The King and I
“I am Confused”
We have all seen Disney movies. The castle in the beginning with the whimsical music played over it. The beautiful animation that allows each character to be unique and exquisite purely because of the way lines on paper are shaped. The King and I, directed by Barlett Sher, was reminiscent of those childhood movies. A grand ship fills the opening scene, where the sky is a fiery red and the music plays, filled with the promise of adventure. It is set up to be a fantastic tale of an independent woman in the 1800s, a curiosity of her time. Laura Michelle Kelly makes Anna her own form of Disney princess as a strong and empathetic teacher similar to Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. As I sat enthralled by a show that made me want to smile like a little girl discovering a new princess, you can imagine my surprise when I watched the audience begin to leave.
Slowly, small clusters would drift out the door, never to return to their seats. So for the better part of a half an hour, I mused what could be causing these people to leave? What was I missing? It couldn’t be the cast, because The King and I had sublime casting with excellent voices, and the small children (such as one of the youngest ones played by Rylie Sickles) were so adorable I don’t see how anyone could want to walk away from them. Was it the story itself? I cannot imagine so considering several of the last shows we have been to this season have been achingly slow and heartbreakingly boring, and yet less people walked out of those. The set, designed by Michael Yeargan, and the costumes, designed by Catherine Zuber, were so gorgeous and intricate that I couldn’t tear my eyes off of them, let alone walk away. As one of the first full pit orchestras in a few shows, the local musicians and conductor (Gerald Steichen) had no problems that I was able to detect. Each note flowed smoothly into the next, and the songs were played seamlessly.
The final conclusion I came to was confusion. The audience members either must not have known the length of the show (with a run time of 2 hours and 55 minutes) or thought it was over at intermission. For, even if the show was lengthy and a little dry at times, it does not make sense that this is the show audience members are walking out of. The show is at the Orpheum Theater until Sunday, March 5th, and is visually stunning and a captivating storyline. It is filled with characters you want to cheer for, plus a heaping amount of character development throughout the story. It is a funny and light hearted take on some deeper, darker issues. This show will hopefully have you leaning forward in your seat in order to see better, and not getting up out of it.