A true classic, The King and I is a captivating story of understanding vs. obedience, progress vs. tradition, and love vs. domination. The kind yet forceful teacher Anna's influence on the hard-hearted King of Siam is a story for the ages. Pick up your The King and I tickets right away to see the drama, both joyful and somber, unfold.
The King and I Information
About the Show:
The King and I is a classic stage musical based on Margaret Landon's novelization of the life and memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who was governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the 1860s. Leonowens was a British schoolteacher who the King hired as part of his efforts to modernize the country, and their conflicts and compromises, as well as a romantic draw, drive the story. Songs from the show such as "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Getting to Know You," and "Shall We Dance?" have earned places in the popular musical theatre repertoire.
The original Broadway production of The King and I, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, opened on March 29, 1951 at the St. James Theatre. The show was a smash hit, winning Tony Awards for the show, Lawrence, and Brynner, and lasted more than 3 years, playing for 1,246 performances. A national tour and London incarnation followed, and a film version was made in 1956, earning Brynner an Oscar. The show has been revived many times, most notably on Broadway in 1996 starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Donna Murphy, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Anna. Many great actresses have since performed the role, including Faith Prince, Marie Osmond, and, in the 2000 London revival, the great Elaine Paige. Order tickets to see The King and I onstage and experience this treasured piece of musical theatre.
In 1862 Bangkok, Siam (since renamed Thailand), a widowed, British schoolteacher named Anna Leonowens has arrived at the request of the King to tutor his children. Though her young son, Louis, is afraid of the intimidating Siamese figures surrounding him, Anna reassures him that everything will be fine. Though Anna was promised a separate house in her contract, she is forced to live in a room in the palace, a condition that nearly makes her abandon the job before ever starting. She soon encounters Tuptim, a young slave girl who has been sent to the king as a gift from the King of Burma. Though she is to become one of the Siamese king's wives, she and her guide, Lun Tha, are in love.
When Anna finally meets the King, he is impressed at her intelligence, but refuses to grant her a separate house. He orders her to converse with his wives, who have taken interest in her, and marches in the children she is to teach. After the presentation ceremony, Anna breaks the formality and begins teaching them proverbs and songs as well as improving their English. After causing an uproar by showing the children on a map how small Siam is compared to the rest of the world, Anna attracts the ire of the King. He dislikes her lessons about "home" and orders her to obey him as a servant. She dismisses that term and insists that she be provided with a house, as her contract states, or she will resign (much to the disappointment of the wives and children). They both storm off as Lun Tha and Tuptim enter and discuss the tragic impossibility of their union.
After building up her anger about the situation in her room, Anna runs into Lady Thiang, the King's head wife, who tells her that the King is terribly troubled. He has heard that the British have been portraying him as a savage barbarian and plan to take over Siam. Though hesitant to help him after their fight, Anna resolves to help the King shake this image and the two reconcile. She gathers the wives to prepare for the British envoy that is coming to evaluate the situation. They stay up all night preparing to receive the envoy in European style and dress, and they ready to present a play that Tuptim has written based on Uncle Tom's Cabin. The King gathers his family in Buddhist prayer for their success and vows to grant Anna her own house.
With the threat of English occupation looming, can Anna help the King present himself and his country in a satisfactorily "civilized" way? And will Anna succeed in her quest to soften the King's rigid authoritarianism? She has certainly proven popular with the others in the palace. Order your The King and I tickets to see the whole fascinating story live.
The King and I News:
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