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The King and I

Music by RICHARD ROGERS Book & Lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II

Based on the novel entitled ĎAnna and the King of Siamí by Margaret Landon

This amateur production is given by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD.
on behalf of THE ROGERS & HAMMERSTEIN THEATRE LIBRARY of NEW YORK.

The Hitchin Thespians are pleased to announce their production of The King and was performed at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Lytton Way, Stevenage from 5-10 March 2001.

Produced by Jim Snell, assisted by Mollie Gilbert. Musical Direction by Roger Heath.

SYNOPSIS

ACT 1

The musical opens on a sailing vessel carrying a widow, Mrs Anna Leonowens and her son Louis towards Bangkok. The time is the early 1860ís. Anna, who has been appointed governess to the children of the King of Siam, is greeted by the Prime Minister. He has been assigned to show Anna to her rooms in the Palace. Anna is not pleased: she had been promised a monthly salary and a house of her own; but she agrees to go to the Palace to speak with the King.

A courtier, Lun Tha arrives from Burma with Tuptim, a present to the King. Sadly Lun Tha and Tuptim have fallen in love, but cannot be together. Anna is introduced to the King who dismisses her request for a house. Lady Thiang, the head wife, tries to explain the situation to Anna, but she has already formed her own opinion of the King's manner.

When the children are introduced to Anna, her apprehensions are quelled as she falls in love with them. She begins teaching, enjoying the new challenges, but meets difficulties explaining snow to children who have never seen it, and explaining Burma's presence on the World Map. The King is supportive and secretly seeking to learn all he can himself, but angers Anna with his constant dismissal of any promise of a house.

Lun Tha and Tuptim continue to meet secretly, chaperoned by Anna.

Lady Thiang begs Anna to go to the King who, having received a letter from the British suggesting he is a barbarian, is in need of advice but too proud to ask for it. Anna goes to the King and plans are made that a visit by the British diplomat Sir Edward Ramsay will be an opportunity to put on a dinner, ball and play to try to create a better impression. The Act closes with the King ordering the court to pray for help in their cause, and making a promise to Anna to give her the house she has pestered him for.

ACT 2

The dinner is a great success, despite the discomfort of the King during Tuptimís presentation of "The Small House of Uncle Thomas", and Sir Edward leaves persuaded that the King and his regime are not barbaric. The King is pleased with Anna and in their growing friendship is enforced by the Kingís insistence that Anna teach him the "English dance".

The mood is broken with the news that Tuptim and Lun Tha have vanished together. On their discovery, Lun Tha is killed and Tuptim returned to the Palace. The King is enraged and, about to whip Tuptim, is reminded by Anna that the action is savage and barbaric and that this is a trait he had strived so hard to reject. The King turns away. Anna packs her bags, feeling unable to stay she plans to embark the next boat leaving Bangkok.

Then she receives a note from the King, who is dying, expressing his gratitude to her. Anna reaches the King just in time. He is surrounded by his wives and children who beg her to stay. Anna realises how much she loves then and they need her, especially Prince Chulalongkorn, who will succeed his father. She agrees to stay, whereupon the King dies.

MUSICAL NUMBERS

Overture, "I Whistle A Happy Tune", "My Lord And Master", "Hello, Young Lovers", "The March Of The Siamese Children", "A Puzzlement", "Getting To Know You", "We Kiss In A Shadow", "Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You?", "Something Wonderful", "I Have Dreamed", "Shall We Dance?".

MAJOR PROFESSIONAL RUNS & FILMS

The Broadway opening was on March 29 1951 at the St.James Theatre. It ran for 1246 performances. The cast included Gertrude Lawrence (Anna), Yul Brynner (The King).

The London opening on 8 October 1953 was at the Drury Lane Theatre. Valerie Hobson took the role of Anna playing opposite Herbert Lom as the King.

Further productions opened in 1977 and 1985 on Broadway.

A major Broadway revival was staged in 1996 with Lou Diamond Phillips as the King. The London Revival opened on 3 May 2000 with Elaine Paige as Anna and Jason Scott Lee as the King.

A film version was produced in 1956 by Twentieth Century-Fox, starring Deborah Kerr (singing dubbed by Marni Nixon) and Yul Brynner.

The King and I has been highly acclaimed winning, amongst others, 4 Tony and 6 Academy Awards.

 

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