Everything you need to know about 'Camelot' on Broadway

Learn more about this classic Lerner and Loewe musical, which is now returning to Lincoln Center with a newly revised book by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

It's true, it's true, the crown has made it clear! Camelot is back on Broadway for the first time in 30 years. The legend of King Arthur, Queen Guenevere, the Knights of the Round Table, and the changes wrought upon their kingdom is timeless, as are Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's songs like "If Ever I Would Leave You."

This revival, though, features some fresh updates. Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin penned a new script for Camelot, and the three leads are buzzy modern Broadway stars. The Inheritance Tony Award winner Andrew Burnap stars as King Arthur alongside Hamilton Tony nominee Phillipa Soo as Guenevere and Jordan Donica, who starred in the last revival of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, as Lancelot du Lac.

My Fair Lady director Bartlett Sher also returns for Camelot, so this production at the Vivian Beaumont Theater is just as lush. Learn more about how Camelot has evolved through the ages, along with production info and fun facts.

What is Camelot about?

Camelot is about the rise and fall of a once-glorious kingdom — and of the hopes its ruler had for it. At the beginning of the show, a young and newly appointed King Arthur frets about his marriage and his kingdom's future, but he and his wife Guenevere soon usher in an era of prosperity and peace.

Arthur faces a conflict of love and duty, however, when Guenevere and the knight Lancelot du Lac enter into a secret romance. And while Lancelot du Lac challenges Arthur for his wife, Arthur's son Mordered challenges him for the throne, throwing the future of Camelot into jeopardy.

Where is Camelot playing?

Camelot is at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. This theatre is owned and operated by the nonprofit company Lincoln Center Theater, and it share's a building with the company's two Off-Broadway spaces, the Mitzi E. Newhouse and Claire Tow Theaters.

As the Beaumont is located in the Lincoln Center plaza near 65th Street, it is the northern- and westernmost Broadway venue and the only one not located in the Theatre District around Times Square.

How long is Camelot?

Camelot runs approximately 2 hours and 55 minutes, including one intermission. This is within the average length range of Broadway musicals, which typically run between 2 and 3 hours.

What days is Camelot playing?

Camelot performs Tuesday through Sunday, with two performances each on Wednesday and Saturday and no performance on Monday. For the most up-to-date weekly performance schedule and current ticket availability, visit the Camelot page.

Who wrote Camelot?

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe originally wrote Camelot. The pair wrote eight musicals, of which Camelot is one of the most well-known. Their other famous classics include My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Brigadoon. Lerner wrote the book and lyrics, while Loewe composed the music.

For the 2023 Broadway revival, Aaron Sorkin wrote a new book for Camelot. Sorkin is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of films including The Social Network, Moneyball, Molly's Game, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. He is also best known for writing on the TV show The West Wing and adapting Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird into a Broadway play.

When did Camelot premiere?

One could say that the history of Camelot stretches back centuries to when the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table first surfaced. However, the Camelot musical only premiered in 1960. Discover a complete timeline of Camelot's development and major production history below.

  • 1485: Sir Thomas Malory compiles Le Morte d'Arthur, the first collection of legends about Arthur and the knights. These legends, however, first arose in Britain around the 12th century.
  • 1958: T. H. White publishes The Once and Future King, a new collection of Arthurian legends based on Malory's work.
  • 1959: Lerner and Loewe decide to adapt The Once and Future King into the Camelot musical.
  • 1960: Camelot makes its world premiere in Toronto. The show then went up in Boston and finally on Broadway by the end of the year, undergoing heavy edits all along the way.
  • 1963: After the Broadway production closes, Camelot goes on its first national tour. In ran concurrently, in part, with another bus-and-truck tour of the show.
  • 1964: Camelot makes its London debut, running for 518 performances.
  • 1967: The film adaptation of Camelot is released, winning three Oscars the following year.
  • 1980: Camelot receives its first New York revival at the New York State Theater (now David H. Koch Theater) in Lincoln Center. Richard Burton reprised the role of Arthur, which he originated on Broadway, opposite Christine Ebersole.
  • 1981: Camelot receives its first Broadway revival. Harris, who played Arthur in the film, reprised his role.
  • 1982: Harris plays Arthur yet again in the first Camelot revival in London's West End.
  • 1993: Camelot has its second Broadway revival. It ran for 56 performances.
  • 2023: Camelot has its third Broadway revival, returning to Lincoln Center, this time at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Andrew Burnap, Phillipa Soo, and Jordan Donica star.

