Riedel: Kelli O'Hara in THE KING AND I coming to the Beaumont...

Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Lizzie, first of all, I'm not over 90 years old although I do read books (ever heard of them?); secondly, don't get ur panties in a swivet because I stated that there was a precedent for non-Asians playing the king. It's the same hullabaloo (another archaic expression that someone of your tender years wouldn't understand) that faced Jonathan Pryce when he did the Engineer (by the way, junior, he won the Tony that year). As long as he has the charisma and talent to play the king, I have no problem with the ethnic background of whoever plays the role. Now, calm down and have a nice ice cream soda with all the other knowledgable kids on your block, if there are any.
BroadwayEd
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
There's a precedent for a lot of dumb things, but that doesn't mean anyone needs to repeat them.

Love,
LizzieCurry, reader of books / copy editor of one / formerly a newspaper designer
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
Updated On: 4/19/12 at 12:59 PM
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
"Cerveris was mentioned in another thread. I highly doubt they would cast a white King in 2012. Come on now...."

Come on now what? I wasn't suggesting Cerveris, ljay, but merely expressing surprise that his name had not come up at all, give he's so ubiquitous. I hadn't seen the mention in the other thread. I don't spend all that much time here.
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
...yes, Pryce managed to play the Engineer without any cultural fallout of any kind!
Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/12/08
If I'm not mistaken, Noel Coward was asked to write the score, not play the king.

I seem to recall hearing that Rex Harrison, who'd played him in the non-musical film, was first approached.

But I may be wrong.

EDIT: I meant Rex Harrison had played the king of Siam, not that he'd played Noel Coward. Though the latter makes more sense.













Updated On: 4/19/12 at 01:15 PM
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
I'm greatly looking forward to Kelli O'Hara in Flower Drum Song at the Beaumont in 2015.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Your absolutely right about Rex Harrsion (I forgot that one), Reginald, but somewhere it sticks in the craw of my mind that Coward was also asked to play the king and turned it down because he didn't want to play it more than six months. I'm pretty sure that Gertrude Lawrence originally approached R&H about writing the musical, though.
BroadwayEd
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
I, for one, would much rather see one of Sher's other favorite leading ladies, Lauren Ambrose, take on Anna.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/12/08
Ed, for what it's worth, Wikipedia seems to say we're both sort of right.

It claims Cole Porter was approached first and declined. Coward was next on the list, but Lawrence's manager ran into Hammerstein's wife and suggested the project.

As for casting, "The obvious choice was Rex Harrison, who had played the King in the movie, but he was booked, as was Noel Coward. Alfred Drake, the original Curly in Oklahoma!, made contractual demands which were too high."







Updated On: 4/19/12 at 01:34 PM
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Kelli O'Hara would be a perfect Anna. And hopefully it would finally net her a Tony.
jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Ed_Mottershead you are talking about a time when people still dressed in black face and Katherine Hepburn could wear prosthetics play an Asian and Charlie Chan was not yet seen as the racial stereotype that he was. Your casting suggestion is wrong, and your examples to defend it are painfully outdated. Let's not forget what we learned from Cameron when he cast Jonathan Pryce in Miss Saigon. If you don't remember that mess, I am sure you can read about it in a book.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Jimmy Curry, hmmmm. Hope u don't have the misfortune to be married to that bitch.
BroadwayEd
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Interesting to think of Harrison in King and I, and also interesting to think of Irene Dunne, who played Anna opposite Harrison in the movie as doing the musical with him. Dunne was a very accomplished singer. (and please don't assume from this comment that I am advocating a non-East Asian as the King).
sara
Swing
joined:6/9/04
Perhaps Kelli should not play Anna,seeing as she is not an English woman
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
That is vastly different than having a white actor portray an Asian man and you know it.
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Ed, perhaps you are too young to remember 110 in the Shade.

BTW I <3 you Kad.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
Updated On: 4/19/12 at 02:39 PM
jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Sara, that is a ridiculous comparison, and you should be ashamed for making it. Race is a very important issue in The King and I. The British see the Siamese as being barbarians, and beneath them in intelligence and morality until after the dinner party. When racial tension is a central issue, you cannot use "color blind casting" to populate the show with actors that do not make sense with the issue at hand.
Oh, and for the record, technically Anna was born to an English father and a half English-half Indian mother in India. She really wasn't all that English.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
RIGHT. BECAUSE SPAIN IS SO CLOSE TO THAILAND.
What is wrong with some of you people?!


Yul Brynner was Russian
Lou Diamond Phillips is Spanish, Scottish/Irish, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Cherokee

But Antonio Banderas is unacceptable for not being Thai? I get what you're saying, but it's rare that foreign ethnic casting ever truly matches nationality. I think Banderas is a ridiculous choice, but not because he's Spanish. Mostly because he's always the go-to for the hunky hot foreign lead and he's not right for everything.

I'd like to see Tim Kang from THE MENTALIST as KING.

Excellent idea! Love that guy. Though it's the longest of long shots, I would love to see Mel Maghuyop from the recent Walnut Street production with Rachel York because he's a friend and he's fantastic, so I'll just put it out there.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Yul Brynner was half-Mongolian, wasn't he? But regardless, that was a bygone era.

I don't think this type of casting has to be 100% ethnically accurate down to the country (were there any half-white/half-Vietnamese Tams)? But I know you know what I'm talking about.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
bwayfan7000
Broadway Legend
joined:3/28/09
I would say the King is one of the toughest roles to cast, if one is looking to find an actor who is both right for the role and culturally appropriate. I'm having a hard time thinking of any actors these days who are right for it and the correct ethnicity, even with all the suggestions on here. I'm going to be very curious to see how they cast that role.

Otherwise, I think Kelli will be perfect, and I can't wait to see this production on the Beaumount stage. I can only imagine how thrilling some of the sequences have the potential to be.
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos."-Stephen Sondheim
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Western people funny.
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
As long as he has the charisma and talent to play the king, I have no problem with the ethnic background of whoever plays the role

Unfortunately, I imagine that a lot of Asian actors who would be passed over the role for a white actor (you know, for like the 1000000th time) would probably have a problem with it. I love how it's completely okay to cast a white actor as the King of Siam, but people would flip the F*CK out if there was an ethnic Anna because it'd be "inaccurate" (which I'd agree with, given the Uncle Tom's Cabin sequence, but the double standard is just absurd).
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
God help us all if anyone ever shows that racist video of Olivier as Othello ever again... That stuff makes Birth of a Nation look like the Selma to Montgomery march.
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
I'd like to see James Yaegashi as the King, although he's of Japanese descent, which isn't really that close to Thai... I think he's just great.
sara
Swing
joined:6/9/04
Lincoln Center cast Audra McDonald as Carrie in their great production of Carousel,I didn't hear any comlaints that she was the wrong race.
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Where in Carousel is Carrie referred to by race? Her race is not a factor in the musical at all.

Stop coming up with false equivilances.

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