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The King and I previews thread - Page 21

neonlightsxo
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The King and I#501
Posted: 4/9/15 at 9:33pm

Not to the same degree. Paolo is an opera singer so he knows diction. 

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newintown
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The King and I#502
Posted: 4/10/15 at 9:57am

I don't think  have anything substantive to add - it's a gorgeous production; sets and costumes are top-notch. The orchestra sounds glorious (it's amplified, of course, but I don't think we'll here an unamplified orchestra on Broadway ever again, so...).


O'Hara is exactly right for Anna; it's never been a role that interests me much - she's something of a perfect, sexless, wise, beautiful, classy character with no flaws or real issues. But O'Hara sings the score beautifully, and hits all her emotional marks.


Watanabe is very powerful, funny, moving - except I couldn't understand probably about half the words that came out of his mouth. Particularly when he speaks quickly, he abandons most of his consonants.


Corpuz is an adolescent Chulalongkorn, with great adolescent anger. I enjoyed his take, and haven't seen an actor this old play the part. It was interesting to hear the "Puzzlement" reprise sung by one changed voice and one unchanged (Louis).


Ashley Park is just exactly right as Tuptim.


Personally, I found that Ricamora and (to a lesser extent) Miles were trying to make far too much out of Lun Tha and Tiang. And Ricamora just doesn't have the voice to do justice to "I Have Dreamed" - it was ragged and he couldn't get to the high notes. His line readings are just strange, and he seems to be trying to add dimensions to the character that just aren't there (screaming lines at random doesn't really equal "acting"). Miles employs a lot of contemporary body language in her performance (she can't keep her hands off her hips).


Most refreshing, after the mess that is Gigi, and other ill-considered "revisals" of past years is to see the work of a production team that obviously has respect for the material they're doing. And who are willing to spend the money to do a truly first-class production, not the cut-rate, economy mediocrities many of us have been forced  to learn to accept.

Updated On: 4/10/15 at 09:57 AM
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OlBlueEyes
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The King and I#503
Posted: 4/10/15 at 11:32am

 


Odd that you should characterize Anna as perfect, sexless and classy. You know that the show was written for and at the request of Gertrude Lawrence, who was pretty much none of those things. A little biographical note:


 


Lawrence understudied Bea Lillie in Andre Charlot's London revues on the 1920s, and became their star when they were brought to Broadway in 1924 and 1926. She was one of the foremost comediennes of her time, capable of playing both slapstick clowns and elegant ladies. Her great charisma is attested to by those who saw her onstage, but her films fail to convey her charm.


 


Pity that no recording of her performance has survived.


 

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OlBlueEyes
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The King and I#504
Posted: 4/10/15 at 11:44am

Peace, BSW. I just couldn't understand the purpose of your post.


 


But I was in the fourth row of the orchestra, but without any seats in rows 1, 2, or 3 to obstruct the view and when Kelli moved up to the spots where seats two and three would have been, with respect to her I felt like I was in the first row.


 


Curious after so many years I can still be star struck, getting a big kick out of being so close to the star. But I guess it's related to stage-dooring.


 


 Two fun facts on Gertrude Lawrence:


 


She was buried in the gown that she wore for "Shall We Dance."


The Gershwins wrote the musical "Oh, Kay" for her in which she originated the ballad "Someone To Watch Over Me," which has since become a song sung and/or recorded by every female vocalist in the world.

Updated On: 4/10/15 at 11:44 AM
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The King and I#505
Posted: 4/10/15 at 2:05pm

OlBlueEyes, I gotcha. Every single bit about how you can be dazzled by Kelli (or any star) and it feels as if the person is singing and acting just for you. Amazing, isn't it?


if I had a dress custom-made for me as grand as the Shall We Dance dresses are, I too would probably want to be buried in it!! ...and I don't even like dresses. I wish we had footage of that production!

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The King and I#506
Posted: 4/11/15 at 12:52pm

Is orchestra row O in the 200s a good view for the boat scene and the show overall? I'm seeing it with my niece next month.

