While there have been dozens of incredible shows on Broadway over the years, Camelot has always been considered one of the best.
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe wrote the show itself in 1959 as a musical adaptation of the book The Once and Future King by T.H. White. The two writers were not new to the industry and had experienced incredible success with their musical My Fair Lady a few years before.
When Camelot was ready for the stage, they chose Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet to play the lead roles, and these performers absolutely made the show the success that it was.
While the show was first performed in Toronto on October 1, 1960, it wasn’t really considered the “premiere” as the show was changed drastically before being performed on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on December 3rd of the same year.
In fact, the first performance in Toronto was a bit of a mess, and though it was only supposed to last for just over two hours, it took four hours before it was over.
Critics gave decent reviews, but Loewe and Lerner knew they needed to make some significant changes if the show was to be a success in New York.
Luckily, they did just that, and by the time the Broadway premiere occurred, they had ironed out the issues and performed an incredible show.
Although audiences were enthralled, the critics’ reviews were hit-and-miss. However, Camelot got its big break when Ed Sullivan invited Loewe and Lerner to create a segment for his show, which was a great success and wildly increased ticket sales.
The show continued to run until January 5, 1963; during that time, there were 873 performances!
While the music and story of the show were undoubtedly well-received, it was the actors who really made Camelot what it was.
Julie Andrews played the vital role of Queen Guinevere, and although she hadn’t had her “big break” yet, she was still widely known as an incredible singer and performer.
Also, Robert Goulet was cast as Lancelot, and although it was his first time on Broadway, many audience members were sincerely impressed with his performance.
Richard Burton not only played King Arthur but was also said to have a hand in the editing and perfecting of the show itself. Making himself an invaluable part of the musical’s success.
Camelot won four Tony Awards and a Theatre World Award in its only three years on Broadway. However, the show did not stop there!
Over the next several decades, a film adaptation, as well as several subsequent revivals, were played on Broadway and smaller stages around the world. And it’s safe to say that Camelot, both as an original production and a popular musical, will always be considered a great success.