Cast Size: Small (1-10) • Medium (5-21) • Large (14+). Vocal Demands: Moderate • Challenging. Dance Requirements: Extensive • Some Dancing Required. Good For: Elementary School • High School • College/University • Amateur/Community • Professional Theatre • Religious Organization.
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In this blog R&H President, Ted Chapin talks about the Rodgers & Hammerstein references on Broadway in the 2010-2011 season. read more
In last month’s blog on Restoring Musical Classics we began with the announcement of the upcoming availability of several of our newly restored musicals along with a brief explanation of what musical restorations are and why they are necessary. Essentially, the assumption, that the script and score materials licensed to recreate Broadway musicals are faithful to their original Broadway productions, is not necessarily a true one. read more
Written By: JANE NORRIS
An interview with Bayork Lee
When the curtain rises Saturday on Ash Lawn Opera Festival’s production of “The King and I,” the commanding main character won’t be the only Broadway royalty in the house.
Baayork Lee, who played Princess Ying in the original Broadway production of the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II musical, is in the director’s chair, leading the second show of Ash Lawn Opera’s season.
The thrill of that first experience of Broadway magic turned a wide-eyed child into a focused student of theater — and a lifelong fan of the musical.
“This show changed my life,” Lee said. “I was 5 years old, and I made my mind up at 5 that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to dance. I wanted to be in the theater.
“I’ve come full circle — I’m directing ‘The King and I.’ It’s an honor to be here and to be giving it to a new generation.”
Layers of sentiment make the Ash Lawn experience meaningful for her. Lee is working once more with longtime friend and frequent collaborator Susan Kikuchi, who is choreographer and associate director.
Kikuchi was 7 when she first appeared in “The King and I,” and she and Lee formed a friendship while both appeared in “Flower Drum Song.” Both were spellbound by what they experienced, though Lee said that Kikuchi gravitated more toward modern dance, while Lee found her calling in musical theater.
“We have local dancers, and they are learning the original Jerome Robbins choreography” from Kikuchi, Lee said.
“Susie and I have lived ‘The King and I.’ Susan’s mother was the original lead dancer — and I watched her dance, and that was what I wanted to be. I think that because I was so focused as a child, I didn’t have any distractions, and here I am.
“I’m so lucky, because in my life in musical theater, I’ve been blessed, and I’ve just let it happen.”
Lee has been involved in many productions of the classic musical over the years, but she said one feature of Ash Lawn Opera’s version sets it apart.
“I have voices at Ash Lawn,” Lee said. “When you’re in musical theater, you don’t get voices like this.”
Lee describes the voice of Brandy Lynn Hawkins, who sings the role of Lady Thiang, as “superb” and that of Elizabeth Andrews Roberts, who sings the leading role of Anna the British governess, as “sublime.”
And of bass-baritone Seth Mease Carico, who plays the ruler of Siam, Lee said, “Keep an eye out for the King.
“The King,” Lee said with a laugh, “he’s the big surprise. He was a favorite here last season, and everyone will be surprised to see him.”
Fans who attended last year’s festival heard Carico as Leporello in “Don Giovanni” and Jeff in “Brigadoon.”
“I am excited. I’ve done so many shows, but to hear these voices — it blows me away,” Lee said. “Ash Lawn’s production is like no other.”
Carico and Roberts bring the many layers of the complicated relationship between Anna and the King to life, Lee said. A spark between the two actors is important, because the musical delves into complex issues of cultural differences in romantic relationships, gender roles and class distinctions.
Anna is a spirited Westerner, an independent woman who’s suddenly immersed in a world in which women have few rights and fewer undergarments. The King of Siam, who has multiple wives, is amazed to hear a woman speak to him as if she were an equal.
As Anna settles in to teach the King’s children and help bring more awareness of Western culture to the royal court, the schoolmarm and the monarch learn to respect each other’s points of view.
They’re immediately drawn to each other’s intellects, which, in another time and another place, might have become the bedrock of a remarkable friendship. And there’s no denying that the romantics in the audience still keep looking for a spark, a hint, a possibility that love might bloom, no matter how deeply ingrained the royal protocol and social mores that stand between them. Hello, young lovers, indeed.
