Culture Street

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic Broadway musical The King and I is coming to Australia.

Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes will co-star in the Tony Award-winning Australian production, which is being revived next year by the Gordon Frost Organisation and Opera Australia.

Much-loved Australian actress and four-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens, while internationally acclaimed opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes takes on his second musical theatre role as the King of Siam.

Hot from their recent success playing opposite each other in South Pacific, the pair will headline the Brisbane and Sydney seasons. Lisa McCune will also star in Melbourne, where the King will be played by an international artist to be announced at a later date.

The King and I was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical together and is considered one of the jewels in their crown. It was based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which took its inspiration from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a British governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s.

The beautiful score includes the well recognised songs “I Whistle a Happy Tune”, “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?”

A hit on Broadway in 1951, where it starred Gertrude Lawrence (who died during the season) and Yul Brynner, the show ran for three years before touring. The first London production opened in 1953, enjoying similar success. In 1956 it became a famous film starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner who won an Academy Award for his performance.

Christopher Renshaw will return to Australia next year to revive the production, with its stunning Thai-inspired set design by Brian Thomson, costumes by Roger Kirk and lighting by Nigel Levings. Susan Kikuchi will recreate the original Jerome Robbins choreography as well as the choreography of her mother Yuriko who appeared in the 1951 Broadway production and the 1956 film.

The King and I will open in Brisbane on April 15 2014 before moving on to Melbourne and then Sydney.

 

 

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