For one brief, shining moment, there was a spot called “Camelot,” but thankfully local theatergoers have got a bit longer to visit this land of chivalry at Stars.

But don't expect this to be your usual adaptation of the popular Lerner and Loewe musical. The show opening Friday at the Chester Avenue theater features a lean cast of nine, which director Cathy Henry said drew her to the project.

"I have always been interested in the Arthurian legend; there is something about knights in shining armor, romance and magic that is always intriguing," she wrote in an email. "I was particularly attracted to the small cast idea; taking a 25-30 person show and paring it down to 8-10 people is a challenge."

A smaller cast also allows the story "to focus on the relationships with Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, and on Arthur’s dream of the Round Table," Henry said.

Alex Neal plays the king, whose vision for his kingdom collapses under the weight of the love between his wife, Guevevere (Gianna De Keles), and his best knight, Lancelot (Markelle Taylor). The cast also includes Tim Adamson, Fred Cremer and Peter De Keles as knights, Jacqueline Salazar as Lady Anne, Elijah Adamson as young Tom of Warwick and Jordan Fulmer as Arthur's illegitimate son, Mordred. 

Vocal director Char Gaines said she enjoys the pared-down style and abstract set design.

"It reminds me of a traveling band of actors and actresses sharing the story in cities and towns," she wrote in an email. "Sort of like in rural America when actors would travel from town to town. Main story plot is intact. Songs are the same as the large productions, just a smaller ensemble."

Regardless of presentation, the message remains the same, Henry said.

"I think at its heart, 'Camelot' is a story about dealing with dreams that don’t always come true the way you want," Henry said. "The Round Table is a wonderful idea that falls apart because, for all their good intentions, the knights aren’t satisfied always working to do good. Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot all love each other, but in the end, they are all separated.

"It’s also about hope, that there are others who can carry on your ideas and make them work."

For her own hopes, the director would like those leaving the show to have a chance to reflect on the challenges of getting along in our modern age and leave "hoping, like Arthur, that there are still people who want to do that."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.

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