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theatregoer3
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The King and I#507
Posted: 4/11/15 at 1:54pm

I saw this last night via Linctix.  I was in seat J113 - all the way edge of the auditorium.  Although my view of the back wall was hampered, I didn't feel like I missed much.  I was very impressed with my seat considering I only paid $32!


As for the show, the sets were spot on in my opinion.  The lighting was grand but unobtrusive.  The staging was all over the place.  I imagine some of that came from the difficulty of recreating a proscenium show on a thrust with difficult sightlines.  For example, had they staged "Uncle Tom's Cabin" within the proscenium I wouldn't have seen any of it.  The scenic transitions were bit messy last night and I wondered if there were still kinks being worked out.  When the boat came on stage it was very impressive.  Getting it off the stage took about two minutes and a small scene was being played out while stage hands on walkie were coming on and breaking it down in full view.  Things like that happened from time to time throughout the evening - nothing unforgivable!


After reading these posts I was dreading Ken Wantanabe's performance but he very quickly was my favorite part of the evening!  I thought he was so charming from beginning to end.  During the climatic scene between the King, Anna and Tuptim, Wantanabe showed this incredible depth that broke my heart.  I was truly blown away and so grateful to the creative team of this show for bringing him to New York so we could watch this great actor take on this role that sometimes is played as a bit silly.  There was such a wonderful range of emotions on display.  I was very impressed.  I can also say I never once had a problem understanding him.


Kelli O'Hara was a bit bland for my taste.  This was my first time seeing her on stage.  She was appropriate for the role but in this performance the King was the central character and everyone else revolved around him and his existential crisis.  I viewed Anna as simply one more person intersecting with this man during this time in his life.  In previous productions it seems as though Anna is the cause of the King's puzzlement while here she was simply existing in parallel to his puzzlement.


Ruthie Ann Miles is as good as others have mentioned here so I won't go into more detail.  The lovers were a bit modern in voice compared to the other singers.  When they came on stage both their accents and vocal styles took me out of the story.  It also wasn't believable that they were in love which is detrimental to their plot line, so...


Overall, I highly recommend going.  If anything, Mr. Wantanabe is giving a great performance in a beautiful production in a large yet intimate theater here in NYC.

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perfectlymarvelous
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The King and I#508
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:13pm

I saw this last night and overall liked it very much, though unlike most others here I find Kelli O'Hara very bland as a performer. I would love to see Betsy Morgan if she ever goes on for Kelli, because I think she has everything that Kelli lacks and also possesses a beautiful voice. 


The standout for me was Ashley Park, who brought a depth and ferocity to Tuptim that I loved. I also thought Ken Watanabe was fantastic, and I had no trouble understanding him. The Small House of Uncle Thomas sequence was the strongest moment of the night for me; the moment when Tuptim stepped off the stool and confronted the King was very tense and dangerous. Jake Lucas and Jon Viktor Corpuz were both wonderful (particularly Corpuz)...I liked that they were both a little older than those roles are typically cast, and they played off each other well. 


The Donna Murphy revival was my second Broadway show ever when I was little and the show is very close to my heart, and I think I would have enjoyed the production even if it were terrible. However, I honestly think the production would be vastly improved if someone other than Kelli O'Hara was Anna. She is just not exciting onstage and often reads quite cold, and it makes it difficult to be invested in what she's doing because it seems she's giving the same performance I've seen her give in every other show I've seen her in. And it isn't a bad performance, it's merely competent, and that isn't enough for me. There are so many other actresses in her age bracket with similar vocal capabilities who would have brought something thrilling to the character, and would be a true dramatic match for Watanabe, who's an incredibly strong presence and a wonderful actor. 


I'm curious to see what kind of reviews the production gets, especially since feedback seems to be fairly mixed so far. 

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ljay889
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The King and I#509
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:21pm

^ Just curious, but did you see Kelli in Bridges? I thought she was absolutely phenomenal and very far from bland in that show. 

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perfectlymarvelous
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The King and I#510
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:24pm

I didn't see her, I saw Elena Shaddow (who was lovely). 


I did actually think she was excellent in Bells Are Ringing at Encores a few years ago, which makes her performance in The King and I all the more frustrating for me. I don't think she's untalented necessarily but more often than not she's just boring to me.  

