Interview: Six-Year-Old Rylie Sickles Talks THE KING AND I

By: Jul. 02, 2017
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THE KING AND I, one of Rodgers & Hammerstein's finest works, winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Revival of a musical and boasts a score which features such beloved classics as "Getting To Know You," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Hello Young Lovers," "Shall We Dance" and "Something Wonderful,' directed by Tony Award ® winner, Bartlett Sher, at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, July 11-16, 2017. Tickets are now on sale at Belk Box Office 704-372-1000.

Rylie Sickles, a six-year-old native of Charlotte, North Carolina, plays the youngest member of the cast, Princess Ying Yaowalak. Rylie was busy getting ready to go onstage when I interviewed her for this article.

LAW: Where are you right now?

RS: Chicago.

LAW: How long have you been with the tour?

RS: It's been over six months.

LAW: Do you perform every night?

RS: Yes, but not on Mondays.

LAW: What do you do on your off time?

RS: I go to the pool with my friends, sometimes I go to a museum or an aquarium. I just went to the Navy Pier here in Chicago. My mom likes us to rest, but I like to go out and play.

LAW: What's it like to have class, while on tour?

RS: It's not the same as being in a real class, because we don't have recess, we don't have lunch breaks, or snack breaks. We basically just eat while we work.

LAW: Do you have one teacher who travels with you?

RS: Ms. Shulte travels with us. We split up when we go on field trips, so the big kids go with Miss Jessica and the little kids go with Ms. Shulte. When we are in school, we are separated too.

LAW: Tell me about your character?

RS: I play Princess Ying Yaowalak. She's the youngest student. She loves Mrs. Anna and wants her to stay.

LAW: How long did you rehearse before the opening?

RS: Three weeks.

LAW: What's the favorite thing about performing in THE KING AND I?

RS: I like to be onstage, and I also like to perform and be with my friends onstage.

LAW: How did you get this role?

RS: We were in New York visiting my cousins and there was an open call. There were some kids there too and I had to sing a song. Then after I got home to Charlotte, they wanted to see me again so I had to fly back to New York.

LAW: What do you do when you're at home?

RS: I go to dance at Steps N Motion.

LAW: What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

RS: DB's. It's near my dance class.

LAW: How long have you been dancing?

RS: Five years.

LAW: Do you have brothers or sisters?

RS: I have one sister and one brother.

LAW: Do you have a pet?

RS: No. I'm allergic to dogs.

LAW: What's been your favorite experience while on the road?

RS: I like doing all the activities in the cities. We mostly go to Children's Museums, but I don't always go with my friends unless it's a field trip. Sometimes we go to a city near Disney and Universal. It's fun to go there. I also like swimming in the hotel pools, I love the opening parties, and just being with my friends.

LAW: What's been your least favorite experience while on the road?

RS: Walking too much!

LAW: How many of your family and friends will be coming to see the show in Charlotte?

RS: (Laughs) One thousand!

LAW: What are your plans when you finish this tour?

RS: I'm going to go to a dance parade, have play dates and more dancing. I want to one day be on TV, but my mom said, we'll see.

LAW: What would you like to do when you grow up?

RS: 'Be a choreographer like Christopher Gattelli!

LAW: Have you always wanted to be an actor?

RS: Yes.

LAW: Have you always wanted to be a dancer?

RS: Yes.

LAW: Is there anything I didn't ask that you would like to mention?

RS: 'Just that I'm having so much fun, but I miss my family and friends in Charlotte. I can't wait for them to see me onstage!