For the first time in over 37 years the musical production of The King and I will be presented on the Historic Thomaston Opera House stage. The last time it was produced there was in the mid 1970’s when HayMar productions were presenting professional summer stock theatre in Thomaston. At that time, The King and I was part of an 8 week, 8 production Summer season. The current production takes on a more extended schedule running 8 performances over 3 weekends. The rehearsal period was also much longer with casting in June and rehearsals through July, August and September. The production and venue serve as a perfect fit for each other. Both have victorian influences. The elegance of the theatre matches the elegance of the scenery and costumes. The set becomes an extension of the Opera House’s decor.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Magaret Landon. The story was derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. Leonowens’ book, The English Governess of the Siaimese Court, was autobiographical, The musical boasts familiar songs such as Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, Something Wonderful and Shall We Dance? It also contains the ballet, Small House of Uncle Thomas, based upon Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The musical originally opened on Broadway in 1951, and ran for 1,246 performances, winning the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor (Yul Brenner), and Best Actress (Gertrude Lawrence) along with other awards. The musical was made into a popular film in 1956, for which Yul Brenner won an Oscar for Best Actor. There were also numerous stage revivals including 1996, starring Lou Diamond Phillips as the King.
Landmark Community Theatre’s production features Richard Damaso as The King and Cristin Tillinghast as Anna. LCT’s production also includes Jamie Hatcher as Lady Thiang, Joe Bukowski as Kralahome, John Paul Henares as Prince Chulalongkhorn and Ian Pekar as Louis. It also features the secret Burmese lovers of Katie Brunetto as Tuptim, with Dan Dressel as Luntha.
The show is Directed by is Lucia Dressel with Musical Direction by Lynne Kearney and Choreography by Caitlin Barra. Performances for The King and I will be September 22, 28, 29 and October 5 & 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM. Matinee performances are on September 23 & 30 and October 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $23 for adults and $19 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased at the Thomaston Opera House box office Monday through Saturday from 1:00 – 6:00 PM by phoning 860-283-6250 Tickets may also be purchased without additional fees online 24/7 at www.landmarkcommunitytheatre.org.