“The chemistry between the two of them is important,” Lee said of Roberts and Carico. “They’ve found the man-woman relationship when it’s needed. They’ve found the king-schoolteacher relationship when it’s needed.”
So, while actors are following iconic portrayals by Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, “how do you make it your own? That’s the actor finding his inner strength,” Lee said.
Of course, there’s much more to Lee’s busy career than “The King and I.”
Fans of “A Chorus Line” may know that Lee created the role of Connie in the hit musical. They might not realize that “A Chorus Line” is what brought Lee to Charlottesville the first time.
The national tour came to the John Paul Jones Arena on Feb. 25, and Lee eventually said goodbye to the production to work on “The King and I” for Ash Lawn Opera.
And there’s yet another musical connection: Lee and conductor Jon Kalbfleisch worked together decades ago on a production of “Gypsy.”
But the magnetic pull of “The King and I” never is far away. Lee said the show has stood the test of time because “Rodgers and Hammerstein were so far ahead of their time” in terms of taking a more mature and modern look at race relations and cultural differences than had been seen in other musicals of the era. Cultural contacts during World War II had made the world a much smaller place, and Rodgers and Hammerstein reminded a popular culture that had treasured its homogeneity that other cultures had valid viewpoints of their own.
“They were so far ahead of their time with ‘South Pacific,’ ’’ Lee said. “There’s the musical genius — they don’t make songs like that anymore. It’s like an operetta.
“And it has a very important story to tell. Everybody who comes to see it gets wrapped up in that relationship.”
Table of Contents
THE KING AND I is based on a 1944 novel by Margaret Landon, Anna and the King of Siam which, in turn, was adapted from the real life reminiscences of Anna Leonowens as recounted in her own books The English Governess at the Siamese Court and The Romance of the Harem.
The time is the early 1860s. The place, the royal capital city of Bangkok in the kingdom of Siam. Anna Leonowens, an attractive English widow, arrives in Bangkok with her son Louis. She has been engaged by The King of Siam to teach English and other Western ideas and philosophies to members of the royal family, including the King’s many wives and many more children. Escorted ashore by the King’s Prime Minister, The Kralahome, Anna is at first unsure that she and Louis have made the right decision by coming to Siam.
In the King’s court, attempts toward implementing Western values clash with old fashioned customs and traditions. Even as the King is proclaiming his belief in the ideals of the West, he accepts a gift from the King of Burma – a peace offering, a slave. The King admires the young girl, Tupim, not suspecting her lack of interest in him nor the fact that her true love in Lun Tha, the young Burmese who has escorted her to Bangkok.
Anna is finally presented to The King, and her doubts turn to indignant anger when it seems that His Majesty has a cavalier way of forgetting issues that do not interest him – such as Anna’s salary, her days off and the issue of a brick house that was supposed to be built for her adjacent to the Royal Palace. But, on the verge of storming out, Anna is coxed into meeting the Royal Children. She is introduced to the King’s first wife, Lady Thiang, and in turn to the King’s children. That settles it. She stays to teach.
In the classroom Anna instructs the Royal Children, the King’s wives and sometimes the King himself. They learn of a great outside world where there exists such strange and unheard wonders as snow, ice, and freedom of the individual.
When the King learns that a British diplomat, Sire Edward Ramsay, is on his way from Singapore to Bangkok ostensibly to pay his compliments to the King but also to assess the monarch’s hold on his own thrown, Anna cleverly finds a way to help the King convince Sir Edward that is a sophisticated and commanding leader. Anna suggests that the King host a dinner for Sir Edward in the European style, with his wives dressed in the latest European style, and with an entertainment provided by the quick and intelligent slave girl Tuptim.
The King is so happy with the thought of this forthcoming dinner, and recognizing the friendship that is growing between himself and the equally strong-willed “Mrs. Anna,” he now promises Anna that she will get her brick house, according to their agreement.
The dinner proves a great success, despite the discomfort and anger that arises from the King during Tuptim’s presentation of “The Small House of Uncle Thomas,” in which Harriet Beecher Stowe’s passionate denunciation of bigotry in American has been transformed into a Siamese ballet. Nevertheless, the troubled mood of the moment is quickly forgotten in the warm and encouraging endorsement of his regime that the king receives from Sir Edward.
