We take a look at what is being said about Aaron Sorkin’s take on Lerner and Loewe’s musical…

(c)Joan Marcus

Variety: “While previous, wan revivals turned out to be more “Camelittle,” Lincoln Center at least has delivered the goods in a fulsome production featuring a 27-member cast and a 30-piece orchestra under Kimberly Grigsby’s music direction and baton, bringing the Lerner and Loewe score music to glorious life. For many fans, that will be worth the ticket.”

Deadline: “As beautifully sung as this new Camelot is – and it is, from the expected (Soo’s gorgeous “Before I Gaze At You Again”) to the delightfully surprising (young Trensch comes close to stealing the entire shebang with his rousing, strong-voiced “The Seven Deadly Virtues” and “Fie On Goodness”) – the production nearly scuttles romance along with the magic. When Soo’s Guenevere prods Burnap’s Arthur for a description of their relationship besides the wet-blanket “business partners,” we half-expect the floppy-haired king to answer, “Besties?””

The New York Times: ” His revisions for the director Bartlett Sher’s spare-no-expense production — visually and sonically gorgeous — do make some improvements. The silly supernatural subplots have been excised (along with a beautiful song, “Follow Me”) and Guenevere, Arthur’s involuntary queen, has been strengthened with snappy backtalk. She’s now a kind of medieval Katharine Hepburn.”

www.nj.com: “That this new production of “Camelot” proves intermittently engaging has a lot less to do with Sorkin’s anachronistic interpolations than the stirring lead performances and the visual design conjured by director Bartlett Sher. As Arthur, Andrew Burnap (“The Inheritance”) makes for an endearingly boyish, exceedingly decent king, full of self-doubt and all the more honorable for it. Jordan Donica (Freddy in Sher’s 2018 revival of “My Fair Lady”), whose chest plate is often paired with black leather pants, gives us a proto-rock star Lancelot; sexy and he knows it. As Guinevere, Phillipa Soo (”Hamilton”) brings a welcome steel and authority to the familiar role of a woman torn between two men.”

Time Out: *** “For all the changes this Camelot attempts, its most traditional aspect comes out on top: Loewe’s music, which is faithfully and beautifully served by a luxurious orchestra of 30 pieces, including six violins. But the production is essentially dispassionate, and there is only so much one can be swept up by the strings. (In the most misguided of his edits, Sorkin sabotages the central love triangle at the finale.) This musical is nearly three hours long, and despite occasional gestures toward liveliness—a maypole dance, an extended sword fight—you can’t help feeling the length. It moves like a funeral procession for itself.”

Vulture.com: “Its reconstructed book by Sorkin haphazardly drags the musical closer to reality, but it’s in its biggest, grandest gestures where the revival succeeds.”

Talkin’ Broadway: “What comes off particularly well in this reworking of the story is the portrait it paints of Arthur as he grows from a callow and thoroughly unprepared king-by-accident to the visionary leader of that “fleeting wisp of glory” known as Camelot. Andrew Burnap in the role of Arthur handles the transition beautifully, and Phillipa Soo as Guenevere gives an equally strong performance as a daughter of royalty, familiar with both the courtly expectations and of the noblesse oblige instilled in her from birth.”

The Wrap: “Sher’s direction is also a marvel when Sorkin’s book is at its messiest. Morgan Le Fey used to be Mordred’s aunt. Now, she is not only his mother (Camden McKinnon), she is also the major reason Guenevere stages a hissy fit over Arthur’s renewed contact with his old girlfriend. All of this pent-up sexual resentment is played out concurrently with Guenevere and Lancelot’s affair, because it is Arthur’s trip to see Morgan Le Fey to make amends that the two lovers are left alone to commit treason. Sher handles the dueling stories magnificently, but in the end, all the cross-cutting only emphasizes the subtext for Guenevere’s sleeping with Lancelot: It’s her revenge on Arthur. Love has nothing to do with it.”

Broadway News: “Filling up all that empty space, however, are some of the American theater’s finest talents. Burnap and Soo are crisp conductors of Lerner and Loewe’s vocal score. Donica as Sir Lancelot is a revelation; Sher architects for him one of the sexiest Broadway entrances I’ve seen all year.”

New York Stage Review: ** “Music director Kim Grigsby and her players sound great, but only point to the lack of choral power—and composer Loewe prided himself on the choral work in his scores. Compare this to the recent cornbread Oklahoma!, with its seven-piece fiddle-and-guitar band; as much as we honor Russell Bennett, that staging would not have worked so well with the full orchestration—which would have sounded, indeed, as if it was from another century.”

Theatrely.com: “Soo’s performance is a golden highlight of the entire season. Her voice can be muscular, featherlight, torrential or lilting, as is needed, and her royal comportment carries the same exasperated whimsy as Julie Andrews, the role’s originator. A tableau towards the end of the first act in which she looks over her décolleté shoulder, away from Lancelot, is the stuff of Sargent paintings. And, though Jennifer Moeller’s costumes are all-around terrific, hers are designed and fitted so gorgeously, to the point where I half-expected a “Miss Soo’s Gowns By” credit at the end, like an old Grace Kelly movie.”

To find out more about the production visit: https://www.lct.org/shows/camelot/


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