BWW Review: THE KING AND I at Morrison Center
The national tour cast of "The King and I" took a stop in Boise as part of the "Broadway In Boise" season. Running January 25th through the 27th. The cast put on an electrifying performance, which won't be forgotten anytime soon by those who saw it. There was so much in this production which stood out. From the actors and actresses on the stage to the choreography. Wonderful, vibrant and magnificent are three words which could be used to describe this production.
To those unfamiliar with the show, it follows Anna Leonowens, a recently widowed school teacher and her son as they move to Siam (now known as Thailand.) The king brings Anna into the royal court, taking her in to teach his children. The King at first is unhappy with Anna, thinking she's trying too hard to bring her culture into the culture he is unfamiliar with. We meet a series of different characters including Tuptim a servant girl brought in as a gift, we also meet the children of the king who take a fondness to Anna. In the second act, the British come and they have little time to prepare for their visit. Tuptim puts together a performance, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas" in this she is the narrator and the message of anti-slavery is very present. Being noted as "Rodgers and Hammerstein's greatest musical." Due to the cast, I was able to witness perform, I can now see why.
From the first moment, the cast stepped on stage the audience could see the chemistry between everyone involved. Anna (portrayed by Angela Baumgardner) showed a quick-witted but loving side to the recently widowed character. When partnered with Pedro Ka'awaloa's portrayal of the stubborn King of Siam we got to immerse ourselves into the story as every scene happened on the stage. Deanna Choi portrayed Lady Thiang, the head wife who at the core of the character is loyal above anything else. Paulina Yeung's portrayal of Tuptim was heartbreaking and honest. She brought light to the stage especially in the scene "The Small House of Uncle Thomas." This scene stood out above all others because of the portrayal of those who dazzled across the stage in the scene. I got to see Akina Kitazawa as Eliza. In this part of the show, Kitazawa is portraying Tuptim's life in a metaphorical way. The entire scene was an absolute delight, and definitely one of the most powerful parts of the entire show. The choreography not only in "The Small House of Uncle Thomas" but in the entirety of the show was outstanding, entertaining and unlike anything I have seen on the stage before. The children in the cast were all entertaining and adorable. There were quick lines which came from them which made the audience burst out in laughter. Everyone in the stage brought something to the show, and it made it enjoyable to watch for things the actors and actresses did to bring something new to the show. You could see everyone on the stage were having fun, and enjoying themselves. Overall the cast was simply wonderful.
The songs were all things I know I could listen to this cast sing over and over again, from "I Whistle A Happy Tune" to "Shall We Dance." Each musical number had strong vocals and an orchestra playing with them which were simply lovely. Though The King and I is leaving Boise, I still recommend if you ever have a chance of seeing this show, see it. You won't see a better cast than this one.
Photo Credit: BWW-Staff