BWW Review: THE KING AND I Delights at Victoria Theatre Association Schuster Center for the Performing Arts
Have you had enough of the crazy weather and the winter blahs? Liven up your life and go to see Rodger's and Hammerstein's THE KING AND I at the Schuster Center this weekend.
THE KING AND I, written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, is based on the novel ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM, written by Margaret Landon. The novel is based on the life of Anna Leonowens and her travels to Siam (modern day Thailand) to teach the children of the king. The musical opened on Broadway with Yul Brynner playing the King. He went on to win a Tony and an Oscar for the film adaptation and became the face that many associate with the show. Most recently, the show won a Tony for Best Revival of a musical in 2015. It is one of those shows that everyone should see at some point in their lives.
This production is visually stunning. The set by Michael Yeargan seem simple at first but they work beautifully particularly with a large curtain that flows like silk. The set is only the first piece as the lighting by Donald Holder enhances the movement and sets every scene with spectacular, vibrant color. Add the gorgeous costumes by Catherine Zuber, also with amazing, vivid color and detail and you get one of the most visual pictures that I have seen on the Schuster Center stage.
All of the performances in the show were quite lovely. Leads Angela Baumgardner (Anna) and Pedro Ka'awaloa (King of Siam) are at their finest together in Act II with "Shall We Dance". Young lovers Paulina Yeung (Tuptim) and Dongwoo Kang (Lun Tha) show off soaring vocals with "We Kiss in a Shadow". Deanna Choi (Lady Thiang) is the backbone of the story as she plays a hand in everyone's lives, guiding their fates also displays impressive vocals on "Something Wonderful".
Take note that the run time of the show, including intermission, is just shy of three hours. Part of this is due to the trademark Rodgers and Hammerstein ballet sequence in Act II which goes on longer than necessary to tell the story. The dancing was captivating though.
Five shows remain for you to have your chance to see THE KING AND I at the Schuster Center. Tickets are available online at www.ticketcenterstage.com, by phone at 937-228-3630 or in person at the box office in the lobby of the Schuster Center. Ticket prices range from $26 to $119. Call the box office with any questions or to ask about discounts.
Photo credit: Matthew Murphy