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The King and I – Music Theater of Lincoln Center Revival 1964 Risë Stevens

The King and I – Music Theater of Lincoln Center Revival 1964 Risë Stevens

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Synopsis

Act I Bangkok, Siam, early 1860s. On the boat that brings her to Siam to teach the royal children, Anna Leonowens explains to her young son, Louis, how she remains calm when confronted with uneasy situations – I Whistle A Happy Tune. At the palace, Tuptim, a gift from the Prince of Burma, and Lun Tha, the Burmese emissary who escorted her to Siam, arrive before the King. The King expresses his satisfaction, but Tuptim, in love with Lun Tha, feels desperate – My Lord And Master. After having been presented to the King, Anna is shown to her apartments inside the palace by Lady Thiang, the King’s first wife. Anna is upset – she was promised a little house outside the palace, a clause in her contract the King has apparently not respected. When Tuptim confides in her, and seeks solace, Anna evokes her own romantic youth – Hello, Young Lovers. In the big reception hall of the palace Anna is introduced to the royal children, who are led in by the Crown Prince, Chulalongkorn – March Of The Siamese Children. Weeks have passed. In the palace grounds, the King stops Chulalongkorn, and asks what he has learned so far. The Prince’s evasive answers prompt the King to question his own knowledge – A Puzzlement. In the schoolroom, the royal children are repeating the lesson Anna has taught them. When they ask her if she likes them, Anna responds fondly that she is learning as much as they are – Getting To Know You. When the lesson gets a bit unruly the King steps in and restores order. But when Anna reminds him about his promise to give her a house outside the palace, he avoids the question, and abruptly tells her she is his servant. Meanwhile, Lun Tha and Tuptim get together very briefly, afraid that they might get caught yet unable to stop loving each other – We Kiss In A Shadow. Back in her apartments, Anna is furious over the way the King has treated her – Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You? But Lady Thiang gives her another perspective on her Lord and Master (Something Wonderful) – the King is a proud man, surrounded by people who are not literate and who fear him, and he needs someone he respects to assist and advise him. At Lady Thiang’s behest, Anna goes into the King’s study, but when he notices that she is standing above him, in what he perceives as a mark of disrespect, he extracts from her the promise that her head will never be higher than his. He then informs Anna that a delegation of British diplomats is on its way to Bangkok, and he asks her to help him organize a gala evening in a manner fit for a civilized ruler. In return, the King solemnly promises to build the house Anna had requested. Act II The reception is drawing near, and the King’s wives are ill at ease in their hoopskirts and unable to move in their shoes. To Lady Thiang, the new clothes represent a “puzzlement” – Western People Funny. As preparations for the evening get underway, Lun Tha and Tuptim are making plans of their own to escape back to Burma and fulfill their dreams – I Have Dreamed. The highlight of the evening is a ballet re-enacting, Siamese-style, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Adapted by Tuptim, in a subtle way it denounces the King’s autocratic regime – The Small House Of Uncle Thomas. Though he is evidently annoyed by what he calls an immoral play, the King is also pleased to have shown the British envoys that the Court of Siam is sophisticated and literate. Once alone, he asks Anna about the ball that followed the presentation of the play and the strange occidental custom of dancing arm in arm. Anna shows him how to dance (Shall We Dance?), but they are interrupted by the Kralahome, who informs the King that Tuptim and Lun Tha were captured as they were trying to escape back to Burma. Many weeks pass, and Anna is set to return to England. But Lady Thiang comes to inform her that the King is dying. Anna goes to the King’s study, and as Prince Chulalongkorn, following his father’s instructions, gives the court new sets of rules and regulations, many of them based on Anna’s teachings, the King asks her to stay on and continue the education of his children – Something Wonderful (Reprise).

Credits

Captain Orton: Fred Miller Louis Leonowens: James Harvey Anna Leonowens: Risë Stevens The Interpreter: Rudy Vejar The Kralahome: Michael Kermoyan The King: Darren McGavin Phra Alack: Stuart Mann Tuptim: Lee Venora Lady Thiang: Patricia Neway Prince Chulalongkorn: Barry Robins Princess Ying Yaowalak: Gina Kaye Lun Tha: Frank Porretta Sir Edward Ramsay: Eric Brotherson Princes And Princesses: Kathleen Din, Gina Kaye, Lorrie Kochiyama, Debbie Kogan, May Yee Mark, Annette Misa, Robert Ader, David Aguilar, Delfino DeArco, Lawrence Kikuchi, Eddie Kochiyama The Royal Dancers: Takako Asakawa, Hadassah Badock, Joan Bates, Lisa Berg, Noemi Chiesa, Paula Chin, Miriam Cole, Bettina Dearborne, Carol Drisin, Jeanne Nichtern, Carol Fried, Phyllis Gutelius, Linda Hodes, Susan Kikuchi, Connie Sanchez, Katherine Wilson Wives: Anita Alpert, Theodora Brandon, Dixie Carter, Sharon Dierking, Mona Elson, Carole O’Hara, Hanna Owen, Jean Palmerton Amazons: Leisha Caryle, Beverly Morrison, Joanna Owens, Jeanne Rodriguez Priests/Slaves: Walter Adams, Henry Baker, Lazar Dana, Victor Duntiere, William Duvall, Julius Fields, Fred Hamilton, Stuart Mann, Jim McMillan, Ken Richards, Anthony Saverino Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II Directed by Edward M. Greenberg Musical Director: Franz Allers Orchestrations: Robert Russell Bennett