The plan has worked. Alone in the ballroom now, congratulating each other on the evening and reliving its finest moments, Anna and the King bask in their friendship. He recalls, from earlier in the evening, the strange Occidental custom of a man dancing with his arm around a woman’s waist. The King persuades Anna to teach him the English dance and it becomes apparent, as they dance the polka, that there exists a strong attraction between them.
The mood is shattered by the startling news that Tuptim and Lun Tha have escaped together from the Royal Palace. They are discovered by the King’s secret police; Lun Tha is killed, and Tuptim is captured and returned to the palace. Outraged, his pride wounded, the King is prepared to punish her himself; his arm upraised, the whip in his hand, he is ready to lash punishment across her back when Anna intervenes. Defiantly she tells him that this regression to savagery and barbarianism undermines all that he has strived for since she came to Siam. The King realizes that Anna is right, but with that realization his power as an absolute monarch is gone also, and putting down the whip, the King flees from the room, a broken man, a confused and unsteady leader.
Anna realizes that she has humiliated the King that she can no longer remain in Siam. Her belongings are packed and placed aboard a ship. As she is about to embark, she receives a note from the King, who is dying. The note expresses his gratitude for all that she has done for him. Tearfully Anna returns to the Palace to see the King.
Lying near death, the King is surrounded by his wives and his children. When they see Anna, the children embrace her and beg her not to leave them. Anna is deeply moved and now realizes how much she loves them and how much they need her. Dying, the King directs Anna to take notes from Chululongkorn, the new King. The Prince, who has learned his lessons well from Anna, regally announces that henceforth there will be no servile bowing and scraping before him. As the King dies, Anna, the Kralahome, the wives and children sink to the floor in a low curtsey and bow, in final obeisance to the dead King, and with a respect for the new one.
Rodgers & Hammerstein's first musical play based on a true story was also the first project brought to them by a star who wanted to play the leading role. The star was Gertrude Lawrence, and her idea for a musical came from the highly popular novel, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon which, in turn, was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a 19th century Englishwoman who became governess to the children of the King of Siam.
Coincidentally, a few years before Miss Lawrence approached Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, they had already had the idea pitched to them by their wives. Both Dorothy Rodgers and Dorothy Hammerstein had read the Landon book, but it wasn't until Rodgers and Hammerstein viewed a screening of the 1946 film version of the Landon novel that they came around. The film, starring Rex Harrison as the King and Irene Dunne as Anna, provided Rodgers and Hammerstein with the clue they were looking for: yes, the history was fascinating, and yes the exotic themes and settings were ideal for musical pageantry and spectacle; but a good musical also needs story and conflict and here—in the multiple themes of East versus West, "civilization" versus "barbarism," despotism versus democracy and man versus woman—Rodgers and Hammerstein found plenty to write about.
Casting Gertrude Lawrence as Anna was the easy part. As for the King, Noel Coward, Rex Harrison and Alfred Drake, among others, were offered the role and all, for various reasons, turned it down. It was at an open audition that a young dancer whom Mary Martin had recommended walked out onto the stage of the James Theatre, sat cross-legged on the floor and, in Richard Rodgers' words, "plunked one whacking chord on his guitar and began to howl in a strange language that no one could understand...We had our king." He was, of course, Yul Brynner.
THE KING AND I was readied for Broadway with a budget of $360,000—making it the most expensive Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to date, and one of the most lavish in Broadway history. John van Druten was the director; Jerome Robbins served as choreographer, giving his unique touch to such memorable moments as "Shall We Dance?" and the Siamese treatment of Uncle Tom's Cabin, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas." Jo Mielziner designed the sets, and Irene Sharaff the costumes. With a supporting cast that included Doretta Morrow as Tuptim, Dorothy Sarnoff as Lady Thiang, and Larry Douglas as Lun Tha, THE KING AND I began its trek to Broadway in the late winter of 1951.
