BWW Review: Timothy Matthew Flores Brings Youthful Exuberance to THE KING AND I
Celeste and Dylan:
THE KING AND I has the power to evoke many iconic songs, images, and fond memories. It has become a designated Broadway classic. However, what do the classics have to offer us in this modern age? Timothy Matthew Flores fills us in on how this national tour has breathed new life into the classic, showing its timeless qualities.
Flores owes his role of Prince Chulalongkorn to a happy accident. He was attending his tap class in the upper West Side at Marymount Manhattan College when something caused a commotion and classes were cancelled. He happened to hop on his phone and saw an ad for auditions. He went, and the rest has been a three and half month whirlwind.
Prior to his current role, Flores had done only a few community productions such as WEST SIDE STORY and MAMMA MIA!. Since his experience lies in bringing fictional characters to life, we asked him what made portraying a historical individual different. He went on to describe a very thorough research process in which cast members were pushed to learn as much as they could about the history of Siam. He dedicated himself to this research because of his desire to "do the character justice." When asked what he focused on most when preparing the character, he responded, "For me it was a lot of body language and reading up on him as a person." He found himself seeking connections to this historical young prince and himself, since they are both young men just beginning to discover their potential.
An interesting component of his preparation process was the omission of viewing the film version of the musical. Instead, he wanted to "trust the process and trust the research." He is hoping this attention to Prince Chulalongkorn as a historical figure will bring out how he was a "more progressive and understanding human being." Since this is also his first national tour, he expresses, "I truly just want to be remembered for making the audience feel something."
Another key point he brought up was the relevance the musical holds today. He notes that for audiences, it can "make them realize that we are all different and all the same at the same time." This kind of realization is brought to the fore for him in the final moments of the musical. As he describes it, "The ending is so powerful, so simple."
Flores' approach to his character and his love of this classic has helped to shape a new and unique take on Prince Chulalongkorn and will surely serve to help the court of Siam come to life in new and exciting ways.