Camelot Comes to Clarksville

By Bob Bahr

Derby Dinner Playhouse will be the home for tuna, King Arthur, 14 newlyweds, a Chinese detective, a hearty frontier woman/European jetsetter and a precocious, pre-World War II Louisvillian girl in the dinner theater's 1991-92 season.

Thankfully, not all the characters listed above will be on stage at the same time. The result will be less chaotic but just as intriguing, with the emerging theme being "A Tribute to Americana."

The musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is immediately upon us, playing now through July 14. Derby Dinner claims that this performance boasts "some of the most exciting dance numbers ever staged." The comedy is based on the 1954 hit movie about seven lumberjack brothers' attempts to find wives in the Northwest wilderness of the 1850s.

"Greater Tuna" runs July 16 through August 18, and chronicles the happenings of a small Texas town. The popular Lerner and Loewe musical "Camelot" casts its charms as Indian summer comes to the area, August 20 through October 6. When this play debuted in 1960, it meshed with the mood of the country, and became linked forever with the Kennedy mystique.

"Something's Afoot" picks it up from there, with what the folks at Derby Dinner Playhouse are calling "a happy-go-lucky musical murder mystery." The whodunit in the mold of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" will be performed from October 8 to November 17. "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" sails in from November 19 to January 5, 1992. The plot has a frontier girl striking it rich and charming the elite of Europe in typical American world-beater fashion.

Former Courier-Journal theater critic Dudley Saunders' effort "Charlie Chan and the Phantom of the Opera" will command the stage from January 14 through February 23. The brand new mystery comedy features both popular and operatic music.

Skipping to April 14, Mary Phyllis Riedley's "And Where Were You, Dr. Spock?" will be adapted to the stage in the form of a musical, for a run until May 24. Her book about growing up in pre-World War II Louisville was a good seller at area bookstores last year. In the interval between "... Dr. Spock?" and "Charlie Chan" will be an as-yet-unnamed new musical comedy.