Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Whichever was the draw, "Camelot" or Rock Hudson, as King Arthur, Shady Grove Tuesday night had a well-filled house, Unexpected, after so hot a day, was the role cold would play.
Hudson had one, an absolute beaut. And the magical Meryln's dry ice alarmed some who began to drift toward the exists. The mist evidently tricked some into thinking about fire.
In both instances triumph won over adversity. Hudson got a standup ovation for making sounds come out of his throat and Meryln - Mark Mensch - gace so weeeping a performance that his conjuring seemed not to come from the pron department.
The Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe remains the strongest charm of this 1960s musical, which had more than the usual tryout troubles after its Tporonto opening with Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robbert Goulet. There always was too "The Once and Future King," for s single mucial.
But the spell of the Arthurian leg-end is a romantic illusion, and the whole has become a curois, touching memoir of the Kennedy administration.
Few scores begin so strongly: "I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight," "The Simpie Joys of Maldenhood" and the title song follow in immediate succession. "Before I Gaze at You Again," "If Ever I Would Leave You" and "I Loved You Once In Silence" are now classics of the period. With the addition of a harp and a harpsicord. Joanthan Anderson leads a better than usual Shady Grove orchestra.
Looking like Arthur but sounding like an exhausted frog. Hudson's performance was sportsmanlike. Best of the voices is Jerry Lanning's, fine as Lancelot. Sherry Mathis is an attractive queen. Mensch's keen ability to know how to play Merlyn sets the unreality swiftly, and for humor there is Iggie Wolfington's assured, amusing King Pellinore. Courtney Burr is striking as the evil Mordred, though he doesn't get to sing about those seven deadly virtues.