The musical was greeted enthusiastically in New Haven where changes were made nevertheless. Searching for an Act I song for Anna to brighten her character, Rodgers and Hammerstein were stumped until Mary Martin, visiting from New York, reminded them of an upbeat soft-shoe discarded from SOUTH PACIFIC. A few changes in the music and a brand new lyric, and "Suddenly Lucky" was metamorphosed into "Getting To Know You."
THE KING AND I opened on Broadway on March 29, 1951, where it proceeded to run for three years, racking up 1,246 performances. It received five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and honors for both of its stars. Very quickly the allure of THE KING AND I began to spread worldwide. Valerie Hobson and Herbert Lom starred in the original London production, and the musical scored great successes in Australia, Japan, and throughout Europe—from LE ROI ET MOI in Brussels to DER KONIG UND ICH in Berlin.
In 1956 Twentieth Century Fox—which had presented the 1946 version starring Harrison and Dunne—released the motion picture version of THE KING AND I under the careful eye of studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. "More than your eyes have ever seen," promised the posters—"More than your heart has ever known!" THE KING AND I starred Deborah Kerr as Anna (with her musical voice provided by Marni Nixon) and Yul Brynner recreating his role as The King. An immediate success, THE KING AND I became the second-highest grossing film of the year and was also critically acclaimed; nominated for nine Academy Awards, it received five, including the Best Actor Award to Brynner.
Yul Brynner's relationship to THE KING AND I is unique in the annals of theatre. Over the course of 34 years he played The King more than 4,600 times, first on stage, then on the big screen and then on television (co-starring with Samantha Eggar in the short-lived series, ANNA AND THE KING in the early '70s.) He brought THE KING AND I back to Broadway for two separate, triumphant engagements; the latter, the culmination of his farewell tour as The King, was presented in 1985, the final year of his life. At the conclusion of that run Mr. Brynner received a special Tony Award for his achievements.
Ultimately, the musical that was conceived by one star, and made a star out of another, has transcended its star vehicle status to live on as a classic in its own right with two starring roles. In addition to the legendary Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, a host of great names have played these star parts over the years. The honor roll includes, as Anna: Susan Hampshire, Angela Lansbury, Barbara Cook, Jan Clayton, Jeannette MacDonald, Betsy Palmer, Eileen Brennan, Betty White, Virginia McKenna and Florence Henderson. The King, meanwhile, has been played by, among others, Darren McGavin, Alfred Drake, Cameron Mitchell, Farley Granger, Ricardo Montalban, Pernell Roberts, Theodore Bikel, Stacey Keach, and Rudolf Nureyev.
In 1992 Philips Classics released a studio cast recording of THE KING AND I. Under the direction of John Mauceri and featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the all-star recording was led by Julie Andrews (Anna) and Ben Kingsley (The King), with Lea Salonga (Tuptim), Peabo Bryson (Lun Tha), Marilyn Horne (Lady Thiang) and cameo appearances by Martin Sheen and Roger Moore.
Earlier that season, a new production of THE KING AND I starring Hayley Mills began touring Australia. The director was Christopher Renshaw, the designers were Brian Thomson for sets and Roger Kirk for costumes, and the producer was John Frost of the Gordon/Frost Organisation. Distinctive and unusual, this production caught the eye of composer Rodgers' daughter Mary, who declared it the best KING AND I she had ever seen. Within a short time the wheels were set in motion to bring this production 10,000 miles up to Broadway.
It arrived four years later, opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on April 11, 1996, starring Tony Award winner Donna Murphy as Anna and film star Lou Diamond Phillips as The King. Renshaw, Thomson and Kirk repeated their assignments, and Frost's primary co-producers were Dodger Productions. Hailed by the critics and public alike, THE KING AND I swept the triple crown of Broadway honors that spring, winning the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical Revival; Murphy received her second Tony, and both set and costume designers won Tony Awards as well. During its second year on Broadway the leads were replaced by Faith Prince and Kevin Gray. Prince herself had been replaced by Marie Osmond (in her Broadway debut) by the time THE KING AND I closed on Broadway in February,1998; its tally of 807 performances made it the longest-running R&H revival in Broadway history.
A U.S. National Tour, starring Hayley Mills for its first year, opened in Minneapolis in April of 1997; the following year Ms. Mills was replaced, first by Marie Osmond and finally Maureen McGovern. A London version of this production, starring Elaine Paige, opened at the legendary Palladium in May of 2000, where it played for nearly two years before embarking on a U.K. National Tour into 2002.
