Allowing you to exonerate Camelot the exhausting story behind a Broadway original? The short version goes like this: The show – a musical adaptation of TH White’s The Once and Future King
about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, written by a lyricist Writer Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe (formerly Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and Gigi) – has been bothering me. Despite the brilliance of actors such as Richard Burton as Arthur, Julie Andrews as Arthur, Julie Andrews as his French bride Guinevere and Robert Goulet as dashing Lancelot, it Still in 1963 to medium rating, need to be in The Ed Sullivan Show has a dedicated segment (originally to celebrate My Fair Lady’s five years on Broadway) to rock its ticket sales. It’s not the music’s fault, it’s charming when it’s not staggeringly rich; the problem is the bloated book – half medieval pseudo-history, half romantic drama, with some magic thrown in just to fun. According to the New York Times, the work “moves uncomfortably between light-hearted fantasy and unaltered reality” and ends up going nowhere.
all the same, it closed almost a year later, in January 1960, Camelot‘s own saga is all the more glamorous with the support of the recently widowed Jacqueline Kennedy. With her eye on the portrait of a man determined to create a more dignified and just society, she spends the remainder of her time integrating the show’s ideals into the brief but glamorous Kennedy administration. (In Pablo Larraín’s 1963 film Jackie, the sequence of Burton’s “Finale Ultimo” fits perfectly into the already Unstoppable Mica Levi score.)
Some of this history is closely tied to the current revival of the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, with Andrew Burnap,
Hamilton ) Philippa Soo and Jordan Donica play the central trio, with Aaron Sorkin rewriting the book. (Bartlett Sher, who directed a fantastic production of The King and I and My Fair Lady at the same theater, directed.) So Erkin’s script strips away the magical element, emphasizing the reality that the rich are glaring at the country “changing too fast” – even without much working evidence, Arthur’s vision of Britain is informed by justice and Civilization rather than bloodshed becomes more rhetorical than actual action. (After all, as Arthur has reminded us on more than one occasion, the show’s unrealistic titular numbers—which Guenevere slyly calls “stupid songs about the weather”—are just a metaphor.)
The result is not perfect; the 90 minutes of the first act don’t fly by. Still, the word “amazing” popped up a dozen times in my notebook. (Also a single, enigmatic “wow.”) On a strictly aesthetic basis – theater is a visual medium, the reader – the Camelot is a miracle. Its stunningly elegant set, framed by soaring arches, is animated by painting projections (Michael Yeargan handles the former and 30 Productions, the latter), Actually making me gasp. Sher’s direction is vibrant, especially in the second act where Kimberly Grigsby conducts the 30-piece orchestra with deftness and joy .
Actors also win: Burnap (The Inheritance) is very likable , as King Arthur was eager but hopelessly insecure, still not sure how he managed to wrest that famous sword from the stone (Guenevere muses, this 9, 1961 Did someone else just loosen it for him?) but intended to use his “power of right”. Soo’s Guenevere is regal and rugged, with her long, loose hair and gorgeous costumes (designed by Jennifer Moeller) as alluring as her beautiful soprano voice. However, as the Frenchman Lancelot, who arrives in Camelot as a quasi-knight before falling in love with Guenevere, Donica—Freddy of Sher in My Fair Lady— is outstanding, alternately hammy (see: “C’est Moi” in Act I) and deeply romantic (see: “If ever I Would Leave You” and “I Loved You Once in Silence” in Act II).