MOM THEATRE BLOGGER: THE KING AND I: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

kingandiSweeping, sailing (literally) and simply stunning are just some of the words that come readily to mind for this revival production.

From the grandeur of the opening scene as the imposing boat arrives in Siam, to the effective use of the open staging and processional entrance of the actors, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, directed by Bartlett Sher, is a sight to behold….a transportive and touching experience…much more than I had anticipated.

While the score is so familiar, it had been years since I heard it, and it was an absolute delight to see it on the Vivian Beaumont stage…..the perfect venue for such an operatic musical.

Kelli O’Hara is a gift to Broadway, and it’s easy to see why she won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her earnest performance as Anna Leonowens, the British widower/mother of a young son/teacher hired by the sometimes crusty and commanding King of Siam to instruct his wives and 60+ children living at the palace.  Over time, she not only forms a genuine and loving connection with them, but becomes an unlikely, yet trusted, ally to the King, and they too develop an enduring bond.

Winner of four 2015 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Lincoln Center Theater’s production of  THE KING AND I features a cast of 51 including Ruthie Ann Miles (Tony Award winner – Best Featured Actress in a Musical) as Lady Thiang, Ashley Park (as Tuptim), Conrad Ricamora (as Lun Tha), Edward Baker-Duly (as Sir Edward Ramsey), Jon Viktor Corpuz (as Prince Chulalongkorn), Paul Nakauchi (as Kralahome), Marc Oka (as Phra Alack), Rocco Sisto (as Captain Orton), and Nicky Torchia (as Louis).

The performance I saw featured Hoon Lee as the King, and he was wonderful. Perhaps not as imposing a presence as Tony Award nominee Ken Watanabe, who originated the role, but he was in fine voice and exhibited strong spirit and a pleasing chemistry and comfort with O’Hara.

The young actors who play the royal offspring clan of the King are beyond adorable, inspiring many ahhhs and laughs from the audience.  Jon Viktor Corpuz turns in an authentic and affecting performance as the eldest child/Prince, to ultimately assume the throne, and Ashley Park is lovely as Tuptim, the King’s newest wife who dares to speak out and betray him in order to pursue the forbidden love of her life.  Ms. Miles, as Lady Thiang, the Kings #1 wife, shows genuine depth of character as she regally retains undying devotion to the King and looks after his best interests, despite her own heartache over the politics of their lives and country and her circumstances.

For those who have yet to see the show, you should know that 3-time Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie will assume the role of Anna Leonowens beginning May 3, and plays her first performance on the same night that Daniel Dae Kim makes his Broadway debut as The King of Siam.

Kelli O’Hara will play her final performance in THE KING AND I on April 17.  Beginning March 17, Ms. O’Hara  has since been rejoined by Ken Watanabe, for her final weeks in the production. Analisa Leaming will play the role of Anna Leonowens opposite Jose Llana, who starred as the King last summer, from April 19 through May 1.

The production features exuberant choreography by Christopher Gattelli, based on the original choreography by Jerome Robbins, striking sets by Michael Yeargan, ravishing costumes by Catherine Zuber (2015 Tony Award), lights by Donald Holder, sound by Scott Lehrer, and musical direction by Ted Sperling.  Andrew Resnick conducts THE KING AND I’s 29-piece orchestra performing the musical’s original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and its dance and incidental music by Trude Rittman.

This is a must see production of a musical that is a classic for good reason….many reasons, and Lincoln Center does it proud.  Visit

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  1. 3 Responses to “MOM THEATRE BLOGGER: THE KING AND I: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. Loved it!

    By Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Mar 24, 2016

  3. Loved it! Knew every song and sang them silently.

    By Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Mar 24, 2016

  4. I loved it. I sang along silently with every song.

    By Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Mar 24, 2016