Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'The King and I' to appear March 28 at Eisenhower

February 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” a NETworks Presentations LLC production based on the 2015 Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater Production, will make its Penn State premiere at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, “The King and I” boasts a score featuring such beloved classics as “Getting to Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British school teacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

In the words of Bartlett Sher, director of the 2015 Broadway production and the first national tour, “Great classics come back to us when we need them the most. In order to live up to the scale of its ambition, we have to go both backward and forward in time. It’s like having one foot in the past as deeply as we can, one foot in the present and our eyes looking out as far ahead as we can to see how it resonates.”

Tony winner Sher reunited for “The King and I” with the creative team from the Lincoln Center Theater productions of “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza.” The creative team for this new tour includes direction by Shelley Butler, based on Sher’s original direction, featuring sets by Michael Yeargan (Tony winner for “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza”), costumes by Catherine Zuber (seven-time Tony winner, including “The King and I”), lights by Donald Holder (Tony winner for “South Pacific” and “The Lion King”), sound by Scott Lehrer (Tony winner for “South Pacific”), musical supervision by Ted Sperling, and casting by Jason Styres, CSA.

“Now feels like the perfect time to bring forward this powerful story with its depiction of clashing cultures and its journey toward understanding,” Butler said. “It is a great pleasure to helm the tour with a dynamic cast of 33 actors, including an array of international company members. It is an honor and a privilege to continue the vision of Bartlett Sher and the brilliant Lincoln Center Theater creative team.”

Choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (“Newsies”) has been recreated for this tour by Associate Choreographer Greg Zane, based on the original choreography by Jerome Robbins. The production features the musical’s original 1951 orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennet, with dance and incidental music arranged by Trude Rittmann.

For more information, visit Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra cost to ticket holders. Reservations are required by Thursday, March 14. To reserve the service, phone 814-238-0132.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Designer’s Studio and Kish Bank sponsor the presentation. The Sidney and Helen S. Friedman Endowment provides support.

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  • A woman and a man sit on the floor with their heads propped in their hand.

    Angela Baumgardner portrays Anna Leonowens and Pedro Ka’awaloa is the King of Siam in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”

    IMAGE: Matthew Murphy

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 28, 2019