Theatre Under the Stars
Frank M. Young, President / C.E.O.
John C. Breckenridge, Producer

Presents


CAMELOT



Mordred (Michael Goulet) and the Knights in the musical number, "Fie On Goodness"


Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe


CAST OF CHARACTERS


Robert Goulet................................King Arthur
Patricia Kies...................................Guenevere
Burke Moses..................................Lancelot
Michael Goulet...............................Mordred
James Valentine..............................Pellinore / Merlyn
Sir Dinadan......................................Richard Smith
Sir Lionel..........................................James Scott Harrison
Nimue...............................................Pippa Winslow
Sir Sagramore..................................Andy McAvin

Musical Director and Conductor...........John Visser
Director and Choreographer...................Norb Joerder


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CAMELOT

On the eve of his wedding, King Arthur awaits the arrival of his bride, Guenevere, as his magician teacher, Merlyn calms his fears. Guenevere rushes in, hiding from her companions, and unknowingly meets Arthur, who introduces himself by his nickname and tries to persuade her to stay in Camelot. When she discovers Arthur's
true identity, she consents. Nimue, a nymph, lures Merlyn away, and Arthur is left to be his own man.

In a few years Arthur has created a new, civilized government in Camelot, extolling "might for right" and presided over by the Knights of the Round Table. A gallant French knight named Lancelot joins them, but his righteous attitude alienates all the court except Arthur. Challenged to jousts, Lancelot defeats Arthur's three best knights. He slays Sir Lionel, but through his intense faith, miraculously brings him back to life. The court is awe-struck, and Guenevere's dislike of Lancelot turns to love. Struggling with their love for each other and for Arthur, who, unknown to either, is aware of their feelings.

Now Arthur's illegitimate son, Mordred, schemes to destroy his father and usurp the throne by exposing their romance. Lancelot escapes to France, but Guenevere is tried for treason and sentenced to death. Can Arthur let his beloved queen die? Does Lancelot know what terrible events are taking place in his absence? What will become of the noble Kingdom of Camelot?

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My father Rodin, and my mother Portia loved the musical Camelot so much, that as a child, I remember listening to the LP album over and over and over again. The beautiful music would be played so many times that the album covers would start to come apart due to the constant wear and tear.

Seeing Robert Goulet perform the role of King Arthur is a dream come true for my father. Being able to view the majestic royalty of King Arthur and the courageous chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table made him relive the not-so-distant past. My father would remember trivial things about Camelot during the time, not so long ago. Trivial things such as, "Originally, the story goes that the evil son of King Arthur, Mordred tried to kill his father to try to make his inheritance come faster." Or memories like, "Vanessa Redgrave who played Guenevere, and Franco Nero, who played Lancelot had a love affair during the making of the movie. Their union was so torrid, that they produced a love child. Historically, that's how the story goes."

Whether or not these stories are true, they sure make for great, juicy, tragic and romantic love stories. And that is what fascinated me about Camelot. I saw the movie for the first time two weeks ago and have seen it about ten times since. And seeing the Grand Mystical Musical Onstage with Robert Goulet as King Arthur and Michael Goulet playing the part of Mordred the evil son, revealed to me was that even though the characters painted a clearly perfect picture, they were all very human. Their words and deeds exposed their flaws and simple foibles. Much like us in our normal everyday life as it is today.

-----Theresa Hyde
July 23, 1998
Theresa@houstontheatre.com

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Michael Goulet



Interview with Michael Goulet
The Evil Son Mordred in CAMELOT

July 23, 1998
by Theresa Hyde
Theresa@houstontheatre.com


Michael Goulet is the one of three children of Robert Goulet. He was born in 1966 to Robert Goulet's second wife, Carol Lawrence. He has been performing professionally since the age of seventeen in stage productions and musical groups, including national tours of Camelot, South Pacific and Man of La Mancha. Among his favorite roles are Lancelot in Camelot and Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun. In TUTS' 1998 production of Camelot, Michael plays the evil son, Mordred.

Theresa: What's so intriguing about Camelot is that Arthur, the King asks the same question to Merlyn in the beginning of the movie and also, at the very end of the movie, "How did I blunder into this Agonizing Absurdity? How did it happen? Where did I go wrong?" And it seems as if this mystery is never solved. And that's what audiences find so mysterious and intriguing about it. Have you seen the movie?
Michael: No, I haven't. I've never had a chance to. I've caught like bits and pieces of it, on cable and stuff, but I've never seen the movie.

