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The King and I - Ken Watanabe and Kelli O'Hara Contracts

theatergoer3
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Hi. I was looking for tickets to the King and I for late June/early July and want to make sure I see the aforementioned leads. However, I can't find anything about if their contracts extended when the show extended. Does anyone know anything or has been able to find anything ? Thanks. 

Actriz2
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I read online somewhere - but can no longer find the article nor can I find another confirming it - that O'Hara is contracted through January 2016. There was no mention of Watanabe.


Again, this is all unconfirmed. Keep in mind that Watanabe has a film coming out with Matthew McConaughey later this year so he may miss performances to do press for that, if he doesn't leave the show entirely for it.

Thoroughbred
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I thought I remembered reading that Ken Watanabe is done July 5, but don't recall where I read that.

bfreak
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I'm sure we'll be hearing something on the topic VERY soon if Watanabe is leaving July 5. They will have to have a good few weeks of rehearsal for his replacement. Personally, I hope Mr. Watanabe stays with the production as he is really turning in a very good performance and has finally fixed his fiction problem that plagued his early performances.

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DrJekyll
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...has finally fixed his fiction problem that plagued his early performances."


 


As of when?  I saw the show Saturday and there was still a diction problem.  Much of his performance was difficult to understand. 


 

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Sutton Ross
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I had no issues with his speech or diction.  It all depends who you grew up around and if you've experienced people speaking English as their non primary language.  The issue isn't him.  

ScottyDoesn'tKnow2
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"I had no issues with his speech or diction.  It all depends who you grew up around and if you've experienced people speaking English as their non primary language.  The issue isn't him.  "


I was wondering if that was an issue. Thanks for your point-of-view.


 

UnwoundFantasies
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I also remember reading that Watanabe's contract was up in July. It was in an article with Bart Sher shortly before opening night. Originally, King and I was only selling tickets until early July so maybe that was coordinated? In a recent interview, Kelli said she was going to be with the production "for a long time" but no word on any specific date.

bfreak
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When I saw it in April just after opening I understood him fine, and I'm a 15 year old male whose house completely speaks English. Maybe I just came in with the expectation that he was going to have bad diction, and listened a little closer than usual. I thought he was terrific and a tour de force on the stage.


Also, even if his contract is up in July maybe he will extend. It's certainly a possibility considering we haven't heard of any replacement through this point.

Actriz2
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His film with McConaughey is also getting trashed by critics at the Cannes Film Festival, so it's possible he'll keep away from that and remain in this critically acclaimed production for which he has received a major award nomination.


Unless he is contractually obligated to promote the film. Sigh.

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At the N. Y. Pops fundraiser about two weeks ago at Carnegie Hall, Kelli O'Hara sang and then exited into the wings, but immediately returned with "her King," Watanabe. It would have been a great theater moment if he had launched into a song like "This Nearly Was Mine," but he just thanked the usual people and introduced the next piece by the orchestra: "Excerpts from Memoirs of a Geisha." No singing.


 


I understood him as I did when I saw the show. But I think I had to work s little harder, like by concentrating more on what he was saying. And a few of his words came out with an extra syllable. There was no spontaneity so it was impossible to know if he had memorized his remarks.


 


Seems like even those who have trouble understanding him still like him in the role.


 

SharoninB
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At the N. Y. Pops fundraiser about two weeks ago at Carnegie Hall, Kelli O'Hara sang and then exited into the wings, but immediately returned with "her King," Watanabe. It would have been a great theater moment if he had launched into a song like "This Nearly Was Mine," but he just thanked the usual people and introduced the next piece by the orchestra: "Excerpts from Memoirs of a Geisha." No singing.
 
I understood him as I did when I saw the show. But I think I had to work s little harder, like by concentrating more on what he was saying. And a few of his words came out with an extra syllable. There was no spontaneity so it was impossible to know if he had memorized his remarks.
 
Seems like even those who have trouble understanding him still like him in the role.
 "


 Hopefully he will be on Broadway for years to come 

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When it comes to "Puzzlement," as a kid I grew up with mom playing the (vinyl) OBC album on the "Hi-Fi" all the time, and later I must have seen the film two or three times. So I already know the lyrics and am anticipating the words before they come out of his mouth. But that doesn't fully explain it.


 


I'd be surprised if the producers of this prestigious and expensive production would have taken anything less than a six month commitment from Watanabe. They were taking a chance with him and I'm sure that this understandability worried them, and maybe still worries them a little.


 


Kelli did South Pacific for over a year, although the time was separated by her pregnancy leave. There was a lot of talk about the "negotiations" between her and this show's producers last year. I'm sure that she is being very well paid.

Thoroughbred
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Not sure where I got July 5 specifically from, but this article states that Ken's contract is up in July.


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/theater/ken-watanabe-moves-from-samurai-to-the-king-and-i.html?_r=0

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OlBlueEyes
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Good article. July 5th was the last day of the original block of tickets put on sale.


 


On the one hand you might think that Watanabe would have had enough of eight live shows a week and all the controversy about his diction. Take his Tony nomination and go home.


 


On the other hand, they put the new block of tickets on sale, covering July 7th into next January, without any announcement of a cast change. With only six weeks to go still no announcement of a change. Looks like he's going to stay for awhile.

LarryD2
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"I had no issues with his speech or diction.  It all depends who you grew up around and if you've experienced people speaking English as their non primary language.  The issue isn't him.  "


 


That's your opinion. English is not my first language -- though I speak it fluently and have for many years -- and I grew up in a home where English was not regularly spoken. I still struggled to understand Watanabe and it diminished the performance for me.


 

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Not sure where the Jan 2016 mention for Kelli comes from (source?), but I can assure you she will be with this show for the foreseeable future. I do know for a fact that she currently has no plans to leave the show or has a set date. 

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OlBlueEyes
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"Not sure where the Jan 2016 mention for Kelli comes from (source?), but I can assure you she will be with this show for the foreseeable future. I do know for a fact that she currently has no plans to leave the show or has a set date. "


 When I emailed Lincoln Center Theater, a marketing assistant wrote back that the original contracts for both were through July 5th, the last date for which the original block of tickets was put on sale. She hadn't heard yet about extending the contract.


 


I guess since it turned out that Ken's original contract ended on July 5th, you might infer that Kelli's extension would end in January on the date of the end of the second block of tickets.


 


It's always seemed to me that doing the same performance eight times a week for month after month would get tedious. Apparently not. Something about "every performance is different."