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The King and I#511
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:37pm

Dang these "reviews" for Kelli on here are really going south. If the actual critics agree, Cheno might just take it.

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VintageSnarker
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The King and I#512
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:55pm

I've held back from giving my full opinion of the show because I'm still hoping to somehow get tickets in a center row but having seen both OTTC and The King and I, I'd say Kristin gives the stronger performance. Kelli has a nice moment during Getting to Know You but I would echo what others have said about her not giving a terribly strong performance, not bad, just not remarkable through most of the rest of the show. I didn't believe that she loved the king. I thought she had affection for him as a friend but her feelings paled greatly in comparison to Lady Thiang's or even the king's himself. I would also say that she didn't really find that balance between strength and warmth in Anna. She was neither amazingly warm and charming with the children and with the couple (Tuptim and Lun Tha) or spirited and fiery in challenging the king and years of cultural norms. In fact one of the major weaknesses of the production is that you're not that sympathetic to her point of view. 

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OlBlueEyes
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The King and I#513
Posted: 4/12/15 at 9:56pm

 


I don't quite get the "Kelli is dull" complaint.


I don't see how Anna could believably have been more confrontational with the King than she already was. And Anna was certainly not in love with the King. There is just a hint of sexual tension between them in the dance scene, which we know will immediately dissipate in the scene to follow.


I saw the 1996 revival with Donna Murphy and I enjoyed the show and Donna's performance very much. I also have the CD of the show, to which I listened today. One thing on which we would almost certainly agree is that Watanabe is a vast improvement over Lou Diamond Phillips. Phillips seems to be tiptoeing along a fault line dividing East from West. All too often he tips the wrong way and sounds like a young English scientist. His voice cannot command the stage.


Murphy doesn't seem to handle her role much differently than O'Hara. In the solo scene where Anna directs her anger at the King, neither actress seems to be really as angry as they say that they are. Both actresses almost giggle


I'm rather glad I didn't say that
Not with the women right there
And the children.


Do you really think that Murphy, or Lawrence brought something "thrilling" to the role? I find the performances more alike than differenct, except maybe for the climactic scenes.


I don't see where Murphy is more confrontational with the King. In the patter leading up to "Shall We Dance," which is about the role of women, and in the dance scene itself, she speaks with a gentle, amused tone that I find appealing.


In the truly dramatic climax scene that follow the dance, Donna's choice of studying acting over voice really stands out. I don't think O'Hara can match the dramatic intensity. This is not fair to Kelli, though, since I've only seen her in the role once in preview. The next time I see it I will be watching it more critically.


As to which of the two actresses delivers the best vocals, I will let each decide for him or her self. Do you know that on May 4th, at Carnegie Hall, O'Hara and Murphy will share the stage at the New York Pops Gala? Maybe they can have a sing-off, with the audience acting as judge.


 


Broadway Fan, I think you did good. You're in one of the orchestra center sections and not in the oft-maligned orchestra sides. For every performance in the month of May into the first week of June I found only three singleton seats available (from Telecharge) in orchestra center.


 


You're near the rear of the orchestra, but it's a small theater that only seats about 1000 so you're not very far from the stage.

Updated On: 4/13/15 at 09:56 PM
BroadwayFan12
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The King and I#514
Posted: 4/12/15 at 10:49pm

Thanks, OlBlueEyes. It's my niece's 13th birthday present, so I splurged and got the tickets on stubhub. The King and I

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The King and I#515
Posted: 4/12/15 at 11:02pm

Having now seen Kelli, Kristin, Chita, Laura Michelle Kelly, and the ladies of Fun Home, I expect and hope the Tony goes to Kristin. For me, hers is the performance of legend this season, much as Kelli's performance was last year for BRIDGES.

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givesmevoice
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The King and I#516
Posted: 4/12/15 at 11:19pm

"In fact one of the major weaknesses of the production is that you're not that sympathetic to her point of view."


I agreed with almost your entire post, but this last line really clinched it for me. You put into words something that was kind of an ephemeral feeling for me, so thank you.