Theresa: The reason I asked to interview you is that, I felt that Mordred, King Arthur's son was the key to the future of Camelot. But the King didn't really recognize that fact. He tried to forget that he had a son.......
Michael: (laughs) Right.

Theresa: And Mordred is the rightful heir to the throne.
Michael: In a way. In his mind he is. Certainly.

Theresa: Why did you choose to play Mordred?
Michael: Well, I thought it'd be a lot of fun. They asked me to do Lancelot, at first. And actually pretty much insisted on that. And it took a lot of convincing for me to get the other parties........I mean it's not that Lancelot's a bad part, but I think it's a little strange doing it with my dad.

Theresa: It is, isn't it? (laughs)
Michael: It invites a little too much comparison, I think. I don't think there's anybody that would, I mean no matter how good I am in that part, nobody's gonna say that I was as good as my dad doing it. And that might end up hurting the show. If I'm doing that part, you know. And we look too much alike. If I'm out there as Lancelot, you know people are always telling me, "Oh, you look just like your dad."

Theresa: You look just like your dad.......
Michael: Everybody looks just like their dad to a point. But I mean, it's more.......in people's faces. It's more obvious, in my case. You know, and so it'd be strange if I looked more like the King than Mordred did.

Theresa: Oh, it'd be perfect for you to play Mordred.
Michael: Yeah, well that's what I thought, too. It's a different part for me, it's not really a singing part at all, which is what I usually do. That's more my thing, I'm more of a Singer first, and Acting just kinda comes after that.

Theresa: The decision to be a part of this play, was it something that you decided to do, or did your dad feel that this was an opportunity.........
Michael: My dad told me, you know, that he was planning on doing it. And he wanted me to, if I wanted to do it, to go down and audition, he told me about, you know, he'd like me to do Lance. And I said, if I'm gonna do it, why don't I do Mordred? Well, he says, "I don't think you should do that.....he's supposed to be a little guy!"
You know, this is the typical stereotype. It's like, you'll never do Cable in South Pacific because you're not blonde! People get so closed minded. Casting directors get so closed minded about parts, they figure whoever's done it before is the only type of person that can ever do it again. And they really have a hard time looking at it. So, I had to really go in and pretty much convince our Casting Director and convince the Producer about it. Sort of hit them
over the head with it. Just make them see how it worked. And yeah, it's a little different. It's a bit different for me doing the part, obviously, I'm not the type that's typically done it. I think it works for him to be a little strong, a little bit more threatening, bigger.

Theresa: Is this the way you normally look, I mean did you have to grow the beard?
Michael: No, I have this. Actually, I've had the beard since we did Camelot last time, four years ago. Just kinda kept it, I like it better.

Theresa: Another reason that I wanted to interview Mordred was because, not only was he deliciously wicked, he didn't try to hide it. Everyone had a little bit of evil within them, King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot.......
Michael: Especially Guenevere and Lancelot are not perfect people. To Mordred, I think, the way that he is to me is that, he doesn't really consider himself to be that bad a person. He just wants what's coming to him. And he doesn't have the morals that Arthur does or that Lance does.

Theresa: Well, you know, King Arthur just.......conveniently forgets that he has a son.......
Michael: (laughs) I think he wanted to forget. There's a lot of people like that, you may have a mistake, and you may wanna continue.......

Theresa: In the movie, he searches for the answer to his question, and he asks Merlyn. I felt that in the process, King Arthur forgets two things: First, he tries to forget that he has a son, who is the rightful heir to the throne. And second, he forgets to Think. Merlin would always tell him, "Think, Arthur. Think. Think back." Merlin reasons that Love is what you do when you're not Thinking. But, Arthur loved Guenevere so much, he loved and loved and loved her, that he forgets to Think more. You know, he turns into this hawk, and he comes back to the forest, and who is there to greet him? Mordred, his son. Like, Merlyn is trying to give him the Answer, right there. So I felt that Mordred is the key. He is the answer to the question. And that Arthur just refuses to recognize and accept that.

