Things get complicated at the Round Table
Performing on stage and behind the scenes is all in the family for Tamalisa Carlson.
The Shingle Springs resident starred in many Christmas plays starting when she was 6 years old.
She continued acting by taking drama classes in high school while growing up in the Napa area. Carlson met her future husband, Jeremy, at Pacific Union College in Angwin in the Bay Area.
“We did Napa Valley Musical Theater and did several productions there,” said Tamalisa, now 34.
Children are performing
The couple’s two children, a son who is 8 and a daughter who will soon turn 6, have caught the acting bug, too — for the stage and behind the scenes.
“My daughter is going to be auditioning for the next Imagination Theater show ‘Little Princess,’” Carlson said. “It’ll be her first run other than doing some stuff at our church.”
Her son performed in a production of “Jungle Book” in Sacramento.
“He got to be a bee,” Carlson said. “I think he’s more into the technical backstage stuff. Stage arts is in their blood. My grandmother’s aunt did opera in Southern California. My sister wrote plays.”
The children will see their mother and father perform as Imagination Theater presents “Camelot” opening Friday, March 23. Curtain time is 7 p.m.
The musical is based on the production by Alan Jay Lerner about England’s King Arthur and Guenevere and all the pageantry of Camelot.
The story centers around the plot of an illegitimate son, Modred and his hope to gain the throne and Guenevere’s growing attachment to Sir Lancelot. These two factors threaten to topple Arthur and destroy his Round Table of knights who use their might for right.
Tamalisa will play Guenevere. Jeremy will play King Arthur. Acting for the last 28 years, she has been rehearsing at the theater and outside the theater for the last two months for this part.
“Guenevere is very impetuous,” Tamalisa said. “She’s young but she grows up throughout the play and surprisingly gets everything she wanted but it turns out not being what she really wanted.”
The final outcome of this popular musical is something Tamalisa won’t divulge. She wants El Dorado County residents to see the musical.
“Come see the show,” Carlson said.
In addition to remembering and rehearsing lines, Carlson will be singing many solos.
“Julie Andrews characterized the role,” said Carlson. Andrews won a Tony Award for her performance as Guenevere in the late 1950s. “I have some challenging songs.”
One of those songs is “The Lusty Month of May.”
“It’s about how Guenevere is looking forward to spring,” Carlson said.
The cast works very well together, Carlson said. And there’s more than 40 people on and off stage contributing their time and energy toward a splendid production.
“This is the best cast ever,” Carlson said. “So supportive, so professional. Very dedicated.”
Nick Highberger, aka Mordred
Nick Highberger, 19, will play Mordred.
Highberger is acting in his third play at Imagination Theater and was involved in acting during his four years at Golden Sierra High School. The recent graduate is playing the evil son of King Arthur.
“The way that the musical’s character came into existence was Arthur had an affair with my mother Queen Megace, who is a witch,” explained Highberger. “I was the by-product.”
Frightened by a prophecy that his kingdom would be destroyed, King Arthur had every baby born after his affair with the witch placed on a ship with no captain. Mordred was rescued and raised on a farm until he was 12 years-old.
“Then I went in search of my real mother,” Highberger said. “I lived with her for a while and learned about King Arthur. I’m an ambitious character in the sense that I don’t really care so much for revenge for what he (King Arthur) did to me. I just want to be king.”
Highberger has been spending additional time listening to Broadway recordings of “Camelot” at home.
“I’m kind of getting the ambiance of the play into my head,” explained Highberger. “I’m hearing the words, memorizing songs, memorizing lines. Once you memorize your lines, you have to create this character around the lines; how you’re going to do your body movements, your facial expressions, what your motives are. Your actions that you do on stage are relevant. You have to become that character.”
Highberger echoed the same positive vibes Tamalisa voiced regarding the cast members of “Camelot.”
“We’ve got a great cast here,” Highberger said. “The lead actors and actresses are a blast to work with. They are all talented.”
The rest of the cast is: Merlyn (Allan Fuller), Lancelot (Christopher Celestin), Pellinore (Peter Wolfe), Morgan Le Fey (Michelle Harwell), Tom of Warwick (Ryan Johnson), Sir Dinadan (Paul Sobelman), Lionel (Craig Zangari), Squire Dap (Austin Bell), Lady Anne (Elizabeth Zangari), Nimue (Haley Clark), Lady Catherine (Jan Le Pouvoir), Lady Sybil (Robin Clark), Lady Grace (Debbie Murphy), Lady Mary (Marissa Highberger), Lady Elizabeth (Stevie Sobelman), Lady Diane (Sarah Erickson), Lord Colgrevance (Phillippe Woodward), Lord Bliant (Tim Chapman), Lord Castor (Sean Widing), Knight Guilliam (Virgil Toothaker), Sir Clarius (Adam Clark), Herald 1 (Sam Murphy), Herald 2 (Liam Drennan), Page (Chris Sota) and Lord Sagiutmure (Bob Steeve).
Lanny Langston is the director of the musical. Grant Stellflug is the assistant director; Peter Wolfe, producer/set designer; Dale Wallerstein, vocal director; Jerri Myers, music director; Paula Feil, choreographer; Carol Cramer, costume designer; Nancy Christeson, box office coordinator; Adeline Penn, crew; Barbara Cameron, crew; and Dan Snow, page, priest and crew.
After opening night, Friday, March 23, the show runs every Thursday through Sunday to April 15. Weekday shows begin at 7 p.m. while weekend shows start at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the opening night show are $10 for everyone. After opening night, adult tickets are $17, seniors $14 and children $10.
For more information call the theater at 530-642-0404 or visit imagination-theater.org.