Perspectives

Great Performances: “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I” Premieres Friday, November 8 at 8:30 p.m


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Great Performances: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

Premieres Friday, November 8 at 8:30 p.m. on PBS, pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app

 

Characters from The King and I embracing
Na-Young Jeon and Dean John Wilson – GREAT PERFORMANCES “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I”

Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed 2015 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic 1951 musical directed by Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”) went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Based on a true story, the year is 1862, and East and West collide when British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens arrives in Siam (modern day Thailand) to take up her post instructing the royal household of children from the King’s several wives.

Despite her sharp wit and strong will, nothing has prepared Anna for the lessons this rich and complicated new land has to teach her—or for the powerful connection she will forge with its imperious but conflicted King. The score features a treasure trove of timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein hits including “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,” “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Shall We Dance?” With a cast of over 50 people, this “first-rate, sumptuous” (The New York Times) production was “too beautiful to miss” (New York magazine). The production was recorded during its 2018 run in London’s West End with original Lincoln Center Theater cast members Ken Watanabe as the King and Kelli O’Hara in her Tony-winning performance as Mrs. Anna, along with Ruthie Ann Miles as “head wife” Lady Thiang, who won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical.

Broadway play The King and I two women performers in house scene
Ruthie Ann Miles and Kelli O’Hara – GREAT PERFORMANCES “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I”

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I is part of Great Performances’ third annual “Broadway’s Best” lineup of acclaimed theatrical productions, premiering Fridays, November 1-29 at 9 p.m. on WOUB, pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app. PBS station members can view the entire Great Performances “Broadway’s Best” lineup beginning November 1 via Passport.  Join WOUB Passport here to begin streaming!

For Great Performances: Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer. For Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I: Music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based upon the novel “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon. Directed for the stage by Bartlett Sher with choreography by Christopher Gattelli based upon the original choreography by Jerome Robbins.  A production of Trafalgar Entertainment Group & Trafalgar Releasing, directed for the screen by Gary Halvorson; Sir Howard Panter, Dame Rosemary Squire, David Lazar, Marc Allenby Alice De Rosa and Austin Shaw are producers.

Mother & son on a boat (on stage - Broadway play performance)
Kelli O’Hara and Billy Marlow – GREAT PERFORMANCES “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I”

Funders

Major funding for “Broadway’s Best” on Great Performances is provided by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, The Lewis “Sonny” Turner Fund for Dance, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, the Lenore Hecht Foundation, and PBS.