President John F. Kennedy — who happened to be a classmate of Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the show — and his wife Jacqueline used to like to listen to the Broadway cast recording of Camelot at bedtime. Kennedy said that his favorite part was the closing charge by Arthur to a young boy, to tell the story of his attempt to establish a just society.
Columbus loves that Arthur emphasized the power and importance of storytelling — which is, after all, what theater does — to perpetuate values.
"In our culture, we tend not to tell stories like this directly," he says. "We tend to either ironize them or marginalize them or wink at them. I’m so exhausted after the last several years of lies, of people telling lies to us as though they are true, and the fact that mediated culture is so filled with cynicism and negativity about human nature. It might be nice to hear something about how we are a species worth saving.
"It would be nice to give a new generation a Camelot they can believe in," the director declares. "That’s what we’re doing."
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