The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park (pictured), home of the New Shakespeare Company, has announced its new summer repertory season, running from 31 May to 11 September 2004, which will feature a major revival of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot. As usual, the musical will be joined in repertory by two Shakespeare productions - this year, Henry IV Part 1 and perennial park favourite, A Midsummer Night's Dream - and a play for children.

Based on T H White’s novel The Once and Future King, Camelot retells the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, whose hopes for a peaceful society were destroyed by the love triangle between Arthur, his queen Guinevere and the Gallic knight Lancelot.

A follow-up to their hit My Fair Lady, the new musical, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, opened in 1960 on Broadway, where it starred Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet. In the 1967 film version, Vanessa Redgrave played Guinevere to Richard Harris’ Arthur, a part he recreated many times on stage.

Full casting for the Open Air revival of Camelot has not yet been announced, though the part of Sir Pellinore will be played by Russ Abbot, who was recently seen in the West End revival of My Fair Lady and is now starring in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for which he’s been nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award. (Click here to vote!)

Camelot opens on 23 July 2004 (previews from 20 July) and continues until 4 September. It’s directed by Open Air artistic director Ian Talbot and designed by Paul Farnsworth.

The summer season opens with Alan Strachan’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1, running from 7 June to 11 September (previews 31 May), which is joined in repertory from 11 June to 8 September (previews 2 June) by Talbot’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which Abbot will play Bottom.

This year’s children’s show will be David Conville and David Gooderson’s adaptation of the classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Directed by Laura Baggeley, with music by Carl Davis, it runs in rep from 27 July to 21 August 2004.

- by Terri Paddock