with Norah Long
Chanhassen Theatres, directed by Michael Brindisi
A companion snuffled back tears as she asked on the way out of Chanhassen Theatre's opening of "Camelot" on Friday night: "Where did they get that guy?" Not a theater regular, she can be forgiven for not recognizing Steve Hendrickson, who has practiced his craft on many Twin Cities stages. But her curiosity spoke for the many patrons who had moments earlier jumped to their feet to applaud Hendrickson's brilliant portrayal of the complex, tormented King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's musical meditation on chivalry, love, idealistic peace and above all, nobility.
...It is that essential decency in Hendrickson's Arthur that explains the moist cheeks in the theater; he is a forgiving man who perseveres through life's depredations and never gives in to the dark side, even when his wife and best friend abandon him.
...Which gets us back to Hendrickson's poignant, vulnerable performance as a tragic and reluctant hero who wished only to love his wife and make peace. It’s enough to make one weep.
Steve Hendrickson plays King Arthur, and after seeing decades of miscellaneous hams and hacks roiling this role, it's nothing short of astonishing to see what an actor of merit can do with it.
... It needs the ring of truth and the solid sound of sincerity, and Hendrickson has all of that and more. When he delivers a monologue at the end of act one in which he agonizes over the relationship between his wife and his best friend, it's a throat-tightening, spine-tingling moment.
Michael Brindisi directs a superbly insightful Camelot, set against the rough landscape of history, at Chanhassen Theatres, with Steve Hendrickson and Norah Long as a superbly matched Arthur and Guinevere.