And what I Lerner, from Mr. Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the book, was that, in writing the characters for Camelot, he had to create them so that the audience will start to feel for them in a certain way. He would weave the story so that the audiences' emotions are swayed to fall in love with Lancelot, Guenevere, and Arthur.
He made them seem so glamorous, and regal, he gave them these beautiful songs to sing......

Michael: Sure, sure, sure. It leaves all the evilness........the only antagonist is Mordred.
Theresa: They give him the most dreadful name, Mordred. And he doesn't even have much of a song........
Michael: And the song in this show as well, it's not really much of a singer's song. And the way I'm doing it in this one, our musical director said, "Let's just, you know, SPEAK through the middle part." And it's not arranged, it's like 3 notes or something. It's not exactly done for a great singer. Cause you know, it would have been a better written song. And he was still like struggling to get it out. But, that's not his strong point, his strong point is being an Actor.

Theresa: So, I felt that this is what solved the mystery. That Mordred was the key to the future of Camelot. So, you must promise me this. To ensure the future of Camelot, Michael Goulet, you must promise me, that one day you will be King.
Michael: That would be fun. I wouldn't mind that. That's the greatest, that's the best part. Obviously, the best part in the whole show. He's really the focus of the whole show. And when you watch it, Lance is only out there for not a very long time. I'm onstage for maybe, ten minutes. And really all that, except for about three seconds, is in the second act. That's when all the conflict arises, in the second act. It's not like it's a big part, but it's an important one because without that, there's no place for the story to turn.

Theresa: The way it's just done, it's just magnificent. It makes a great story and a great play.
Michael: It is a great conflict. It's all that. It really does add up.

Theresa: That's what makes the show so mysterious and intriguing. And with all the romantic, beautiful songs, I really admire everything about it.......
Michael: It's such a classic show. It's a great show.

Theresa: It's almost like a soap opera, and you try to relate it in today's terms. It happens all the time, you know, people make mistakes and people forget........
Michael: And people change their allegiances, and change their ideas about, who they wanna love and what they find important in life. It's strange to me, in ways......you could kinda look at Lance as being just as bad as Mordred, in that he professes to be such a good person, and then turns around and stabs his best friend in the back and tries to steal his wife.

Theresa: What's the hardest part of doing Mordred?
Michael: This is not really a hard part for me, cause I'm only out there for a little bit. But sitting around waiting, is the hardest part.

Theresa: (laughs) You mean just trying to get on?
Michael: Well, yeah, cause you just you wait through the whole first act. You know, I'm in costume and I have to go out reveal myself behind the scrim right in the 3rd scene of Act I. And then you just kinda sit around for like an hour and a half. And waiting and waiting, and I'm at the point right where I can just kick back and read a book, and I'm still, still a little bit nervous about it. Making sure everything's right.

Theresa: And you've played Lancelot.
Michael: Yeah, I played Lancelot in L.A. with the Culver City Civic Light Opera. That was a lot of fun. That was neat. It was a good production of it. It wasn't a huge thing. It wasn't a big deal like this is. But it was nice doing it. It was kinda nice to say that I've done it. Sort of, get it out of the way.

Theresa: How old were you?
Michael: Oh, this was just two years ago.

Theresa: So, you sang the parts and did everything.......
Michael: That's more my strong point. I'd say my strongest is that I'm a singer first, and then I'm working on everything else. I'm just lucky to have a strong voice. That naturally comes first.

Theresa: Do you sound like your father?
Michael: Yeah, yeah, to a point.

Theresa: That must be eerie.......
Michael: Yeah, I can.....I can copy him pretty well, if I want to. But I don't always. I don't try to do that, I don't try to sound just like him all the time, unless I wanna freak people out. You know, come up behind him and do something with his voice. That's why I thought this might work. I don't think anybody has ever........any father-son has ever done these parts.

Theresa: What was it like when your father found out that you are gonna be in the play?
Michael: He was a little curious about how it would work out, but he, you know he just sort of let me go at it as I wanted to.
Theresa: How long have you been working with this production of Camelot?
Michael: Just the last couple of weeks. We started two nights ago, actually for real performances in front of an audience.
Theresa: So, this is like, your third show.