I second everyone singing the praises of Ruthie Ann Miles and Ashley Park, who were able to do much more with their featured parts. Park's shining moment was definitely during The Small House of Uncle Thomas ballet (which was the best part of the show anyway), and Miles' physicality and singing throughout the show were strong and sturdy and regal in a way that made it seem like she'd be a much better challenger to the King than O'Hara's Anna was.


I thought the production was beautifully done, and it was very good, but it lacked the magic that South Pacific at the Beaumont had. I haven't seen Rivera yet, so I can't really put in a fair prediction, but I could not imagine anyone voting for O'Hara over Chenoweth. I also don't even think this should win Best Revival, which in my mind would be between On the Town and On the Twentieth Century.


 

When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
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henrikegerman
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The King and I#517
Posted: 4/13/15 at 11:15am

"In fact one of the major weaknesses of the production is that you're not that sympathetic to her point of view."

Our sympathy with Mrs. Anna in this production is guarded.  But that's far from a weakness.  

By focusing in almost equal measures on Mrs. Anna's self-righteousness and self-satisfaction, her heroic intolerance of brutality, her well-intentioned but often dim English Liberalism, her formidable Feminism as well as her annoying and barely suppressed sense of superiority, and, ultimately her genuine affection, her imperfect adult-to- imperfect adult respect for the King as that rare leader (anywhere) trying to do right, this production gives us all the necessary colors and makes the show come alive in a very new and very current way.  OHara, to her credit, never overplays any one of Mrs. Anna's many-faceted political parts.   In counterpoint, the King's efforts to retain his sovereignty and independence in the wake of globalism and European rapaciousness become - in a way rarely if ever emphasized in other productions - a driving force.  A lot of that has to do with Watanabe's commitment to give us the King, warts and all, as an Adult.

To be completely sympathetic to Mrs. Anna - to treat the battle of wills not only as West-v-East and woman -v-man but also as adult-v-child - would be to make The King and I a complete lie and a whitewashing of history, an interpretation few today could possibly abide or even take seriously.  (some, like Pauline Kael, had trouble taking this show seriously even in the 40s and 50s).

This production - as far from perfect as it is - achieves an impressive balance.

Updated On: 4/13/15 at 11:15 AM
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The King and I#518
Posted: 4/13/15 at 3:20pm

I saw this show on Saturday, and have been smiling ever since.  My boss informed me that if I didn't stop humming the score at the ref desk she was gonna write me up or physically strike me.  It was wonderful.

Updated On: 4/13/15 at 03:20 PM
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The King and I#519
Posted: 4/13/15 at 3:38pm

I understand your point, henrik, but I still found this production imbalanced in its presentation of everyone's perspectives. Part of the issue is that personally I thought Ken Watanabe came across as warmer and more likable than any other actor I've seen in this part. There was pride but not the same arrogance. He was much more willing to admit to not knowing something. Thus as a character I didn't find him that unreasonable and his POV also seemed more sympathetic. 


I also think there was just a general imbalance with the other characters. The adviser was not as harsh towards Anna or as much of an obstacle so that went away. Tuptim was also played so forcefully and again, the king was so kind and relenting that I didn't have a real sense of her oppression.

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The King and I#520
Posted: 4/14/15 at 2:28pm

The highlights video came out today and I love it! Opening night in 2 days and I'm excited to see what the reviews will be like.

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The King and I#521
Posted: 4/14/15 at 8:22pm

Here's the highlights video!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrjmK2YdZQ0


The highlights are making me even more excited to see the show on May 19. 

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The King and I#522
Posted: 4/14/15 at 8:37pm

Being real, I think Cheno was always gonna take it. As wonderful as Kelli is in the role, Anna just isn't as flashy a role as Lily Garland is.

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The King and I#523
Posted: 4/14/15 at 8:59pm

To clarify, I've only seen Kristin and Kelli so far this season. Of the two, I'd favor Kristin but someone else entirely could win on Tony night.

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The King and I#524
Posted: 4/14/15 at 9:17pm

I am going tomorrow night..excited to see the whole production.


 

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The King and I#525
Posted: 4/14/15 at 10:07pm

Having seen both Kristin and Kelli, I would give the Tony to Kelli. Hands down.

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