Meet the King! Learn All About THE KING AND I's Ken Watanabe
As BroadwayWorld just reported, Lincoln Center Theater has announced that Kelli O'Hara will play Anna Leonowens, and Ken Watanabe will play the King of Siam, in its new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. The production, to be directed by Bartlett Sher, will begin performances Thursday, March 12, 2015, and open on Thursday, April 16, 2015, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (150 West 65 Street).
Broadway audiences are already very familiar with the five-time Tony nominee O'Hara, but Watanabe will make his American stage debut in the production. His Japanese theatre credits include Dialogue with Horowitz, Hamlet, Shitayamannen-cho monogatari, The Lion in Winter and The Royal Hunt of the Sun.
Watanabe was introduced to most Western audiences when he was cast in the 2003 film The Last Samurai by prominent Japanese film producer Yoko Narahashi. His performance as Katsumoto earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Watanabe appeared in the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha, playing Chairman Iwamura. That same year, he also played Ra's al Ghul's decoy in Christopher Nolan's Batman film reboot, Batman Begins. In 2006, he starred in Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, playing Tadamichi Kuribayashi. He has voiced Ra's al Ghul's decoy in the Batman Begins video game. He has filmed advertisements for American Express, Yakult, and NTT DoCoMo. In 2004, he was featured in People Magazine 's 50 Most Beautiful People edition. In 2009, he appeared in The Vampire's Assistant. In 2010, he co-starred in Inception, where he stars as Saito, a mark-turned-benefactor businessman of the film's heist team. In 2014, he starred in the Hollywood blockbusters Godzilla and Transformers: Age of Extinction.