The Revival of “The King and I”

The revival of a popular musical called the “King and I” was performed at the Lincoln center on August 13th, 2015. Based on the novel, Anna and the King Siam by Margaret London, music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, the musical renamed “The King and I” was created.

It was first produced at the St. James Theatre on March 29, 1951 and has now been transformed into a performance that takes place at Lincoln Center. This musical is about a school teacher named Anna who tries to help an Eastern King understand the real world. Conflicts between eastern and western cultures and traditions cause hardships between the two main characters which inspired the musical.

The play starts off with the main character, Anna played by Kelli O’Hara, on a 19th century steam boat sailing towards the land of Siam where she would teach the many, many children of the King. As soon as she arrives to meet the King, they quickly run into problems. How does a strong headed King and an extremely confident school teacher get along? They both begin to accept their drastic differences, as well as beginning an unspoken love story.

The playbill used to promote "The King and I". Photo Credit: Lincoln Center

The playbill used to promote “The King and I”. Photo Credit: Lincoln Center

The Western tradition is represented through the music, performances, costumes and stories told throughout the musical. One performance in particular which embraces the Siamese culture was called “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” which may sound familiar to a book called Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but don’t let the name fool you. This was performed for an audience from America which the King of Siam wanted to impress. By infusing some western details into a traditional Siamese story made it funny and whimsical to watch.

One of the biggest themes in the musical is the character progression made by the King of Siam. The King starts off as a man who believes that he’s always right and that he could do everything on his own with the help of no one but himself. But soon accepts the help from Anna when he desperately needed it and has learned when to ask for help.

Darnell Reed said, “My favorite part of the musical was watching how the King went from someone who thought they knew everything and not needing anyone’s input to actually finding out there is still things he has to learn and letting the women who teaches the kids (Anna) show him and get closer to him.”

This must-see musical will be on going until March of 2016 before they begin their national tour. The ticket prices range from $97.00 in the upper area and up to $187.00 to be in the orchestra area. Tickets sell quickly, so make sure you get your tickets early to enjoy this legendary musical!