Camelot characters

The original Camelot script is mythical and magical, featuring enchantresses and sorcerers alongside the mere mortals. However, in Sorkin's revision, all the characters are simply human. Learn more about the characters in Camelot below.

  • King Arthur: The ruler of Camelot. He begins the show as an idealistic young king who sees Camelot as a utopia. As the show goes on and he faces conflict, though, he changes as his dreams slip out of reach.
  • Queen Guenevere: Arthur's wife, who helps him usher in Camelot's golden age. Soon, though, she falls in love with the knight Lancelot du Lac.
  • Lancelot du Lac: An overconfident knight who hears of the Round Table and arrives at Camelot eager to join. While there, he falls in love with Guenevere.
  • Mordred: Arthur's illegitimate son, who arrives in Camelot to seize power from his father.
  • Merlin: A wise advisor to Arthur. In the original Camelot script and Arthurian legend, Merlin is a wizard.
  • Morgan Le Fey: A scientist who aids Mordred's quest for power. The character was originally a sorceress in legends and in Camelot's earlier scripts.
  • Pellinore: An elderly friend of Arthur's family, whose visit to Camelot leads to him joining Arthur's inner circle. In the original Arthurian legends, Pellinore is a rival king who later befriends Arthur.
  • Knights of the Round Table: The Knights of the Round Table is an organization dedicated to maintaining harmony and order in Camelot. Three knights — Sirs Lionel, Dinadan, and Sagramore — are featured in Camelot.

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Camelot songs

Lerner and Loewe's romantic Camelot score is full of songs that are now musical theatre classics, including "If Ever I Would Leave You" and "The Lusty Month of May." Discover all the tunes in Camelot on Broadway.

Act 1

  • "Overture"
  • "The March [Parade]" — Instrumental
  • "I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight" — Arthur
  • "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood" — Guenevere
  • "Camelot" — Arthur
  • "Camelot" (reprise) — Arthur, Guenevere
  • "Follow Me" — Nimue
  • "C'est Moi" — Lancelot du Lac
  • "The Lusty Month of May" — Guenevere, Ensemble
  • "Then You May Take Me to the Fair" — Guenevere, Sir Lionel, Sir Sagramore, Sir Dinadan
  • "How To Handle a Woman" — Arthur
  • "The Jousts" — Arthur, Guenevere, Ensemble
  • "Before I Gaze at You Again" — Guenevere

Act 2

  • "If Ever I Would Leave You" — Lancelot du Lac
  • "The Seven Deadly Virtues" — Mordred
  • "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" — Arthur and Guenevere
  • "Fie on Goodness!" — Mordred & Knights
  • "I Loved You Once In Silence" — Lancelot du Lac
  • "Guenevere" — Ensemble
  • "Camelot" (reprise) — King Arthur

What awards has Camelot won?

Camelot's stage and screen versions have earned various accolades. Discover all the major awards Camelot has won for its timeless music, iconic performances, and more.

  • Tony Awards: The Broadway premiere of Camelot won four out of the five Tony Awards it was nominated for: Best Actor in a Musical (for Richard Burton), Best Conductor and Musical Director, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. The additional nomination was for Julie Andrews in the Best Actress category.
  • Academy Awards: The Camelot film won Best Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design at the 1968 Oscars.
  • Golden Globe Awards: At the 1968 Golden Globes, Camelot took home prizes for Best Original Score, Best Original Song (for "If Ever I Would Leave You"), and Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (for Richard Harris).

Major productions of Camelot

Like Arthur and Camelot itself, the Camelot musical went through a lot of changes, but still ended up a celebrated classic. Learn more about all the major productions of Camelot since Broadway audiences first entered the kingdom.

  • 1960 Toronto premiere: Camelot had its world premiere in Toronto, and the show ran over the advertised run time and still required heavy edits at the time. Lerner and Loewe continued to make cuts throughout this run and a subsequent pre-Broadway run in Boston.
  • 1960 Broadway premiere: By December 1960, Camelot made its way to Broadway. The show received mixed to positive reviews, with the highest praise for the score and lead performances of Richard Burton and Julie Andrews.
  • 1963 national tour: Camelot had two national tours embark in 1963. One kicked off in January and another in October.
  • 1964 London premiere: The premiere of Camelot in the West End for 518 performances.
  • 1980 Off-Broadway revival: The first New York revival of Camelot took place in Lincoln Center. Richard Burton and Christine Ebersole starred.
  • 1981 Broadway revival: Camelot's first Broadway revival starred Richard Harris, who previously played Arthur on screen.
  • 1982 London revival: A year later, Harris took his performance across the pond for the first Camelot revival in London.
  • 1993 Broadway revival: This short-lived revival ran for 56 performances at the Gershwin Theatre.
  • 2008 national tour: This tour is notable because Michael Lerner, Alan Jay Lerner's son, made script revisions for it. Additionally, one of the tour stops was the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto, where the show premiered.
  • 2023 Broadway revival: Camelot returns to Lincoln Center for its third Broadway revival. Aaron Sorkin contributes a new script for this production.

