Camelot

The Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot opened on Broadway in in 1960,  ran for 873 performances, and nabbed four Tony awards   It starred Richard Burton as King Arthur, Julie Andrews as Queen Guinevere, newcomer Robert Goulet as Lancelot, and Roddy McDowell as Mordred.  According to Wikipedia, the cast recording was the best-selling LP in America for 60 weeks.  My parents had it, and I listened to it endlessly.  Even today, half a century later, I still know all the words to all the songs.  Part of the musical’s popularity was its association with the Kennedy administration, which was often called “Camelot,” with JFK being Arthur and Jackie being Guinevere (in this case it was Arthur who was the philanderer).

It’s hard to find songs from this musical—or any of my favorite Broadway shows—on YouTube.  For Camelot, there are more clips from the dire movie version, starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave, than from the far superior Broadway version. Here are two songs from the original cast.  The first is a recording of Goulet singing the show’s romantic high spot, “If ever I would leave you.”

And Julie Andrews in “The Lusty Month of May” (the lyrics are quite clever).  Andrews had a lovely voice, perfect for Broadway.  Click here for her singing a medley of “Wouldn’t it be loverly” and “I could have danced all night” from My Fair Lady and the theme song from Camelot.

14 Comments

  1. J
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    It’s only a model..

  2. Posted June 15, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I like to push the pram…a lot.

  3. Helena Constantine
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Why the hell is this blog devoted to musicals? How about some Opera?

    • Posted June 15, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      First, this is not a blog. Second, it’s not devoted to opera. Third, we have had opera on here. Fourth, if you want opera 24/7, there are “blogs” devoted exclusively to that. Fifth, I don’t take kindly to suggestions about what I should or should not post about.

  4. Sven DiMilo
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    wow, really?
    Roddy McDowell as Mordred?
    What was the plot, some sort of interhominid power struggle?

  5. AdamK
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, lusty month-based musical numbers require sailor vs. whaler dance contests:

  6. Newish Gnu
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    This is third or fourth hand so I’ll try to do better, but….

    A veteran of the Kennedy White House (and I CAN’T remember his name at the moment) was at my graduate school in the late 1980s. Among other topics, he said the whole Kennedy/Camelot thing was contrived ex post facto. The connection was made only after JFK’s demise.

    Now I’ll go see if I can find anything on it.

  7. Posted June 15, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    So many memories welled up when I clicked play on those songs.
    I recall listening to (and singing loudly) that whole album again and again. I must have been at least 11 ’cause we lived in the house with an orange shag carpeted rec room. That’s where the record player was kept.

    As a May baby, I really loved the “Lusty Month of May”. Once I realized that “lusty” was a bit naughty, I think I sang louder.

  8. Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I’m not a huge fan of Lerner & Loewe but previously forgot to name one of the great B’way musicals: Carousel. Every song is a classic, the book is dark and complex and when it was revived at Lincoln Center a number of years ago, I forgot to bring tissues, which we all needed at the end.
    And, as my brother (a musician who has played on Broadway) said, Billy’s soliloquy is one of the great moments in musical history. Thinking quickly now, I can’t think of any song–and it’s so much more than a song–like it.

  9. litchik
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    My mother used to make me sing songs from this musical to her regularly but never my favorite “Fie on Goodness.” My son recently took an art class where he re-imagined Camelot as a deep space colony and designed the costumes (demonstrating changes in character in the garb and all.) Now he and I sing these songs together (along with Dropkick Murphy’s) while my younger son grumbles and waits for us to put on Shubert. See, the show is all about family values. :D

  10. Posted June 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting really turned on! Smart men who love musicals!

    My ship has come in!

  11. Posted June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    We had that album as well, and it was one of my favourites. I much preferred the Broadway take on the various songs over the movie’s style. I also remember Burton singing the theme on tv in the 70’s during an awards show? It was fun catching the stage version a few years back with Robert Goulet in the title role.

    I always wondered why the casting director(s) for the movies seem to ignore the stars that made the musicals popular. I imagine Julie Andrews took some comfort at winning an Oscar for Mary Poppins after losing the role of Eliza to Audrey Hepburn (who couldn’t sing), but I still wonder what the movie would have been like with her instead. I’ll avoid discussing the casting of Mamma Mia…

  12. Posted June 18, 2011 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Sorry but this crap is hopeless and irredeemable. Thank god the damn broke and rock and roll sliced through all this dreck.


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