Today, THE KING AND I still reigns, its majesty still shines. With its legacy assured, we leave the final word to Oscar Hammerstein II. In 1956 he wrote to his partner, Richard Rodgers: I am convinced that this is our best work. I have a kind of humble feeling of not knowing how we did it. It has more wisdom as well as heart than any other musical play by anybody. It will remain 'modern' long after any of our other plays.
THE KING AND I
Block, Geoffrey. The Richard Rodgers Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Ewen, David. Richard Rodgers. New York: Holt, 1957.
Ewen, David. With a Song in His Heart (Richard Rodgers). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963.
Fordin, Hugh. Getting To Know Him: The Biography of Oscar Hammerstein II. New York: Random House, 1977; Decapo Press, 1995.
Green, Stanley. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Story. New York: John Day, 1963; Decapo Press (Paperback), 1980.
Hammerstein II, Oscar. Lyrics. Introduction by the author, Preface by Stephen Sondheim. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 1985.
Landon, Margaret. Anna and the King of Siam. New York: The John Day Company, 1944.
Leonowens, Anna. The English Governess at the Siamese Court. Singapore, Oxford University Press, 1988.
Leonowens, Anna. The Romance of the Harem. Edited by Susan Moran. University Press of Virginia, 1991.
Mordden, Ethan. Rodgers & Hammerstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1992.
Nolan, Frederick. The Sound of Their Music. New York: Walker, 1978; Applause Books, 2002.
Rodgers, Richard. Musical Stages: An Autobiography. New York: Random House, 1975; New York: Jove Paperback, 1978; DeCapo Press, 1995; (Revised Edition, 2002).
Smith, Leslie Dow. Anna Leonowens: A Life Beyond THE KING AND I. Nova Scotia: Pottersfield, 1991.
Taylor, Deems. Some Enchanted Evenings. New York: Harper, 1953.
Outer Critics Circle AwardsJanuary 01, 1952 — 3 Awards including Best Musical Revival
January 01, 1996 — 3 Awards including Best Musical Revival
Drama Desk AwardsJanuary 01, 1996 — 4 Awards including Best Musical Revival
Academy AwardsJanuary 01, 1956 — 5 Awards for the Motion Picture of THE KING AND I:Best Actor, Yul BrynnerArt Direction (Color), Lyle R. Wheeler, John DeCuir; Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott, Paul S. FoxCostume Design, Irene SharaffMusic (Scoring of a Musical Picture), Alfred Newman, Ken DarbySound Recording, 20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department, Carl Faulkner, Sound Director
Tony AwardsJanuary 01, 1996 — 4 Awards for 1996 Broadway Revival of THE KING AND I:Best Revival (Musical), Dodger Productions, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, James M. Nederlander, Perseus Productions, John Frost, The Adelaide Festival Centre, The Rodgers and Hammerstein OrganizationBest Actress (Musical), Donna MurphyBest Costume Designer, Roger KirkBest Scenic Designer, Brian Thomson
Vocal Range of Characters:
Notes on the Original Broadway Production
These notes were culled from conversations with Gemze de Lappe, a performer in both the original Broadway cast and the 1956 20th Century Fox film version of THE KING AND I. Ms. de Lappe also assisted Jerome Robbins in mounting subsequent productions of THE KING AND I, including the original West End production in London in 1953.
THE KING: The character of the King is that of a man who is secure in his power. He is serious and intellectual and anxious to bring Western knowledge to Siam. He is not a man of anger or petulance. Because he has never known anything but absolute and unquestioned authority there is little reason for him to need to resort to bombastic behavior. This changes only as Anna begins to challenge him and he is forced to pit his vision of a civilized Siam against his own ego. When the King is first revealed (in Act One, Scene Three) the mood surrounding him is one of serenity and decorum. The court dancers and music should provide an effect akin to classical music being played softly in the background. He sits on a dais which places him physically and spiritually above everyone else in the room. His subjects do not look directly at him. In his presence their hands are kept in praying position. The court’s behavior in front of the King is always one of utmost respect.
