Studio Tenn 2022 Camelot

Studio Tenn Theatre Company announced Philip William McKinley as the special guest director for its early May production of Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot.

The performances are scheduled to run in The Factory at Franklin’s Jamison Theater from May 5 through May 15. McKinley is set to direct the classic work with Studio Tenn’s nine-person cast. The paradigmatic play is a renowned stage and silver screen production.

McKinley is a prolific Broadway director with record-breaking productions under his belt from Broadway to Salzburg to Tokyo. He directed Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark with music by Bono and The Edge, and the production remains one of the top-20 box-office grossing shows in Broadway history. He is also known as the director who brought Stephen MacLean’s jukebox musical The Boy from Oz to Broadway in 2003, starring Hugh Jackman. The production received five Tony nominations.

“Directing Camelot for Studio Tenn has given me the wonderful opportunity to return to the theater after two years of COVID exile,” McKinley said in a press release from the theatre company. “This reimagined and reinvented production will give audiences the opportunity to rediscover this classic musical from the golden age of Broadway, rarely produced by contemporary theater companies.”

Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot is infamously lorded over Broadway in the 1960s and led to a film adaptation as well as several revivals in New York, London and worldwide. The production’s soundtrack topped charts for 60 weeks according to the release.

The play depicts young King Arthur endeavoring to build the so-called Knights of the Round Table on whose shoulders he establishes a kingdom that privileges honor and dignity, yet his Queen Guenevere falls for Lancelot, one of the knights.

McKinley is also credited for the revival of The Most Happy Fella, starring Paul Sorvino at the New York City Opera; the hip comedy THWAK, nominated by Drama Desk and Zombie Prom, a cult Off-Broadway musical.

“These are the opportunities we dream about, bringing Broadway directors such as Phil McKinley to Middle Tennessee to lead an incredibly talented cast and crew,” said Patrick Cassidy, artistic director at Studio Tenn. “His interest in Studio Tenn demonstrates just how fortunate we are to have arts of this quality in our community.”

The cast brings substantial talent to the stage. Steffanie Leigh — who starred as the titular character in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins and as Liane d’Exelmans in Gigi — will play Guenevere. Brian Gligor — who played Mark in national and Japanese tours of Rent and taught graduate movement for actors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as an artist in residence at the Clarence Brown Theatre — will play Arthur.

The professional, Franklin-based regional theatre company — now 12 years old — recently raised $225,000 with the help of 275 guests at this year’s One Night Only annual fundraising gala, which was the first return of One Night Only since the start of the pandemic. The last two consecutive iterations were cancelled.