I became Associate Conductor of CAMELOT, starring Robert Goulet, as it closed on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre and headed out on its Farewell Tour.
Robert Goulet was easily the best thing about the production, towering over it like a giant. I found his acting of the role of King Arthur to be first-rate, effortless, charming and admirably economical – a role that easily slips into pompous-self-righteous-hero land, rather than the idealist confronting the limitations of human nature.
This tour was the Last of the Mohicans – the last production I did to pick up a full compliment of 24 musicians in each city, combined with the drummer and me on the keyboard, for the once-standard pit orchestra of 26.
I’ve always considered the conductor to be the personal representative of the composer (alive or dead), and having grown up on the glorious original cast album, it was an honor and thrill to stand before the orchestra and company and conduct Frederick Loewe’s sumptuous score in its original orchestration by the legendary Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang. And I’ll always treasure the memory of Robert Goulet’s warm and enthusiastic response to my conducting.
In his dressing room, he would tell me Judy Garland stories. I thought he was a great guy, on top of being a superior talent, and I’m forever grateful that I had this brush with the Golden Age of Broadway.