ANNA: Anna is in many ways a very modern woman. To her, business is business. She is confident, she understands the job she has been hired to do, and is she is willing to stand up for what she believes is correct. Her flaw is her temperament. Without this flaw she could be mistakenly perceived as merely a colonialist, which misses the point of the story.
LOUISLouis is about eight. He has been brought up in the middle class of the Victorian era. He is polite to and respectful of those around him, but sincerely so. He should appear to be a couple of years younger than Chulalongkorn.
CHULALONGKORN: Chulalongkorn is about ten. He looks to be a couple of years older than Louis. As the Crown Prince he is given deferential treatment by the entire court. Only his father outranks him. His manner can seem rigid and his bearing militaristic as he tries to walk in his father’s footsteps, on his way to becoming the king his parents and his country need him to be.
TUPTIM: Tuptim should not show herself as a victim at the start of the play (“My Lord and Master”). She becomes a victim as the play progresses. She arrives at the Siamese court not only angry and indignant at being made a gift but consternated that she is not allowed to communicate with Lun Tha, her lover. Eventually her love for Lun Tha gets the best of her, and she reveals herself to disastrous results for both of them.
AMAZONS: These women guards should be in every scene in which the Wives appear. They are strong, strapping women whose demeanor tells us they are willing and able to protect the Wives, who have been placed in their care.
The King’s Court is made up as naturally as possible, except for the Royal Dancers in #38 “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” Ballet. These characters make up with white faces and red lips as well as darker eyebrows and eyeliner. The Court Dancers in #6. Vignettes and Dance and the Schoolroom Dancer in #16. “Getting To Know You” are made up naturally, with a little exaggeration of the eyes.
3. ATTITUDES & FACES
The Royal Dancers in the Ballet do not look up or out, but keep their eyes averted down. The exception is the expression of fear which is accompanied by an exaggerated opening of the eyes.
4. BASIC VOCABULARY OF THE BOWS
Throughout the play the members of the court perform different kinds of ceremonial bows to the King and to each other. These are specified as:
[A] Prostrate (Kneeling, sitting on heels, body bent forward with forearms, palms and forehead on the floor)
[B] On One Knee
[C] Standing (Hands in prayer position, bending from the upper back)
[D] Kneeling (Sitting on heels)
[E] Kneeling High (Straight from the knees up)
When leaving the presence of the King all member of his court back away from him respectfully, leaning forward with hands in prayer position. At a certain point they may turn and exit the stage quickly.
These bows are demonstrated in the choreographic video.
5. CHOREOGRAPHIC NOTES
#6. Vignettes and Dance
In the original production the dancers being made up in the corridor were not the same dancers who were preset in the King’s library and were dancing for him as he was revealed in act one, scene three.
The dance being performed for the King should set a mood of dignity and intellectual sophistication. The mood of the musical underscore and the dancing should be one of soft murmurs – beautiful, gentle, lovely movement, slightly sensuous and serene.
This dance is demonstrated in the choreographic video.
#11. The March of Siamese Children
This is the introduction of the King’s Children, who enter from upstage right, one by one, bow before the King, cross down to Anna, and touch her hands to their foreheads. They then back up to take kneeling positions stage right, having been guided into place by their mothers.
1st CHILD (Girl) holding a doll in her arms, is carried on by one of the Amazons, who sets her down at the bottom of the steps. She gives the doll to the Amazon before bowing to the King. She then goes to Anna and is guided back into position by her mother. The Amazon backs off right.
2nd CHILD (Boy) is carried on by an Amazon, bows to the King, goes to Anna and is then guided back into position by his mother. The Amazon exits right.
3rd & 4th CHILDREN (Twins) walk on together holding hands, do their bows together and are guided back into position by their mother.
5th CHILD (Boy) walks on, does bow to King, is about to touch Anna’s hands, looks at his own hands, realizes they are dirty, rubs his hands on the seat of his trousers, then does his bow to Anna and is guided back into position by his mother.
6th CHILD (Girl) walks on, stares at Anna all through her bow to the King, fascinated, then crosses down to Anna, does a normal bow to her, then makes a grab at Anna’s skirt, lifting it and looking beneath it. The Kings steps forward, angrily claps his hands, and she is shamefacedly guided back into position by her mother.
