An internationally-acclaimed production, The King and I, is set to travel to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney this year, in a revamped approach.
Producer John Frost says depending on its success, Perth, Adelaide and an international tour could also be on the cards.
Based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, The King and I became a hit on Broadway in 1951 and then a film in 1956. It also already has quite a history in Australia.
A revival toured Australia back in 1991 and it was so successful it moved to Broadway, won four Tony Awards and then went on to London, the US and the UK.
“It’s been touring the world for quite a long time,” says Frost.
“So I thought it was appropriate to bring it back to Australia, to its home, and after 20-odd years it’s back.”
He says it’s the same production, but enhanced. They’re building the costumes and the sets and spending an extra million dollars on making it look really sumptuous.
“Whereas this show is costing us around $5 million, when we did it 20-odd years ago it cost us $2 million, but we’re throwing a lot more jewellery at it, a lot more colour and tricks than we did before,” he says.
“It is so visually spectacular, you’ll have to wear sunglasses.”
Set in 1862, the King of Siam hires the widowed Anna (Lisa McCune), a British schoolteacher with a young son, to tutor his many children and wives, and help change the barbaric image the West has of him.
Actress Lisa McCune says it’s an interesting time, place and clash of cultures.
“And a beautiful love story that’s not like Romeo and Juliet but it’s an older, more maturing, understanding love that the King and Anna develop,” says McCune.
“It’s quite beautiful. I haven’t gone through the end without crying yet.”
THE KING AND I 2014 AUSTRALIAN DATES:
From April 13 – Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane
From June 10 – Princess Theatre, Melbourne
From September 9 – Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House