, Celie (Anastasia McCleskey) must endure the cruel and outrageous misogyny of the husband she was forced to marry (Evan Tyrone Martin) the behavior of. But later in the musical, a changed gentleman admits the horrors of his former ways and asks Celie if she’d like to marry him again.
So she politely suggested that they content themselves with being friends. Celie’s rejection of Mister’s offer is funny and honest.
Todd the barber threw Mrs Lovett into the furnace
Theater-goers may have seen it coming, but it’s still an exciting turning point: “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” protagonist (Ben Davis) dumps his pie-baking accomplice Mrs Lovett (Carmen Cusack), into the oven.
This happened after Sweeney realized his wife wasn’t dead at all, until he killed her unintentionally. He quickly holds Lovett accountable for deceiving him. However, what else can one expect from a person with a temperament like him?
Davis and Cusack maintained terrific chemistry throughout the July 16-22 show, making the moment all the more poignant. If it weren’t for Sweeney’s ruthless nature, the couple might still have a future together. After all, his murderous tendencies didn’t seem to bother her in the slightest.
And it’s hard to find a romantic partner who is as innocent as you.
Jason Gotay will star in the season-ending Mooney production, which airs August 12-18.
Laila Fantroy is only 13 years old, but with her Muny debut in “Mary Poppins,” she’s already on her way to stardom.
Forest Park’s outdoor theater resumes a full season with precautions in place to keep shows going.