Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I

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Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II

Short Musical, Drama  /  5f, 8m

Music by Richard Rodgers / Book by Oscar Hammerstein II / Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II / Based on Anna and the King by Margaret Landon / Original Choreography by Jerome Robbins

Anna is a widow from England, and he is the King of Siam. When Anna travels to Siam to teach his many children and wives, the two find themselves in an unlikely friendship.

Photo: Paul Kolnik

Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I

Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I

by  Richard Rodgers Oscar Hammerstein II

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Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I

OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 8m
  • Duration
    Duration
    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1952 Tony Award, Best Musical
    Nominee: 1977 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Musical
    Winner! 1985 Tony Award, Special Award
    Winner! 1996 Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical
    Winner! 1996 Drama Desk Award, Best Musical Revival
    Winner! 2015 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Revival of a Musical or Revue
    Winner! 2015 Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical

Description

In 1862, an English widow, Anna Leonowens, and her young son arrive at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, Siam, having been summoned by the King to serve as tutor to his many children and wives. The King is largely considered to be a "barbarian" by those in the West and he seeks Anna's assistance in changing his image, if not his ways. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King grow to understand and, eventually, respect one another, in a truly unique love story.

In this adaptation for pre-high school students, the content has been edited to better suit younger attention spans, but all the magic and beauty of the original are still in place. You and your students will be enchanted by the timeless story and the dazzling score, while at the same time learning about theater and its production.



History

The King and I opened on Broadway on March 29, 1951, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner. The show proceeded to run for three years, racking up 1,246 performances. It received five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and honors for both of its stars. Valerie Hobson and Herbert Lom starred in the original London production, and the musical scored great successes in Australia, Japan, and throughout Europe—from Le Roi Et Moi in Brussels to Der Konig Und Ich in Berlin.

In 1956, Twentieth Century Fox released the motion picture version of The King and I with Deborah Kerr as Anna (with her musical voice provided by Marni Nixon) and Yul Brynner recreating his role as The King. An immediate success, The King and I became the second-highest grossing film of the year and was also critically acclaimed; nominated for nine Academy Awards, it received five, including the Best Actor Award to Brynner.

Over the course of 34 years, Yul Brynner played The King more than 4,600 times; first on stage, then on the big screen and then on television (co-starring with Samantha Eggar in the short-lived series, Anna and the King in the early '70s). He brought The King and I back to Broadway for two separate, triumphant engagements; the latter, the culmination of his farewell tour as The King, was presented in 1985, the final year of his life. At the conclusion of that run Mr. Brynner received a special Tony Award for his achievements.

A Broadway revival opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on April 11, 1996, starring Tony Award winner Donna Murphy as Anna and film star Lou Diamond Phillips as The King. Hailed by the critics and public alike, The King and I swept the triple crown of Broadway honors that spring, winning the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical Revival.

In 2015, Lincoln Center Theater presented a Broadway revival starring Kelli O'Hara, Ken Watanabe and Ruthie Ann Miles. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the show was a critical smash, earning nine Tony nominations and winning four, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • Elementary School / Primary
  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Setting:

The King and I takes place in and around the King's Palace in Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand) during the early 1860s. The Getting to Know... version requires only a unit set, which can suggest different locations.

Specific Locations
The Deck of the Chow Phya, 1862
The King's Library in the Royal Palace
A Palace Corridor
The Royal Schoolroom
Anna's Quarters in the Royal Palace
The Royal Theatre Pavilion
The Port of Bangkok

Casting

5f, 8m
Cast Attributes
  • Ensemble cast
  • Multicultural casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

CHARACTERS:

Captain Orton – A British sea captain
Louis Leonowens – Anna’s son
Anna Leonowens – A British schoolteacher, traveling to Siam, engaged to teach the Royal Children
The Interpreter – the King’s interpreter
The Kralahome – the King's Executive Officer
The King of Siam – The King of Siam (based on the historical King Mongkut)
Lun Tha – A Burmese scholar and envoy
Tuptim – A Burmese slave
Lady Thiang – The King’s head wife – mother of Prince Chulalongkorn
Prince Chulalongkorn – The King’s eldest son and heir
Princess Ying Yaowalak – One of the youngest of the King’s daughters
Sir Edward Ramsay – A British diplomat
Royal Wives – The King’s wives
Royal Children – The King’s children
Chorus of Sailors
Palace Guards

