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THE KING AND I

Music and lyrics by RICHARD RODGERS & OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II

Opened March 29, 1951, at the St. James Theatre

Plot Synopsis

The Real King in The King and I

With the help of Hollywood, King Rama IV (ruled 1851-1868) became the most famous king of Siam. Best known as King Mongkut, he was or has been portrayed in the movie and various stage versions as a frivolous, bald-headed despot. But nothing could have been further from the truth, either in real life or in the musical theatre portrayal of the Siamese King.

In fact, he was the first Siamese king to understand the potential impact of Western culture and technology on Siam (later to become Thailand in 1939), and his reign has been described as "the bridge spanning the new and old." King Mongkut spent twenty-seven years as a Buddhist monk prior to his accession to the throne. This gave him a unique opportunity to roam as a commoner among the populace. he learned to read Buddhist scriptures in their original Pali language. Missionaries taught him Latin and English; thus able to read European texts, the monk Mongkut delved into many subjects: history, geography, Christianity, and the sciences, especially astronomy.

Mongkut realized that traditional Siamese values would not save his country from Western encroachment. To the contrary, he believed that modernization would bring Siam in line with the West and reduce hostilities with foreigners. England was the first European country to benefit from this policy when an 1855 treaty granted extraterritorial privileges, a duty of only three percent on imports and permission to bring in Indian opium duty-free. When Mongkut lifted the state monopoly on rice, the crop rapidly became Siam's leading export.

Rama IV wanted his children to gain the same benefits from the English language as himself and started the tradition of future kings being sent to Oxford to round out their education. For this purpose, he engaged Anna Leonowens as an English teacher. The self-elevated governess greatly exaggerated her role at court in her autobiographical writings, misrepresenting the King as a cruel autocrat permanently involved in harem intrigues. her stay in Siam (1862-1867) is hardly mentioned in Thai sources and while her presence at the King's deathbed is a fine dramatic ending to the play, she had in fact already left the country.

King Mongkut's beloved hobby, astronomy, was the indirect cause of his death. From observatories at his favourite palaces, he successfully calculated and predicted a total eclipse of the sun on August 18, 1868. European and Asian skeptics joined him on the southeastern coast of the Gulf of Siam as the moon blocked off the sun's light from the earth. his triumph raised his esteem among Western residents and Eastern astrologers alike. His satisfaction, however, was short-lived; he contracted malaria during the trip down the coast and died two months later.

Cast of Characters (Original Broadway Cast)

Anna Leonowens

Gertrude Lawrence

King Rama IV of Siam

Yul Brynner

Songs from the Show - Act One

Overture

Orchestra

I Whistle a Happy Tune

Anna, Louis

My Lord and Master

Tuptim

Hello, Young Lovers

Anna

The March of the Siamese Children

The Royal Children

Home, Sweet Home and Monks' Chant

Monks, The Royal Children

A Puzzlement

The King

Getting to Know You

Anna, Royal Wives, Children

We Kiss in a Shadow

Lun Tha, Tuptim

Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?

Anna

Something Wonderful

Lady Thiang

Praise to Buddha Chant

The King, Ensemble

Songs from the Show - Act Two

Western People Funny

Lady Thiang, Royal Wives, Amazons

I Have Dreamed

Lun Tha, Tuptim

Hello, Young Lovers (Reprise)

Anna

The Small House of Uncle Thomas

Tuptim, Royal Dancers, Royal Wives, Amazons, Musicians

Song of the King

The King, Anna

Shall We Dance?

Anna, The King

I Whistle a Happy Tune (Reprise)

Anna

 

1986-1987 Production

Presented November 21-29, 1986 at the High School of Commerce, Ottawa, Ontario

Production Team

Artistic Directors

Sheila Shields, J.A. Wallace

Musical Director

Rod Holmes

Choreographer

Debbie Miller-Smith

Production Coordinator

Malvary Cole

Assistant to the Directors

Wayne Nolan

Assistant to the Musical Director

Joyce Landry

Stage Manager

Don Lambton

Assistant Stage Manager

Faye Lavell

Set Designer

Nancy Solman

Costume Designer

Nancy Coll

Properties

Malvary Cole

Sound and Sound Effects

Frank Burke, Bill Butterworth

Lighting Designer

Gerry Austin

Make-up Artist

Billi Langtry

Hair Stylist

Cher Daly

Master Carpenter

John Solman

Workshop Chairman

Tom Shields

Accompanist

Lorna Rice

 Cast

Anna Leonowens

Dianna Renee Yorke

Phra Meha Mongkut (King Rama IV)

Dan Baran

Lady Thiang

Allison Woyiwada

Tuptim

Diane Coulterman

Prince Chulalungkorn

Adrian Proszowski

Louis Leonowens

Joshua Lovejoy

The Kralahome

Stewart Bain

Lun Tha

Trevor Houle

Sir Edward Ramsay

Sam Smith

Phra Alack

Jim Robertson

Captain Orton

Gary King

Princess Ying Yaowlak

Carmay Wong

THE ROYAL DANCERS

 

Eliza

Karen Riopelle

Angel/George

Luke La Rue

Simon of Legree

Chris Amott

Uncle Thomas

Nancy Egan

Little Eva

Deborah Thomson

Little Topsy

Andrea Phillips

Buddha

Sheila Wang

Simon's Guards

Jennifer Charron, Stephanie Douglas, Lorna Hazen, Margo Nightingale

Simon's Dogs

Audrey Saparno, Laurie Young

THE ROYAL WIVES

Elaine Bolduc, Catherine-Elisabeth Cote, Judi Cragg, Christine Drew, Sharron McGuirl, Robin Monaghan, Jennifer Rayner, Deborah Thomson, Judy Vachon, Anabela Vieira, Joyce Wagland, Susan Wray

THE ROYAL CHILDREN

John Inca Anderson, Maria Mespolet, Ha Nguyen, Hang Nguyen, Hien Nguyen, Andrey Saparno, Michael Sharma, Sheila Wang, Gina Webster, Lori Webster, Carmay Wong, Laurie Young

THE AMAZONS

Melodie MacDonald, Carole Quirk, Michele Tardif, Helen van der Pyl

MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD

Chris Amott, Pat Egan, Luke La Rue, Brian Slack

Orchestra

Under the direction of Rod Holmes

Violin

Irving Thompson, Todd Cadieux, Evelyn Chadwick, Florence Dunne, Millicent Shaw

Viola

Eliane Milliquet

Cello

Steven Smith

Bass

Jamie Gatti

Piano

Lorna Rice

Flute

Tom Braun

Flute/Piccolo

Charlie Hendricks

Oboe/English Horn

Veronica Milroy

Clarinet

Mario Gilbert, Bob Piche

Bass Clarinet

Mike Scorah

Bassoon

Jo Ann Simpson

French Horn

Elizabeth Simpson, Francois Trottier

Trumpet

Sid Holmes, Chris Lane

Trombone

Drummond Hudson

Percussion

Art Beers

 

Links to Related Sites

 

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization R&H page: The King and I Musicals.net: The King and I Official Anna and the King website Tribute to The King and I