Jordan Donica commands a room with his booming voice, but maintains a genuine, heartfelt energy as Lancelot Du Lac in the upcoming revival of Camelot. He stopped by to perform the impassioned love ballad, “I Loved You Once In Silence,” as part of Playbill’s Spring Preview video series (sponsored by Cadillac). Watch Donica's performance above, with accompaniment by Marco Paguia.
Camelot is currently in previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, with opening night set for April 13. The show is directed by Bartlett Sher, with a reimagined book by Aaron Sorkin, and original music and lyrics by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner.
“I Loved You Once In Silence” takes place toward the end of Act II, after Lancelot and Guenevere have fallen in love. For Lancelot, Donica says (with care to avoid spoilers), “It’s just after he’s crossed a threshold, and made a choice to do something that he never imagined that he would do.”
Camelot is adapted from The Once and Future King, T.H. White’s 1958 novel. The show follows the story of King Arthur (Andrew Burnap) and his knights—as well as the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot, and Guenevere (Philippa Soo) that destroys Camelot. Donica told Playbill earlier this month that Aaron Sorkin’s new book is very different from the original source material, with a greater emphasis on realism and humanity—as well as diversity.
Donica has found aspects of the original novel to draw from as he tells Lancelot’s story. “[Lancelot] has, in his mind, in theory, given up his closeness and his relationship to his God, and put his God in someone else,” Donica says. “There’s a line in the book that says Lancelot gives his God to Guenevere, and she in turn gives him his freedom. That, to me, is what this whole song is about: the anguish of love.”
In typical productions of Camelot, “I Loved You Once In Silence” is performed by Guenevere. Donica says the change had to do with the creative team trying to “put a bow” on Lancelot’s emotional journey.
“I think this song does a really good job of conveying the same thing [in Lancelot] that it conveys for Guenevere,” Donica says. “You have this feeling towards someone that you don’t really know what to do with. And then you finally do something about it, finally act on it...after you realize all the potential for danger from that action." So how would he describe his rendition of the classic song? "It’s both romantic and devastating."
See behind-the-scenes photos of Donica’s performance below.