Initial casting has been announced for the upcoming UK and Ireland tour of Rogers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, launching in Manchester in April 2019.
Jose Llana, will play The King of Siam, a role he previously played in the Broadway production of the musical. He will star alongside Annalene Beechey as Anna, a role that Beechey understudied at the London Palladium this past Summer. Llana and Beechey are currently scheduled to play the first three stops of the tour in Manchester, Dublin and Sunderland, with further dates to sill be confirmed. Further casting is still to be announced.
The tour opens at the Opera House in Manchester on 26th April and will then tour to Dublin, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Woking and Southampton .
The UK tour will be based on the production directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher, that ran at the London Palladium earlier this year. That production starred Ken Wantanbe and Kelli O’Hara, reprising their roles from the 2015 New York revival.
The 1951 classic is based on a diary, entitled Anna and the King, which tells the story of young Westerner Anna Leonowens, who is brought to the court of The King of Siam to become the tutor for his children. The musical, adapted by Rogers and Hammerstein, was adapted into a movie starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in 1956, and features several classic songs, including ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘Getting to Know You’, ‘Hello Young Lovers’ and ‘I Whistle a Happy Tune’.
Directed by Bartlett Sher, this revival of THE KING AND I opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Centre, New York in 2015. The production opened to critical acclaim, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival that year. The piece starred Ken Wantanbe as the King, earning him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, as well as Kelli O’Hara as Anna, who took home the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. The production transferred to the West End’s London Palladium in 2018 for a limited run with its leading cast intact. The revival once again earned unanimous praise. The Palladium version was screened to cinemas worldwide on 29th November.
THE KING AND I features design by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Scott Lehrer and choreography by Christopher Gattelli.