Aaron Sorkin adapts the beloved Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot with a new book that's "reimagined for the 21st century," and this new production is a three-time 2023 Tony Award nominee, including for Best Musical Revival. Get Camelot tickets on New York Theatre Guide. Tickets to Camelot on Broadway are on sale now.
The Camelot musical is based on T. H. White's 1958 book The Once and Future King, which in turn is based on Sir Thomas Malory's 1485 book Le Morte d'Arthur. All these stories are based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and the musical puts all the key characters — King Arthur, Queen Guenevere, Sir Lancelot, Mordred, Merlin, and more — into a new story about love and honor.
What is Camelot the musical about?
The show kicks off just ahead of Arthur and Guenevere's arranged marriage when, after a chance encounter in the woods, they fall in love anyway. At first, the kingdom of Camelot thrives under his and Guenevere's leadership, especially after he creates the Knights of the Round Table, which are dedicated to upholding justice and honor rather than pillaging and petty fighting. Things turn upside down, however, following the arrival of two people to Camelot.
One is Lancelot, the boastful but earnest knight who comes to join the Round Table, but falls for Guenevere — and the feeling is mutual. Soon, too, comes Mordred, Arthur's illegitimate son with a plan to destroy Camelot and usurp the throne. Arthur repeatedly finds himself torn between his enduring love and his duty to his law and kingdom while contending with both these men, and discovers whether it is possible to uphold both.
Camelot was Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's follow-up project to My Fair Lady, which became a massive, six-time Tony-winning hit in 1956. (Lincoln Center Theater, which produces this Camelot Broadway revival, revived My Fair Lady in 2018 with the same director, Bartlett Sher.) Camelot had a bit of a slower start to success; Loewe initially didn't want to do the project at all, and the show underwent extensive rewrites and cuts during its pre-Broadway runs — the first out-of-town performance in Toronto was four and a half hours long! From Toronto, the show moved to Boston before finally landing at Broadway's Majestic Theatre, and the show was cut every step of the way, even after the Broadway opening.
Ultimately, though, Camelot defied all these obstacles to become a classic. The show got mixed critical reviews at first, but ultimately won four Tony Awards out of its five nominations, including for Richard Burton as Arthur. (Julie Andrews, who played Guenevere, was also nominated.) Ticket sales boomed after Camelot got a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the musical would go on to run for three years. The show has been revived on Broadway four times before and mounted across the U.S. and in London, and received a 1967 film adaptation starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave.
Lerner and Loewe's score remains the same for the 2022 revival, with all the musical's most popular songs like "If Ever I Would Leave You," "Camelot," "The Lusty Month of May," and "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" Lerner's book, however, is getting an update by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin previously adapted Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway to critical acclaim.
Director Bartlett Sher is a fixture of Lincoln Center Theater. As a resident director there, his other recent LCT projects include Oslo in 2017 and the 2015 revival of The King and I with Kelli O'Hara.
What are the Lerner and Loewe musicals?
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe wrote eight musicals together, including Camelot. The others are My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon, The Day Before Spring, Life of the Party, and What's Up?
Tickets to Camelot in New York are now available.