Theatre Review: “The King And I” Is A Night I Will Never Forget

"The King And I"


 

A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam’s children.

Based on the 1944 novel ‘Anna and the King of Siam,’ the hit Broadway classic musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” is making it’s North Texas debut at The Music Hall at Fair Park. Six time Tony Award winner, Michael A Jenkins, and Dallas Summer Musicals Inc. give the audience an exciting new production with a revamped script, stunning original set design and powerful moving choreography. The timeless score and fresh new approach to script, set and character development bring to the stage a fresh interpretation of this musical theatre classic.

I try very hard to be objective when doing a review. I must admit however, that I entered the Music Hall slightly jaded. In my life BC (before children) I studied music and drama, and performed anywhere a director would give me a chance. Nearly 20 years after my last curtain call, I still have a headshot close at hand, and a resume to attach to it. Mind you, the headshot is simply to prove to my kids that I too once was adored. “The King and I” is one of my favorites musicals, and perhaps because of that, I tend to be very critical and picky about any performance I see of it. Thank you Dallas Summer Musicals for bringing this jaded theatre rat to streaming tears and snorting laughter with this production.

“What makes Dallas Summer Musicals’ revival of ‘The King and I’ special is the chemistry between Alan Ariano as the King, and Rachel York as Anna”, said director Glen Casale. I couldn’t agree more.

The curtain opened, and I was transported to 1862 Siam. English widow Anna Leonowens and her son begin their adventure at the Bangkok boat docks. Anna has been summoned by the King of Siam to tutor his many children and wives in the scientific ways of the West. The King wishes the world to know that he is no barbarian. With each scene change I was drawn further in. Michael Anania’s scenic design was complete, detailed, lavish, thoroughly transforming the DSM stage into a bright Siamese palace. I become so completely wrapped up in the story, music and set design, that it took me quite by surprise when the curtain closed for intermission!

Although most of the cast are not local, it was a delightful surprise to learn that DSM auditioned and cast the King’s children from local theatre programs. With the exception of Prince Chulalongkorn (Major Curda), the King’s children were young actors from Dallas, Frisco, Cleburne, Denton, Coppell, Rowlett and Lantana.

This is a musical not to be missed, and most assuredly one to take your children and grandchildren to. Be aware that it is a very long show with a run time of nearly 2 1/2 hours, so very young children may not be able to stay still and entertained for quite that long. The night that I attended there were many families, and even a middle school drama class attending. The lobby was a buzz with excitement before the show, and even more so at intermission. After the show, audience members shared their delight at the latest spectacular offering from Dallas Summer Musicals.

“The King and I” runs through Sunday, April 5th at the Music Hall at Fair Park

5 Comments on this post.

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  • David D.G.
    28 March 2015 at 11:11 AM

    Very nice! I especially liked the way you concisely and entertainingly gave your credentials and “where you were coming from” for evaluating the play.

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  • IrishFilmCritic
    28 March 2015 at 12:51 AM
  • Yvette
    27 March 2015 at 11:44 PM

    Such a great, classic story – one of my favorites. Thanks for the great review of the play. Makes me want to go see it.

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  • Jean Butts
    27 March 2015 at 11:14 PM

    Your description makes me feel like I was there. Maybe I should be!

    Leave a Reply
    • IrishFilmCritic
      28 March 2015 at 12:51 AM

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