‘Camelot’ puts icing on monster GET cake (season)

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Georgia Ensemble Theatre closed its 2013-14 season with one of its most ambitious plays yet, Learner and Loewe’s “Camelot” – and what a finale it is.

With 15 featured players, it is perhaps GET’s largest cast. “Camelot” also has perhaps its most talented cast in one play as well.

Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot” doesn’t leave much room for error with its music. In great musicals, the songs drive the drama, and what voices the players must have. These do.

Artistic Director Robert Farley called them his “Wall of Sound,” and so they are. Bryant Smith is fresh from his role as a “stellar” Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” In “Camelot,” he must command the stage and he does so royally.

Whether in song or in soliloquy, Smith is every inch the king. Jennifer Alice Acker as his Guenevere matches him song for song and note for note. Chris Kayser doesn’t really steal scenes in the dual role of Merlin and Sir Pellinore.

But Kayser does make you sit up when he comes on stage, because you know the veteran Atlanta actor is going to do something interesting you won’t want to miss.

Jeremy Wood as Lancelot has the duty to perform one of the best love songs ever written (“If Ever I Would Leave You”) and knocks it out of the park.

Of course in any drama, there is no drama without conflict. That is so malevolently supplied by Kyle Brumley as Mordred. Not seen until the second act, he sets about to turn the Round Table one end as he conspires against The Once and Future King.

Brumley and the ensemble explode in “The Seven Deadly Virtues” and “Fie on Goodness,” with a mad energy that catches the audience up in the maelstrom.

In all, “Camelot” delivers in the memorable way theatergoers have come to expect GET’s season finales to do – the exclamation point on the season.

This was one of the strongest seasons for GET yet, showing the growth and maturity of more than 20 years’ service to the community.

GET’s “Gatsby” production in March was in one humble reviewer’s opinion one of the 10 best Farley has yet produced. Of course, they have done it by crafting a true ensemble organization from the lobby to backstage that really clicks.

Bob and Anita Allen-Farley have wrought something truly special in midtown Roswell, a multifaceted jewel that gains luster as the seasons pass. It was a truly blessed day when they settled here to create a professional OTP theater here in deepest darkest suburbia.

Taking a peek at next year’s season, it is clear Bob and Anita are not resting on their handlebars. From Tony Award-winning drama to gum-popping, jump-in-the-aisles country rock, it’s all there again next year with another “top this” finale. Hold onto your hats.

The 2014-2015 GET Season

“PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES” – Musical

Sept. 11 - 28, 2014

By John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann

Directed by Robert J. Farley

Welcome to the Double Cupp Diner on Highway 57, somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, N.C. It’s a great place to rest a spell and enjoy a slice of pie and a piping hot cuppa joe or a bottle of beer. The fellas from the gas station next door will be stoppin’ in for a visit with the lovely Cupp sisters, to play their high octane blend of country-western, bluegrass and rock and roll packed with entertaining toe-tappers about life, love and good times along the American roadside.

“THE ELEPHANT MAN” - Drama

Oct. 30 - Nov. 16, 2014

By Bernard Pomerance

Winner! Tony Award for Best Play. This moving and beautiful powerhouse drama is based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the 19th century. A horribly deformed young man, a victim of rare skin and bone diseases, has become the star freak attraction in traveling side shows. Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to London’s prestigious Whitechapel Hospital. Under the care of celebrated physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati, only to be denied his ultimate dream: to become a man like any other.

“ONE SLIGHT HITCH” – Comedy

Jan. 8 - 25, 2015

By Lewis Black

Yes, THAT Lewis Black – “The Daily Show” guy. And he’s written a play. So hang on to your seats! Doc and Delia Coleman are throwing eldest daughter Courtney the lavish wedding they never had. The groom is perfect, the dress is perfect and the decorations (assuming they arrive) will be perfect. Then, like in any good farce, the doorbell rings … and one slight hitch wreaks glorious havoc on all of their plans. So much for perfect. (Contains some mild adult language.)

“HOMERS” - World premiere

Feb. 26 - March 15, 2015

By Jacob York

In this story where fandom and family intersect, we meet Leigh Elder, a female sportswriter for a major metro Atlanta newspaper. She’s a homer: love and loyalty to the Braves, the Hawks and the Falcons. When a dream job falls into her lap and promises to take her to the big-time of L.A., she is thrilled. The only thing that stands in the way is her biggest fan: her father. Can a homer ever really leave home? Loyalty and love can be tough in the big leagues! GET is proud to present the world premiere of this play by Atlanta-based actor Jacob York (“Becky’s New Car,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner”).

“MY FAIR LADY” – Broadway musical

April 9 - 26, 2015

By Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

“Wouldn’t it Be Loverly?,” “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” are all part of this musical masterpiece that will complete GET’s 22nd season. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” you will fall in love all over again with Eliza Doolittle, a Covent Garden flower peddler who agrees to take speech lessons from phonetician Henry Higgins in order to fulfill her dream of working in a flower shop. Along the way, Eliza succeeds so well that she outgrows her lowly social status and manages to become an indispensable part of Higgins’ life.