7th CHILD (Prince Chulalongkorn) At bar 53 of the music Chulalongkorn strides on proudly, stopping at center and facing front on the 13th beat (the downbeat of bar 59.) On the 1st beat of bar 61 he comes down center, turning on the 5th beat (downbeat of bar 62) to face his father on the 9th beat (downbeat of bar 65.) On the 13th beat (downbeat of bar 67) he drops to his knees. On the 15th beat (downbeat of bar 68) he prostrates himself to his father. On the 1st beat of the next bar (downbeat of bar 69) he straightens up. On the 3rd beat (downbeat of bar 70) he stands. On the 5th beat (downbeat of bar 71) the King returns his bow. On the 9th beat (downbeat of bar 73) Chulalongkorn moves to Anna. They regard each other, and at bar 77 she slowly curtseys to him, deeply and respectfully. At bar 79 he responds with the same bow he exchanged with his father. At bar 81 he backs up and is received by Lady Thiang, who guides him to his place as the next child enters (bar 83.) All of Chulalonghorn’s moves should be made with military precision and bespeak his regal bearing. He is his father’s son.
8th CHILD (Boy) performs a straightforward bow to the King and a curtsey to Mrs. Anna.
9th CHILD (Girl) After her bows to the King and Anna she turns and starts to walk into position right. Her mother points to her and indicates that she has forgotten something and that she should turn back. Realizing her mistake, she turns to Anna, takes a red rose from the hair and offers it to Anna. Then she backs into position assisted by her mother.
10th CHILD (Princess Ying Yaowlak) enters smiling and starts to mount the dais to embrace her father. He hastily pushes her away, she bows. Going to Anna she is crestfallen, but as she retreats from Anna the King smiles at her and she smiles back at him joyously.
11th CHILD (Boy) performs a straightforward bow to the King and a curtsey to Mrs. Anna.
12th CHILD (Smallest Boy) is carried on by an Amazon, who sets him down and exits right. The child crosses to the King, who is looking in another direction, and tugs at his penuang. Receiving the King’s attention he bows and then bows to Anna and backs into position.
On the final beat of music all Wives and Children prostrate themselves to the King and Anna.
#31. “Western People Funny”
The staging needs to be simple and believable. The comedy derives from the Wives reaction to wearing Western clothing and especially Western shoes for the first time. Western clothes are very restrictive to these women. They can’t move in them the way they are used to moving in their own clothes. They find themselves, some with one shoe off and one shoe on, having trouble sitting down and maneuvering past each other. If the actors believe in the situation the audience will accept it. The joke as Hammerstein has written it is not on the Siamese but on the Westerners who sentimentalize them. (“They think they civilize us whenever they advise us to learn to make the same mistake that they are making too.”)
#38. “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” (Ballet)
The dancers never look directly out at the audience, as they would always avert their eyes from the King.
One of the small children (but not the smallest) should portray Buddha.
The bows that the six principals take at the end of the ballet are demonstrated in the choreographic video.
[NOTE: Gemze de Lappe (the original King Simon of Legree) points out that during the rehearsals of the original production she watched Yul Brynner to help her create her own King character. Since the ballet is Tuptim’s invention she has created the character of King Simon of Legree with her anger toward the King of Siam in mind.]
#49. EXIT MUSIC (Bows at end of Show)
Corps Dancers and SingersChildren Supporting Roles (Sir Edward, Phra Alak, Captain Orton)Solo DancersPrincipal Roles
Although the encores for both “Hello, Young Lovers” and “Getting To Know You” have been retained in the piano vocal score and instrumental parts, this has been done for historical purposes only. Encores were often called for in an era when it was not unusual for a star of Gertrude Lawrence’s magnitude to provide them. This was especially the case as the songs were being introduced for the first time. However, keeping in mind that the running time of the original Broadway production was three hours and two minutes, these encores should not be included in contemporary productions of THE KING AND I unless the audience demands them.
