Harry Hamm

harry star 4andahalfstars King and I at The Fox a Royal Entertainment

Because you have seen the movie, or attended other stage productions of “The King and I,” you may believe this new edition presented by The Lincoln Center may not be worth your time.

Think again.

king 4 King and I at The Fox a Royal Entertainment

Photo courtesy of The Fox

One of the reasons it is the casting of Jose Llana as the King. He is strong in stature and performance, plus he brings a dab of facial expressions that give his role personality and humor, something I have never seen before in this stern role.

king 2 King and I at The Fox a Royal Entertainmentking 3 King and I at The Fox a Royal Entertainment

Photos courtesy of The Fox

Award-winning Broadway veteran Laura Michelle Kelly, who appeared at The Muny in their 2012 production of “King and I” and in 2013 as Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific,” appears as Anna and she is elegantly flawless in voice and presence. Both Kelly and Llana spur this production into heightened levels of perfection.

The landmark Rodgers & Hammerstein score is given impeccable expression by a large 17 piece orchestra, 13 of which are local musicians hired for this booking.

king 1 King and I at The Fox a Royal Entertainment

Photo courtesy of The Fox

I would have enjoyed seeing a more elegant set for the interior of the King’s royal palace. Spencer Donovan Jones, a local performer and member of The Muny Kids, appears in the ensemble as one of the Royal children.

“The King and I” will be at The Fox through December 10. It is a vestige of a time when Broadway shows came along that will never get old.

 

 

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