Cissy Segall: They rehearsed for two weeks. (Cissy Segall is TUTS Managing Director of Marketing).
Michael: Yeah, exactly. And our official Opening was really, Tuesday. I always think that Tuesday as the first day of the week. So, it's kinda like that. And the show, I mean there's really no difference with what you see tonight and what you see going on Tuesday. There maybe a couple of technical things or so getting ironed out
but, I mean the acting and the costumes, everything's all the same.

Cissy Segall: It's not a new show. I mean, with new shows, you see something different every night.
Michael: Yeah (laughs). Once we got things on here on the set, I mean we had to change things because we were rehearsing in the small rehearsal hall. And once we got up on the set, we went like, this doesn't work and that doesn't work, we had to change positioning with, you know, the sets coming in and out and stuff. But that's just technical stuff, really. Nothing really has changed through what we were doing all through rehearsal. Which is nice, 'cause that means less people get into it, they don't throw things at you at the last minute, "Oh, you know what, I'd rather have you do something completely different." Norb (Joerder, the Director), he's not like that at all, which is nice. He's a good person to work with.

Theresa: So, is this the biggest show you've ever done?
Michael: On par, yeah. With a lot of the other work that I've done. I've done a couple of national tours, which this is going on tour, after we get done here, these gigs sorta fell together at the same time. We're going to Atlanta next. We have a week off after we're done here. And then we go to Atlanta with a few different people but almost the same, almost the whole same cast.

Theresa: What was it like growing up as Robert Goulet's son?
Michael: You know what, when I was a little kid it was really.........To me, I didn't perceive myself as having a different life than anybody else that I knew. You know, that's just what my parents did, my parents working onstage, acting. But, I mean, it took awhile to realize how famous they actually were. Like, you know, people would come up to me and say, "Oh, you're dad's great, oh, your mom's great." And I'd go, "Well that's nice, but what are they gonna say?" They're not gonna come and say they were lousy or something, so I figured people like to compliment you and stuff. But I didn't realize to the extent that people knew them. It took awhile for it to creep up on me. It's like not seeing the forest before the trees, that kinda thing.

Theresa: And you saw your dad on TV. What was that like?
Michael: That's neat. He hasn't done a whole lot of TV. But, you know he's done some stuff that's great. Like, a buddy of mine was telling me that Big Valley was on the other day, the episode that he was on in that which is actually one of the best things that he's done, Acting-wise.


Theresa: So, tell us about your past background......
Michael: I've played in bands since I was twelve. I've been playing professionally, been making money since I was seventeen. That's when I started singing as well, which just came about. I was playing in the band with my brother, and he left the band. And he was singing pretty much everything, so everybody turned to me, "Now, you sing." I had no idea that I could sing. I had no idea. It wasn't something that I was really interested in. It was just something where they needed a singer, and I guess it was me.

Theresa: So, like your dad, your real forte is Singing....
Michael: Yeah, oh yeah. That was my thing. I used to, I mean, really started off just singing. Well, I started singing when I was seventeen. I've been playing music for five years before that.
Theresa: What instrument?
Michael: Base. And it turned out, after a couple of years, after taking lessons, that I ended up a better singer, than a base player. I haven't had a gig playing base in over the last four years.

So, I played bands for a long time before I ever got into Musical Theatre. The first real job I had Musical Theatre was doing Camelot four years ago with my dad 'cause they needed to replace somebody right away. They were in Los Angeles, which is where I live. I was just in the Chorus in that one. But that's actually the first real show, the first equity show that I did. And that was a little more than four years ago.

Theresa: What kind of music do you play?
Michael: Jazz, Rock and Roll. I've been in a lot of different bands, Heavy Metal bands. Basic Rock stuff, pop stuff. All over. I worked out in L.A.

Theresa: Were you born in Canada?
Michael: No, I was born in Los Angeles. And my dad was born in the U.S., as well, he was born in Lawrence, Mass. And a lot of people think he's a Canadian citizen, cause he got his start in Toronto, in TV up there, and then came back down to New York. But he was born in Lawrence Mass, and lived there.

Theresa: Growing up as a kid, did you get a chance to meet some famous people?
Michael: I got to meet people like Sammy Davis, Jr., he's a fantastic guy. Frank Sinatra. People that my dad worked with, Norm Crosby. Tons of people. A lot of Vegas people.