About The King and I, The New York Times
Written By: Rodgers and Hammerstein
'Anna and the King of Siam,' being itself a biography based on an actual diary, demanded much more fidelity than would a satire, a fairy tale, or a revue. Dealing with a governess who went to the court of Siam in 1861 to teach English to the royal children, the quality of the original book was its authentic feeling, its simple statement of facts and occurrences, which were fantastic enough to need no embellishment.
Our basic problem was how far we could capture this remote reality and still give our production the lift and glow that all musical plays must have. Obviously THE KING AND I is not an example of stark realism in the theatre, or a documentary work on the Orient in the middle of the nineteenth century. We have not been slavishly literal in following the book, nor completely conscientious historically. But in spite of whatever factual compromises we have seen fit to make, we have tried very hard, within our own romantic medium, to present the King and Anna as the genuine and fascinating man and woman we believe they were.
The strength of their story lies in the violent changes they wrought in each other. Yet their life together bears unmistakable implications of deep mutual attraction$mdash;a man and woman relationship so strong and real and well founded that it seems in some ways more than a love affair, more than a marriage. The intangibility of their strange union was a challenge to us as librettist and composer. In dealing with them musically we could not write songs which said 'I love you' or even 'I love him' or ' I love her.' We were dealing with two characters who could indulge themselves only in oblique expressions of their feelings for each other, since they themselves did not realize exactly what those feelings were.
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- THE KING AND I - Orchestration Package (28 Books/27-28 Players)
- 1 – Piano Conductor Score
- 1 – Flute I
- 1 – Flute II (Doubles Piccolo)
- 1 – Oboe (Optional Doubling English Horn)
- 1 – Clarinet III (Doubling Bass Clarinet)
- 1 – Bassoon
- 1 – Horn III
- 1 – Trumpet III
- 1 – Trombone I
- 1 – Trombone II
- 1 – Tuba
- 2 – Percussion
- 2 – Violin A (Divisi)
- 2 – Violin B (Divisi)
- 1 – Violin C
- 1 – Viola (Divisi)
- 1 – Cello
- 1 – Bass
- 1 – Harp
- 1 – Clarinet I
- 1 – Clarinet II
- 1 – Horn I
- 1 – Horn II
- 1 – Trumpet I
- 1 – Trumpet II
- THE KING AND I - Rehearsal Set (22 Books)
- 20 – Libretto-Vocal
- 2 – Piano Conductor Score
- 1 – Digital Logo
- THE KING AND I - Two Piano Arrangement (2 Act I, 2 Act 2)
- 2 – Two Piano Arrangement - Act I
- 2 – Two Piano Arrangment - Act II
- THE KING AND I - Full Score, 1 Act I, 1 Act II
- 1 – Full Score, Act I
- 1 – Full Score, Act II
- THE KING AND I - Libretto/Vocal Books 10 pack
- 10 – Libretto-Vocal
- THE KING AND I - Pre-Production Package
- 1 – Libretto-Vocal
- 1 – Piano Vocal Score
- 1 – Piano Conductor Score
- The King and I Flat Bundle
- 1 – Flat Banners
- 1 – Flat Facebook Tabs
- 1 – Flat Print
- 1 – Flat Headers
- 1 – Flat Poster Red
- 1 – Flat Poster Black
- The King and I Layered Bundle
- 1 – Layered Banners
- 1 – Layered Poster
- 1 – Layered Print
- 1 – Layered Facebook Tabs
- 1 – Layered Headers
- Transpositions are available on demand, please email Theatre@rnh.com to request a transposition.
Large singing-dancing ensemble consisting of Royal Dancers, Wives, Children, Priests and Amazons
Sir Edward Ramsay
Princess Ying Yaowalak
Nine Princes and Eight Princesses
Eighteen Royal Dancers
Ten Priests of Siam
Ten Royal Wives
THE KING AND I takes place in and around the King's Palace in Bangkok, Siam during the early 1860s.
Deck of the ship Chow Phya
King's Library in the Royal Palace
Reception Room at Palace
Theatre Pavilion in Palace
Room in Anna's House (Dismantled)
1 Exterior Tab
1 Interior Tab
Onstage Percussion for #38 "The Small House of Uncle Thomas (Ballet)" can be found in the Libretto-Vocal book.
- Vector Title
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