Warren Players will begin its 82nd season with their production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I." An adaptation of Margaret Landon's novel, "Anna and the King of Siam," the musical opened at the St. James Theater in March 1951 and won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Actress. "The King and I" was so popular that early revivals were mounted in 1977, 1985 and 1996. Yul Brenner portrayed the king in all but the 1996 production. The well-known 1956 film version also starred Brenner in the leading role.
Regarding the show, Oscar Hammerstein II wrote to his friend Richard Rodgers in 1956: "Last night I saw the picture, The King and I, again. This morning, I am convinced that this is our best work. I have a kind of humble feeling of not knowing how we did it. It has more wisdom as well as heart than any other musical play by anybody. It will remain 'modern' long after any of our other plays."
Many volunteers have been working tirelessly to support the cast of "The King and I" and to bring the vision of directors Lynn and Dawn Sears to life. Jen Morley, set designer, and Rod Turner, master carpenter, have been charged to transform the stage of the historic Struthers Library Theatre into the royal throne room, while Charmaine Check, costume mistress, and her assistants are changing the cast's usual denim attire to rich brocade. Choreographer Laura Sears-Baldensperger is adding a lively step to the cast as Fran Leto, conductor, and orchestra provide the show's unforgettable musical score. Lighting design is in the capable hands of Barb Crowley. Sam Bailey will be providing sound. Chris Snyder is stage manager and Carol Guadagnino is production manager.
Ellen Paquette (Anna) and John Beard (King)
"The King and I" will be presented at the Struthers Library Theatre Oct. 25, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. This award-winning classic will take viewers on a journey of emotions, fill their head with Richard Roger's memorable tunes and a heart-warming story told by Oscar Hammerstein's clever and tender lyrics.
For more show information or to purchase tickets, visit online at strutherslibrarytheatre.com or call 723-7231.