Theresa: And your dad's a Vegas Headliner.........
Michael: Yeah, he worked in Vegas for years and years and years. He worked at the Frontier for just, forever, it seemed when I was a kid, we were always backstage.......

Theresa: Was Vegas like a playground for you?
Michael: Me and my brother used to run around backstage, and you know, get in trouble, more or less. It's kinda fun. It was a normal thing for us, it didn't seem like it was a big deal hanging out back there. It was just part of what our life was, our parent's life was.

Theresa: How did your dad influence you as a performer?
Michael: He's always been very supportive about it. But he's never pushed me into doing anything. It's always been my decision. I mean, he's helped me out certainly with different things, I'm out performing with him in other shows. He didn't really push me or tell me not to, either. Pretty much left it up to my own decision.

Theresa: And you're very handsome, you look just like Robert Goulet, your father the King.
Cissy Segall: He looks just like his mother, too. His mother's very pretty.

Theresa: Other than your father, who influenced as an artist?
Michael: Oh my mom, certainly. But, I mean, there's so many influences. You go through music, just about anybody you listen to becomes an influence in one way or another, whether you like them or whether you don't. You sort of pick up little things back and forth. But, just playing music, playing in bands, playing instruments, that really helped me be a better musician. There's a lot of times, you get singers that don't really understand music as well as somebody that's been in a band and played behind singers. Kinda gives you a better perspective on it.

Theresa: And your mom, Carol Lawrence is a singer.......
Michael: Yeah, singer, dancer, actress. She's in the original West Side Story, she's Maria, she's done Broadway. She's still working. Broadway, TV, Vegas, all sorts of stuff.

Theresa: Who are your most favorite actors? Who do you look up to?
Michael: Oh, good question. There's so many good people. Probably the best, Lawrence Olivier. One of the best actors I've ever seen. The most versatile, the most real "actor." I mean, there's guys that work really well, but you see him do the same character over and over. Like, you see Gene Hackman do the same part over and over again. Not that that's bad, it works really well for him, and he's been really successful. I mean, Lawrence Olivier, who can take on any role, and really make it perfect. And you know anything from Richard III, to doing The Performer, to do Comedy, to doing Clash of the Titans, anything, you know. A guy like that is really special, there's not too many people like him. There's a few people nowadays like, Ray Fiennes is a brilliant actor as well. He's very much like that, he can take on anything. There's a lot more personalities than really good actors.

Theresa: Would you rather go into the singing or the acting?
Michael: I'd rather work (laughs). If somebody wants to give me a job acting, I'll be happy to do that as well, I feel more comfortable, I guess, being a singer. Because I've done more of that.

Theresa: What qualities do you look for when you're watching somebody perform?
Michael: Talent, really. And charisma as well, and how they come across to the audience, how they try to bring an emotional response out of the audience. They're don't just stand up there and sort of just sing or sort of talk. You have to really bring something more to it than just sort of doing the part.

And Intensity. The Intensity of someone. You know, how they can really get that across to the audience. That's what makes the difference between somebody who's good and somebody who's just out there being competent.

Theresa: So, you've been in Houston for a couple of weeks now? How do you like it?
Michael: It's hot. It's a nice town, considering it's the fourth largest city in the U.S. I was here four years ago for about a week. We just stayed downtown,and we did Camelot at the Music Center. It's a nice place, and it's not crowded. A little warm, but every place is this year.

Theresa: It's incredibly hot. You know, like Camelot, we have a law on the weather here also. Law says that it's just gonna be hot as hell today.
Michael: The humidity gets a little bit.......that kills me. But it's a nice place. Seems like there's quite a bit of theatre going on in here. Certainly been more than what's going on in L.A. That's what really bugs me about that town.

Theresa: Really?
Michael: Well, there's a lot of TV work, and a lot of that, but there's really no Theatre done for Theatre's sake. There's theatre done for auditions so people can get, you know, someone to come and see them to get them a job on TV. But hardly anyone does theatre there because they like to do it. You kow? To me it's much more challenging to go out there and do eight shows a week and to be up for every one, rather than just, you know, "Okay, we'll let's do another take! And see if you get it right this time." Being in front of the camera, it's a little more lax. It's an entirely different way of acting, too. But you know, it's tough getting yourself up eight times a week, to do something, to do a big high energy part.


Michael Goulet