Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini and leading Australian theatre producer John Frost today announced the principal cast for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic Broadway musical The King and I.
Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes will co-star in the Tony Award-winning Australian production, which is being revived next year by the Gordon Frost Organisation and Opera Australia.
Much-loved Australian actress and four-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens, while internationally acclaimed opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes takes on his second musical theatre role as the King of Siam.
Hot from their success playing opposite each other in South Pacific, also presented by Opera Australia and John Frost, the pair will headline the Brisbane and Sydney seasons. Lisa McCune will also star in Melbourne, where the King will be played by an international artist to be announced at a later date.
Chinese-born Australian opera singer Shu-Cheen Yu plays Lady Thiang, the King’s chief wife, returning to the production 23 years after playing the young Burmese slave girl Tuptim in 1991.
Adrian Li Donni is Lun Tha, the Burmese scholar and envoy who is secretly in love with Tuptim, a role he played for the Production Company in Melbourne in 2010 and in the US the year before that.
“I’m thrilled with the wonderful cast we’ve assembled for The King and I,” said John Frost. “I know this production will be as magnificent as the original, which is remembered as a milestone in Australian theatrical history. It brings me great joy to be able to return to this special production with Opera Australia following our huge success with South Pacific.”
“Teddy and Lisa coming together worked wonderfully well in South Pacific and it seemed to us that we should capitalise on that success and continue with it. They were both terrific in South Pacific and the audience really responded to them as I’m sure they will in The King and I,” said Lyndon Terracini.
The King and I was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical together and is considered one of the jewels in their crown. It was based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which took its inspiration from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a British governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s.
The beautiful score includes the songs “I Whistle a Happy Tune”, “Getting to Know You”, “Shall We Dance?” and “Hello, Young Lovers”.
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