Characters in “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”:

Uncle Thomas
Eva
Topsy
Eliza
King Simon of Legree
Angel/George
Simon's Slaves
Simon's Soldiers
Search Dogs
Buddha
"Rain Storm"
"Mountain"
"Snowflakes"
"Forest"
Musicians

CASTING NOTE:
The King and I is inspired by the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and is based on the lives of real people. The story takes place in Siam during the early 1860s in and around the Royal Palace. Many of the characters are Siamese or from surrounding countries and of Asian heritage. The actors should be cast accordingly. The use of make-up or prosthetics to alter an actor’s ethnicity is prohibited.

Casting Notes

The King and I is inspired by the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and is based on the lives of real people. The story takes place in Siam during the early 1860s in and around the Royal Palace. Many of the characters are Siamese or from surrounding countries and of Asian heritage. The actors should be cast accordingly. The use of make-up or prosthetics to alter an actor’s ethnicity is prohibited.

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Operetta
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Chorus Size: Large
1. “I Whistle A Happy Tune” – Anna, Louis
2. “The March of Siamese Children” – Instrumenal
3. “Getting to Know You” – Anna, Wives, Children
4. “We Kiss In a Shadow” – Lun Tha, Tuptim
5. “A Puzzlement” – King
6. “Something Wonderful” – Lady Thiang, Butri, Thara, Samorn
7. “Small House of Uncle Thomas: Introduction” – Chorus
10. “Shall We Dance? (Part 1)” – Anna, King
11. “Shall We Dance? (Part 2)” – Anna, King
12. “Shall We Dance (Part 3)” – Instrumental
13. “Finale Ultimo” – Instrumental
This musical is performed with accompaniment tracks. 

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:

Standard Rental Package

30 Student Libretto/Vocal books
1 Piano/Vocal Book
1 Production Guide

1 Digital Resource Package:

  • Performance Tracks
  • Guide Vocal Tracks
  • Guide to Choreography & Staging
  • Audition Sides and Forms and Track Samples
  • Costume Design
  • Set Design 
  • Props List
  • Artwork

Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Press

“Nothing has reached the same level of songwriting brilliance, political engagement, and dramatic integrity all at once.” — Jesse Green, New York Magazine

The King and I is the essence of musical theater, an occasion when drama, music, dance and decor combine to take the audience on an unforgettable journey.” — Houston Chronicle

“Having no delusions of grandeur, The King and I does not attempt to solve the problem of the East and the West. It never strays very far from the immediate needs of the people in the play while they are getting to know each other, as the key melody phrases it. But The King and I is a seriously intended and deeply moving experiment in human understanding. It richly deserves the affection everyone has for it.” — Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

“More than any of the great golden-age musicals, for which Rodgers and Hammerstein forged the template with Oklahoma!, The King and I revels in spectacle. But its most impressive achievement is how it balances epic sweep with intimate sensibility.” — Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“The star of this production remains the show itself. It grows more impressive with each viewing.” — New York Daily News

“Has heart, drama, comedy... sets a new high standard for the musical stage.” — New York Daily Mirror

The King and I yields a motherlode of classic songs, including ‘I Whistle a Happy Tune,’ ‘Getting To Know You,’ ‘I Have Dreamed’ and, of course, the show's signature tune, ‘Shall We Dance?’” — F. Kathleen Foley, The Los Angeles Times

Music Samples

Videos

  • Rodgers and Hammerstein I Getting To Know... The King and I

  • The King and I Through Time and History

More videos +

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Authors

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers' contribution to the musical theatre of his day was extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, his hits ranging from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, London and beyond. He was ...

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Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His father, William, was a theatre manager and for many years director of Hammerstein's Victoria, the most popular vaudeville theatre of its day. His uncle, Arthur Hammerstein, was a successful Broadway producer and his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein, ...

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