The King and I Starring Sandy Duncan Comes to Boston Oct. 12-17th
The lavish, new production of Rodger's & Hammerstein's The King & I, starring Sandy Duncan and directed by Baayork Lee, will grace the stage of Boston's Wang Theatre for one week only, when it opens on Tuesday, October 12 and plays through Sunday, October 17, 2004. Press night is scheduled for Wednesday, October 13 at 7:00 PM.
The King & I comes to Boston as part of a national tour, co-produced by Wang Center Productions, Inc., that has received overwhelming critical and popular acclaim since its launch in June 2004. Set in the 1860's in the exotic capital city of Bangkok, The King & I is the timeless love story between a powerful and stubborn king and a determined governess named Anna. Based on the real life adventures of the English widow Anna Leonowens, and the best-selling 1944 novel, "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon, The King & I is a fascinating tale about a clash of customs. Over time Anna earns the admiration of the royal family, and eventually she wins the respect of the king himself. Despite their many differences, Anna and The King of Siam fall in love. The King & I features opulent settings, a beautiful story of honor and forgiveness, and is filled with memorable songs such as "Hello Young Lovers," "I Whistle A Happy Tune," "Shall We Dance?" and "Getting To Know You."
Sandy Duncan was born and raised in Texas and made her theatrical debut in a summer production of The King & I in Dallas at the age of 12. Her New York stage career began at the New York City Center, where she appeared as Louise in Agnes de Mille's production of Carousel, followed by The Music Man, The Sound Of Music, Finian's Rainbow and Life With Father. She got her big break in the Broadway musical Canterbury Tales, for which she received her first Tony Award nomination in 1969 as Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Her second Tony Award nomination was for her starring role in the production of The Boyfriend, for which she received the New York Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Following her Television series "Funny Face," Ms. Duncan returned to Broadway as Peter Pan. Her performance earned her a third Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Musical. She went on to star at New York's Radio City Music Hall in Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Dance! with her husband, Don Correia. The Correia's next starred in Tommy Tune's Tony Award-winning musical My One And Only on Broadway. Ms. Duncan, along with Mr. Tune, took that show on national and international tours. After the completion of her Television series "The Hogan Family" she returned to Broadway as the "Merry Murderess," Roxie Hart, in the Tony Award-winning hit musical Chicago, a performance which won her great acclaim.
After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer, 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre. Oklahoma!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers' sophisticated style of musical comedy (which he had perfected in a twenty-five year partnership with lyricist Lorenz Hart) with Hammerstein's innovations in operetta (conceived in collaboration with such composers as Sigmund Romberg, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml and Jerome Kern.) Oklahoma! was followed by Carousel (1945), the movie State Fair (1945; remade 1962; Broadway premiere, 1996); Allegro (1947), South Pacific (1949), The King And I (1951), Me And Juliet (1953), Pipe Dream (1955), the TV musical Cinderella (1957; Remade 1965, 1997); Flower Drum Song (1958) and The Sound Of Music (1959). Collectively, Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals earned 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards. The original 1951 production of The King & I received five Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 1956 movie adaptation won five Academy Awards.
Baayork Lee's artistic ventures span five continents around the globe. On Broadway she created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, serving as Assistant Choreographer to Michael Bennett. Her directing credits include: Porgy And Bess at the Tome Opera in Italy (which then toured for seven years!), Barnum for Cy Coleman in Sydney, Australia and in the summer of 2002 she directed the European Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. She has directed a number of productions over the past 12 years for the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, including Goya with Placido Domingo.
Choreography is by Susan Kikuchi. Kikuchi was a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1978-1984 and has served as Director of both the Martha Graham Ensemble and the Martha Graham School. She has re-staged many Graham works often in collaboration with her mother, Yuriko, for the Joffrey Ballet and Boston Conservatory. (Yuriko was Jerome Robbins' assistant on the original Broadway production of The King & I and was the choreographer for the recent revival on Broadway.) On the Broadway stage, Ms. Kikuchi was Supervisor of Jerome Robbins' choreography ("The Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet) and Dance Captain for The King & I at the Neil Simon Theater. She was also soloist and Dance Captain in The King & I with Yul Brynner. Other Broadway credits include Pacific Overtures, Flower Drum Song, South Pacific and Jerome Robbins' Broadway.
Musical direction will be provided by Kevin Farrell, Scenic Design by Kenneth Foy, Costume Design by Roger Kirk, Lighting Design by John McLain and Sound Design by Abe Jacob.
The King & I plays at The Wang Theatre October 12 through 17. Performances are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM; Wednesday (press night) and Sunday at 7 PM; with matinees Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 1 PM. Tickets are priced at $75.00, $65.00, $45.00 and $28.00 for all performances; all prices include a $3.00 facility-education fee.
Tickets for The King & I are on sale at The Wang Theatre Box Office, 270 Tremont Street, Boston, online at www.wangcenter.org, or by calling Telecharge.com at 1-800-447-7400, TTY: (888) 889-8587. Discounted tickets are available for groups of twenty or more exclusively through The Wang Theatre/Show of the Month Group Sales at (617) 350-6000. Discounted member tickets are available exclusively through Show of the Month Club, at (617) 338-1111.
The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., operator of The Wang Theatre and The Shubert Theatre, as well as Wang Center Productions, Inc., is a Boston-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to presenting the finest performing artists and cultural attractions from around the world. The Wang Center provides support and maintains unique partnerships with many of Boston's premier arts organizations, including Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, FleetBoston Celebrity Series, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. In partnership with Boston Lyric Opera, The Wang Center will co-produce THE LITTLE PRINCE in its East Coast premiere in February 2005. Through its membership in the Independent Producers Network (IPN), The Wang Center is an investor in Broadway and touring shows, including the Tony Award-winner Thoroughly Modern Millie and the current Broadway hit Bombay Dreams. The Wang Center's commitment to developing new works was expanded last season through the launch of American Voices, a play reading series showcasing classic American works; this season, The Wang will produce one of the plays Sam Shepard's True West in a full production at The Shubert Theartre. Suskind Young At Arts, the education department of The Wang Center, is the third largest of its kind in the country. It motivates young people, inspires teachers and connects communities through innovative programs in the literary, visual and performing arts.