Music Review: CAMELOT… CAMELOT Still Happily Ever Aftering On A New Broadway Cast Recording

A Classic Remains A Classic.

By: Jun. 29, 2023
Music Review: CAMELOT… CAMELOT Still Happily Ever Aftering On A New Broadway Cast Recording

Music Review: CAMELOT… CAMELOT Still Happily Ever Aftering On A New Broadway Cast Recording Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby’s CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week’s album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from Broadway’s latest (5th) production of that venerable sword & sorcery epic by Lerner & Loewe, CAMELOT. There are many things that writers have written and speakers have spoken about the storied history of this storybook musical, and believe me, my dearlings, Bobby could go off and throw a coin or two into that fountain, hoping that his wish for the perfect production would materialize, but that is not the assignment here. Little Bobby’s homework was to listen to this latest cast album and give a few thoughts on the music therein, and in this we are happy to report that this recording is another golden brick in the wall for this still glorious score. The 1960s was the last regular decade in which Broadway offered up hit scores with hit songs that were added to the Great American Songbook. The nature of Broadway changed, as did its music, but the 60s was still a rich era with roughly a dozen shows (give or take) whose music folded into the lexicon beyond their runs and subsequent cast recordings. With songs like … well… its title song CAMELOT, IF EVER I WOULD LEAVE YOU, I LOVED YOU ONCE IN SILENCE, Arthur’s HOW TO HANDLE A WOMAN and its Guenevere companion song - BEFORE I GAZE AT YOU AGAIN, all of which are sung beautifully on the new album, there’s scarcely anything that can be said or written about the show or its score that would not be gilding an already golden lily. So, let’s talk about the OTHER songs in this musical… the songs and instrumental interludes that don’t get as much press each time this show is revived.
 


Just a few highlights - the OVERTURE - We Love an Overture, don’t we, my theatre angels? The first notes of sparkling strings passing over to majestic horns, leading us into a fab lookie-loo at the famous songs throughout this score - it's musical theatre history in all its majesty. As we said, there is such a high percentage of FAMOUS songs from this show, and recording artists of all stripes have made art and money in POP, Club & Cabaret, Concerts, and HECK! even opera singers have recorded this music, but this arrangement of the show opener is particularly lush and beautiful. This leads directly into King Arthur’s knee-shaking dilemma song I WONDER WHAT THE KING IS DOING TONIGHT sung by Tony Winner Andrew Burnap, and, at first, Bobby thought this “American Actor” playing a British king had started the number a bit limp, given Arthur's heightened anxiety at this moment. However, this is a clever actor who gave himself some breathing room and allowed the song to rise and rise in temperature, taking us along into his frenzy at the end. C’EST MOI - Jordan Donica’s massively trained and powerful voice, with a true baritone range, gives the song a strong stance and heightens the comedy in his braggadocio. He goes hard in the opening verse, but then lightens it up to land the jokes. With TAKE ME TO THE FAIR, Phillipa Soo is bouncy and festive, and she has loads of fun, vocally, with this one, making coquettish acting choices for each knight to whom she sings, that, then, develops into a bloodthirstiness, in her need for revenge. Her switch-ups from legit lyrical voice into belting & growling give funny and interesting texture - the same goes for her spoken word sections as well… but it’s her legit voice that wins out in the end. The adorable Taylor Trensch, as Arthur’s illegit-evil son, sings THE SEVEN DEADLY VIRTUES and is perfectly bratty and snide while remaining dry, and perfectly British.  FIE ON GOODNESS is a rousing, thunderous, rarely-heard chorus number where the men of Arthur’s court are done with all the “goodness” they’ve had to practice and, so, led by Mordred (Trensch), tell Arthur’s brand of chivalry to go FIE itself. The vocal and instrumental arrangements here are thrilling and the men really put this number over with a bang.
 


So there it is, my rainbow readers. We hope that all those who love the musical theatre will pick up this new rendition of CAMELOT, with all new and wondrous vocal performances by this latest Broadway cast. It is well worth the time and money to hear because…

This one gets 4 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your collection/stream today!

The 2023 Broadway Cast Recording of CAMELOT is currently available digitally and on CD (exclusively at the Vivian Beaumont Theater) and will be available everywhere CDs are sold this Friday, June 30.  Released by Broadway Records, the album is produced by David Caddick and David Lai.

BUT!

You Can Stream CAMELOT 2023 On Spotify: HERE

OR

Preorder Your Very Own Copy Of Camelot On Amazon Ahead Of Its June 30 Release: HERE

CREDITS & THINGS:

The cast of 27 is headed by Andrew Burnap (as Arthur), Phillipa Soo (as Guenevere), Jordan Donica (as Lancelot Du Lac), Dakin Matthews (as Merlyn/Pellinore), Taylor Trensch (as Mordred), Marilee Talkington (as Morgan Le Fey), Camden McKinnon (as Tom of Warwick) Anthony Michael Lopez (as Sir Dinadan), Fergie Philippe (as Sir Sagramore), and Danny Wolohan (as Sir Lionel).  Featured in the ensemble are Delphi Borich, Matías De La Flor, Ṣọla Fadiran, Rachel Fairbanks, Nkrumah Gatling, Christian Mark Gibbs, Holly Gould, Monte Greene, Edwin Joseph, Tesia Kwarteng, James Romney, Ann Sanders, Britney Nicole Simpson, Philip Stoddard, Valerie Torres-Rosario, Frank Viveros, and Paul Whitty.
 


The Lincoln Center Theater production of Lerner and Loewe’s CAMELOT features choreography by Byron Easley and has sets by Michael Yeargan; costumes by Jennifer Moeller; lighting by Lap Chi Chu; sound by Marc Salzberg and Beth Lake; projections by 59 Productions; Hair & Wigs by Cookie Jordan; Fight Direction by B.H. Barry; Vocal & Dialect coaching by Kate Wilson; casting by The Telsey Office, Adam Caldwell, CSA; Cambra Overend is Consulting Producer. Music Director Kimberly Grigsby conducts a 30-piece orchestra performing CAMELOT’s original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang and original dance and choral arrangements by Trude Rittmann. Charles Means is the Production Stage Manager.

Music Review: CAMELOT… CAMELOT Still Happily Ever Aftering On A New Broadway Cast Recording




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