Celebrities who have starred in Camelot

Broadway veterans Andrew Burnap, Phillipa Soo, and Jordan Donica are now the faces of Camelot. Throughout the show's history, the noble characters of Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot du Lac, and more have attracted plenty of stage and screen royalty. Learn more about all the celebrities who have ruled Camelot.

  • Richard Burton: Burton originated the role of King Arthur in Camelot's Broadway premiere. The role earned him a Tony Award, and the prolific stage and screen actor also earned seven Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe Award, and a Grammy for his work in films like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Anne of the Thousand Days.
  • Julie Andrews: Andrews earned a Tony Award nomination for playing Guenevere in Camelot's premiere. She is also best known for her roles in movie musicals like Cinderella, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Mary Poppins, and for starring in My Fair Lady on Broadway.
  • Richard Harris: Harris originated the role of Arthur on screen and reprised it in Broadway and London productions. His film performance earned him a Golden Globe, and he's also a two-time Oscar nominee for This Sporting Life and The Field.
  • Vanessa Redgrave: Redgrave starred opposite Harris in the Camelot film as Guenevere. Redgrave is an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award winner known for movies like Julia, Howards End, and Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Jeremy Irons: Irons starred as Arthur in a 2005 production at the Hollywood Bowl. Irons's prolific stage and screen work has made him one of the few actors to win the Triple Crown of Acting, with an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award.
  • Christine Ebersole: Ebersole played Guenevere in the 1980 Camelot Broadway revival. She is a two-time Tony Award winner for 42nd Street and Grey Gardens and an Emmy nominee for One Life to Live.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda: Miranda played the part of King Arthur in a 2019 gala performance of Camelot with Lincoln Center Theater. The multi-hyphenate is best known as the creator and original star of Hamilton and composer for movies like Encanto.

Onscreen adaptations of Camelot

Camelot received a film adaptation in 1967, featuring Richard Harris as Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere, Franco Nero as Lancelot du Lac, and David Hemmings as Mordred. Initially, Burton and Andrews were supposed to reprise their Broadway roles, but they declined.

The film received three Oscars and three Golden Globes. The Oscars were for Best Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design, and the Golden Globes for Best Original Score, Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (for Harris), Best Original Song (for "If Ever I Would Leave You").

In addition, a filmed performance of the 1981 Camelot Broadway revival, also starring Harris, was broadcast on HBO in 1983. A 2008 concert version at Lincoln Center was broadcast on PBS.

Fun facts about Camelot

  • Jordan Donica sang the part of Lancelot du Lac in a 2019 concert production of Camelot at Lincoln Center Theater. It was a prophecy, as he now assumes the role in the 2023 revival!
  • Camelot is closely associated with the Kennedy administration. The show premiered while he was president, and Jackie Kennedy said in an interview after his death that he enjoyed the music. Nowadays, his presidency is compared to Camelot as a brief period of national prosperity and harmony.
  • Ironically, while Lerner and Loewe were writing Camelot — in which Arthur's wife falls for someone else — Lerner's own wife left him, which put the creation process on hold for a while.
  • In his autobiography, Lerner wrote that the first-ever performance ran 4.5 hours (a potentially exaggerated figure) when it was supposed to be 2.5. Nonetheless, the show had to be trimmed.
  • Certain elements have come and gone from Camelot's various iterations. The song "Then You May Take Me to the Fair" was cut during the Broadway premiere, but restored in revivals. The song "Fie on Goodness!" was cut from the film. The character of Morgan Le Fey has been cut from most revivals. The 2023 revival, however, includes all these.

How to get Camelot tickets

Like the glory days of Camelot, the musical named for the kingdom won't be around forever. This season is the perfect time to experience this royal revival which, with Sorkin's revisions, preserves the show's glory but is unlike any Camelot audiences have seen before.

Originally published on

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