It is almost certain that, in the next few years, Broadway will mount a re-staging of the Broadway musical Camelot, probably with an all-black cast.
This will happen regardless of the election results. If Obama wins, it's an echo of the Kennedy era. If he loses it's in keeping with the play's actual plot, which is that Camelot is destroyed.
How do I know? This is how Broadway rolls. They reprise musicals 50 years after their opening. Kiss Me Kate re-opened in 1999, The Pajama Game in 2005. Camelot, which first opened in 1960, is due.
That's sort of forgotten these days because, in its first run, Julie Andrews took it over. It was all about the singing. She was a marvelous singer. But at that time, she wasn't a great actress. She wasn't ready to play the villain.
That's what Guenevere is, the villain. And that's what she will be when the play is re-staged.
Why an all-black cast? Because, frankly, there are more really talented black folks ready to grab these parts right now than white ones. (Brian Stokes Mitchell doesn't count. He's played both Coalhouse Walker, a black man in Ragtime, as well as The Man of La Mancha and the lead in that Kiss Me Kate I mentioned earlier. If you want to re-do Flower Drum Song I'm sure he'd be great.)
Rather than concern ourselves with the details of the re-staging (what might be added, or dropped, what might the costumes look like, or the staging) it's far more fun to play that great Hollywood Game -- I wanted, I'd take, I got.
As in I wanted Laurence Olivier, I'd take Dick Van Dyke, I got Dom DeLuise. Only to make this game even more sporting, let's play it this way. Who plays the role on Broadway, who gets it in the Hollywood motion picture, and who goes about touring it in the sticks?
The next Arthur should be a good actor, with a fair voice, and a stage presence to beat the band. Fortunately we're filled with such men. Here's my take, and you can put yours in the comments:
- On Broadway, Laurence Fishburne.
- In the movie (who else) Denzel Washington.
- On the road, Steve Harvey.
You will notice that my Arthur is, in the movie version, twice the age of my Guenevere. I know how these boys think. On to Lancelot. In this version smoother, more sure of himself, maybe aiming for the power and not just the girl, y'know?
- On Broadway, Taye Diggs. He can dance rings around Fishburne, and Broadway loves dancers.
- In the movie, Usher. Movies require more stillness, more singing. Usher it is.
- On the road, Young Jeezy. Certainly a departure, but I'm the producer and this is who I got.