by MICHAEL YORK
You wonder what the king is doing tonight? Well, most likely,
another performance of “Camelot. Greetings from “the road” – in
this case the one that runs through storm-soaked Dallas – where I am
in the final stages of a six month tour playing King Arthur in a new, revised
of the beloved musical. We started in January and have weathered winter storms
and tropical deluges, and now here we are in the signature lusty month of May.
It has been an enjoyable, but challenging experience.
York as King Arthur in Camelot
As a fairly new American citizen I wanted to see my adopted country in all its
sea to shining sea variety, and what better way, I thought, than by headlining
in a musical that has become part of the cultural fabric. The time seemed right
too – in a world run by too many Mordreds, people needed to be reminded
of Camelot’s brief and shining moment of idealized government, where love
and honor were realities and not just cynical spin words.
As it has turned out, the sheer expense of energy demanded by eight performances
a week (and often five at the weekend), the constant traveling (on what is amusingly
called the “rest day”), plus handling all the publicity duties, has
rather blunted my ambitions for extra-curricular activities. Much time has been
spent in enforced resting in order to maximize showtime energy. But the positive
audience response everywhere has made this more than worthwhile.
There have been many other pleasures and I have amassed some outstanding memories,
many that thankfully I have been able to share with my wife, Pat, who has accompanied
me whenever her own work allowed. They include vistas of upstate New York blanketed
in picture-postcard snow; the brand new sculpture garden in Seattle; the muddy
river torrenting through Greenville, S. Carolina where the Governor’s School
for the Arts impressed with its new campus; a preview of the marvelous new gallery
installations, opening later this year, at the Detroit Institute for the Arts;
Chicago blooming with brio and tulips and its bravura new Millennium Park, with
its stunning Peninsula Hotel providing a sybaritic home-from-home; some welcome
repose in the Ritz Carlton Spa in Orlando and, all across the country, equally
welcome manna from Whole Foods stores that now seem as ubiquitous as Starbucks.
And all along the way I have benefited from the sheer kindness of strangers.
Some odd things have also been observed. Why is cheese now dumped on everything – even
seafood - and ice automatically served with water in rooms made arctic by air-conditioning?
Why so much unhealthy and expensive cooling? I have now become an expert on hotel
rooms where the simplest things – bright bedside lamps and hooks on doors,
for example, represent true luxury, meriting whole extra stars.
The passing months have been marked by the birthday cakes, served at intermission,
of our talented and dedicated company, my cherished extended family. One
actor claimed he was asked by a chambermaid, “Do you want your room done?
Or are you just show folk?” After this experience on tour, I’m even
more proud to be counted in that number, and very much look forward to granting
audience to further audiences in our remaining city venues – Philadelphia,
Fort Lauderdale, Toronto, Washington and Pittsburgh. No RSVP necessary!
Here are the locations where "Camelot" will be playing
in the upcoming weeks:
5 -10 June Merriam Theatre, Philadelphi, PA
12 -24 June Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
27 -30 June Hummingbird Centre, Toronto, ONT
10 -15 July Wolf Trap, VA
17 -22 July Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, PA