NEW YORK (PIX11) — The musical “Camelot” is being reimagined at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater — a place where a legacy of revivals has come before it, including “The King and I, “South Pacific and “My Fair Lady.”
The new undertaking is the result of a collaboration by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin and Lincoln Center longtime theater director Bartlett Sher.
“It was written today. It wasn’t written in 1960. It was written with today in mind,” said Sorkin, who wrote the book for the production.
However, it keeps a lot of the classic elements in tact, including the romantic triangle between Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot; the quest to bring order to chaos; and the wish to return to a world that once existed.
The retelling of “Camelot” is also bringing together a diverse cast.
“Everyone who comes to see us has to see themselves in this play,” said Andrew Burnap, who plays King Arthur.
“It’s a better visual of the world, a better visual of America, real America, and that is essentially what Camelot is about,” said Jordan Donica, who brings Lancelot to life on stage.
Donica said his Lancelot is someone who is a fierce warrior who is on a mission to understand chivalry, and he’s also on a journey of understanding love.
The story is now set in England in the late 15th century, with Arthur as an actual king.
Burnap, a Tony winner, said his Arthur is a man who deeply believes in the best of humanity but struggles very much with self-doubt .
Also a Tony winner, Phillipa Soo portrays Guenevere, who says she feels a deep responsibility to make her a real person with hopes, fears and dreams.
There are no spells or magic in the production. That is left to the power of the show’s music.
Sher said music can be transcendent, and musicals are the weird mixture of ideas and language that can be extraordinary.
Burnap said the music makes him cry a lot, and that he remembers listening to the music on a Sony Walkman as a 14-year-old.
Everyone has their own idea of “Camelot.” For this cast, it’s an antidote to a culture that is coming apart.
Soo said she loves exploring the nuance and the gray areas of what it means to be a human and have relationships with people and how we navigate them.
Previews for Camelot begin March 9 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. For ticket information go to Lincoln Center Theater website.