In their interviews with the press, the cast of the new Broadway revival of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot wanted to make it clear: This production is funny, sexy, and magical. But at it's core, it's about some big themes. Bartlett Sher helms the new version of the Golden Age muscal, featuring a new book by To Kill a Mockingbird playwright and The West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin, based on Lerner's script. In speaking about what draws him to the musical, Sorkin shared, "I love that it's aspirational, and romantic, and idealistic."
Sorkin's revisions have been quite a point of interest. It's been revealed Sorkin has removed the musical's supernatural elements. Jordan Donica, who co-leads the musical as Lancelot alongside Andrew Burnap as King Arthur and Phillipa Soo as Queen Guenevere, has previously spoken to Playbill about how Sorkin's changes have made the characters "more real" and that this version feels like a new musical.
Burnap told Playbill that "Sorkin has made [the musical] quite, quite urgent."
Previews for the revival begin March 9 at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theater where it is slated to open April 13. The cast also gave Playbill a sneak peek by performing three of the musical's hit songs.
Using T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King as source material, the 1960 musical explores the classic tale of King Arthur and the love triangle between himself, Guenevere, and Sir Lancelot as well as the rise and fall of Camelot. Anthony Michael Lopez, who portrays Sir Dinadan, also wanted to make it (facetiously) clear: the show is also "primarily about three gorgeous knights who set out to change the world, and they just might do it." On a more serious note, his fellow cast member Fergie Phillipe, who plays Sir Sagramore, explained, "Camelot is about an old system being challenged by a new system."
The origins of this revival can be found in a one-night-only gala performance at Lincoln Center which Sher directed four years ago. Donica starred as Lancelot that evening, and since Burnap and Soo joined last fall, the dreamy leading cast has led theatre fans to calling the show "sexy Camelot" on Twitter. Danny Wolohan, who plays Sir Lionel, agrees: "The whole ensemble is undeniably sexy." He continued, "There's so much going on, the acting, the singing—there's a lot of talent there. But fans of sexiness, I think, will enjoy the show."
However, when it comes to singing, not all cast members will be heard. Dakin Matthews, who plays Merlyn/Pellenore, joked, "They're not letting me sing, and they're very smart to do that."
The revival's diverse cast will also star Camden McKinnon as Tom of Warwick, with the ensemble featuring Delphi Borich, Matías De La Flor, Sola Fadiran, Rachel Fairbanks, Nkrumah Gatling, Christian Mark Gibbs, Holly Gould, Monte Greene, Edwin Joseph, Tesia Kwarteng, James Romney, Ann Sanders, Britney Nicole Simpson, Philip Stoddard, Valerie Torres-Rosario, Frank Viveros, and Paul Whitty.
Some of what's been going on behind-the-scenes in rehearsals was also revealed. Burnap shared how they had a lot of fun with themed rehearsal days like "Pajama Day" and "Dress Like Sher Day." Marilee Talkington, who plays Morgan Le Fay, also used the word magic to describe the cast. "I cry every single rehearsal" which Trensch confirmed. Words like magical continuously pop up among the cast's interviews; Donica also uses it when he talks about how the way Sher brings people together is "a magical experience."
Sher leads a Camelot creative team that also includes choreographer Byron Easley, set designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Jennifer Moeller, lighting designer Lap Chi Chu, and sound designers Marc Salzberg and Beth Lake, with projections by 59 Productions. Casting is by The Telsey Office's Adam Caldwell. B.H. Barry will serve as fight director, and Kate Wilson is the voice and dialect coach.
Music director Kimberly Grigsby will conduct a 30-piece orchestra performing Camelot's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang and original dance and choral arrangements by Trude Rittman. Charles Means is the production stage manager.
Camelot originally opened in 1960 starring Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Robert Goulet in the famous love triangle at the center of the story. The Lincoln Center Theater production is the fifth revival of the work.