The King and I, one of many successful pieces created by the duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, is based off of Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which is derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. In similar fashion, the musical tells the story of Anna and her relationship with the King of Siam as he attempts to bring the influence of the Western world to his kingdom.
Throughout the show, I was very impressed with the performances of both the leading and supporting actors who truly brought the show to life. As Anna Leonowens, Laura Michelle Kelly showed an amazing ability to make the character her own; she was able portray Anna as an independent and witty woman who was capable of making her own decisions and standing up for herself even when people underestimated her. She also showed a very impressive vocal range, which was very important to the overall performance of her character. I also enjoyed the performance of Jose Llana, who portrayed the King of Siam. He was able to make the sometimes harsh and intense character more relatable and even lovable. I was also very impressed by the performances of Manna Nichols, who played Tuptim, and Joan Almedilla, who played Lady Thiang; they both showed incredible vocal talent and were able to bring some of their own personality and independence into the characters.
As far as technical elements go, I really enjoyed the set and the costumes. The use of simple and refined set pieces fit the show very well and reflected the beauty of the culture that the show was based on. The costumes also did an amazing job of bringing the show to life and portraying some of the striking differences between the cultures of England, Anna’s home, and Siam. I especially enjoyed the usage of the set pieces and costumes within the ballet, which had a very elegant and opulent appearance that fit very well with the style of the show.
Overall, the show was very fun to watch and featured some classic songs that perfectly portray the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is a must-see for anyone who is interested in the history of classic musical theatre.