Q&A - Savannah Stevenson (London Musical Theatre Orchestra's Camelot)

Having recently impressed audiences with their concert productions of musicals such as Martin Smith’s King in Concert and Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas, London Musical Theatre Orchestra will perform Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot in a one-off concert at the world famous London Palladium.

Ahead of the concert I spoke to musical theatre star Savannah Stevenson, who will play Guenevere, about her love of musical theatre, her stance on revivals verses new work, and how she caught the performing bug.

How did you discover your love of musical theatre and decide that you wanted to pursue it as a career?
I grew up watching movie musicals, listening to old soundtracks in the car with my parents. I started to take dancing lessons at a young age and just caught the performing bug really. I knew at quite a young age that I wanted to pursue it as a career, in my teens really. I had great teachers who encouraged me and that led the way to auditioning for drama school.

Were you a fan of Camelot before being cast?
I knew the album. I knew the Julie Andrews connection to it. So I had a good idea of the score and the gorgeous melodies, but largely the book is completely new to me.

How does the role of Guenevere compare to other roles you have played in the past?
Guenevere is a beautifully flawed character. She’s fun and vivacious but is plagued by the love she has for Lancelot and Arthur as her husband. We’ve been very careful in this production to give her a more modern and relevant place in the show. She has to be strong and we’ve had permission from the estate to shape some of her material to bring out that strength and a broader journey for her.

How do you adapt your performance when singing in a concert as opposed to performing in a fully staged musical?
I don’t adapt much. You still want to bring the same preparation, the same intention. The difference is you don’t have much staging in which to convey that. It’s all in the script and score and you have to trust the text that everything the audience needs is there.

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra often performs concert versions of lesser known and infrequently staged musicals. Are there any other musicals which you think could benefit from being rediscovered?
I think there is room and need to both rediscover classics and support new writing. The LMTO does both so beautifully and I love that. The Music Man isn’t often done over here. Perhaps that?

It seems that people often used to discover musical theatre through classic movie musicals and the mega musicals of the 80s, but increasingly new musicals are achieving popularity and mainstream appeal at a much faster rate. Do you think there is still room for revivals of older musicals in this sort of environment?
Of course. New work emerges on the shoulders of classics. It’s all about building and then creating something new. There is room for all and I don’t think we should neglect older musicals. Many still have much relevance and beautiful melodies. I don’t think audiences should have to choose. Both are important.

Savannah Stevenson will star as Guenevere in London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s concert version of Lerner and Loewe’s Tony award-winning Camelot at The London Palladium from 7.30pm on Saturday 6th October. For tickets go to: www.lmto.org/whats-on/camelot