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The King and I

 

The King and I is playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center 150 West 65th Street, New York N. Y.  It runs two hours forty minutes with one intermission.  The show closes July 5, 2015.

This was the fifth musical by Richard Rogers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II.  It was  based on the 1944 novel “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon.

The musical opened on Broadway 29, 1951 at the St. James Theatre. It stared Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, both won Tony Awards for their performance. The show also won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Design (Milliziner & Sharoff). It closed on March 29, 1954 after 1,246 performances. The run at that time was the fourth longest ever run for a musical.

In 1977 a revival played the Gershwin Theatre and opened on May 2, 1977.  The run lasted 696 performances.  Yul Brynner and Constance Towers played the led roles.

Another revival opened in January 1985 at the Broadway Theatre. It played 191 performances.  Yul Brynner and Mary Beth Pell performed.

April 11, 1996 the musical opened at the Neil Simon Theatre.  Donna Murphy won a Tony Award and Lou Diamond Phillips was nominated for a Tony Award for their performance.  It also won Tony Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Scenic Design.  It ran for 780 performances.

The musical has had several American and London tours.

Bartlett Sher is the director.  He won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 2008 for “South Pacific”.  He was nominated four Tony Awards for, “Golden Boy” (2012), Joe Turner’s Come & Gone” (2009), “Awake & Sing”  (2006) and “The Light in the Piazza” (2005).

Michael Yeargan  is the scenic designer. He won two Tony Awards for “South Pacific” (2008) and “The Light in the Piazza” (2005).  He was also nominated for three Tony Awards for “Golden Boy” (2013), “Joe Turner’s Come and gone” (2009) and “Awake and Sing” (2006). 

Christopher Gattelli is the choreographer.  He won a Tony Award for “Newsies” (2012) and was nominated for a Tony Award for “South Pacific” (2010).

Rogers and Hammerstein most famous musicals were, “Carousel” (1945), “South Pacific” (1949 which won a Pulitzer Award in 1950), “The King & I” (1951) and “The Sound of Music” (1959).  “Oklahoma” won a special Pulitzer in 1944.  Their musicals won 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and 25 Emmy Awards.

Kelly O’Hara has been nominated for five Tony Awards for, “The Bridges Over Madison County” (2014), “Nice Work If You Can Get It” (20120, “South Pacific”( 2008), “Pajama Game” (2006) and “The Light in the Piazza” (2005)  .

Ken Watanabe has won the Japan Academy Awards for “Shizumanu Taiyo” (2010) and “Memoirs of Tomorrow” (2007).

In 1862 a strong willed, widowed school teacher, Anne Leonowens (Kelli O’Hara) and her son Louis (Jack Lucas) arrive in Bangkok, Siam.  She is there to tutor the Kings children.

The King (Ken Watanabe) is a tyrant. Everyone has to bow to him.  When asked how many children he has he said 77, I started late.

Anne was going to leave when she found out the house she was promised to  live in wasn’t going to happen.  The king insisted she live in the palace.  Anne decides to stay.

The King of Burma gives him a women slave named Tuptim (Ashley Park) to be one of his wives.  She is in love with Lun (Conrad Ricamora) who has brought her to the king.

Lady Thiang (Ruthie Ann Mills) is his first wife and in charge of the other wives.  Her son Prince Chulalongkorn (Jon Victor Corpuz) will inherit the thrown.

Anne is loved by the children and their mothers.

Somehow Anne softens the King in his harsh behavior.

Events happen which you’ll have to see the show to know what they are.

Michael Yeargan set is fantastic. The opening scene is WOW !  If I tell you, you won’t be surprised.

Of course the music is everlasting

The show has a cast of fifty three.  The ensemble is great.

Kelli O’Hara is breath taking in this role.  She has a beautiful voice.  Her movements on stage are so graceful despite the heavy costumes she wears.

 

Review by Rozanna Radakovich

Photos by Annazor.

To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos.  Click on recent photos for this and other shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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