King & I Opens with £7m Advance BookingsDate: 3 May 2000
The lavish new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, which stars Elaine Paige and Jason Scott Lee, opens tonight at the London Palladium. Showing to full-house preview audiences since 18 April, the box office has already raked in £7 million in advance sales before a single review has been written. According to the show's producers, this represents a record advance in West End history.
Paige, West End diva and star of shows such as Piaf and Sunset Boulevard, plays Anna Leonowens while American-born film actor Lee makes his British stage debut as the King, in the part made famous by Yul Brynner. The cast also stars Sean Ghazi (Lun Tha), Aura Deva (Tuptim), Ho Yi (Kralahome), Taewon Yi Kim (Lady Thiang), Robin Kermode (Sir Edward Ramsay) and Richard Avery (Captain Orton), while the supporting ensemble features Irene Alano, Khan Bonfils, Criselda Collis, Karen Cadogan, Raymond Chai, Jo Jo de la Cerna, Miguel M Diaz, Steven Eng, Su-Man Hsu, Yukiko Murakami, Azumi Ono, Oliver Pang, Anton Perez, Therese Rademark, Stephanie Reese, Gina Respall, Samart Santhaveesnik, Ayako Shimizu, Gina Tse and Unku.
First produced in 1951, The King and I is based on the novel 'Anna and the King of Siam' by Margaret Landon and has music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
This revival of The King and I originated in Australia in 1991, before opening in 1996 on Broadway, where it had a two-year run. Its many awards and accolades include four Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Theatre World Awards.
It is directed by Christopher Renshaw, with choreography by Jerome Robbins, musical staging by Lar Lubovitch, scenic design by Brian Thomson, costume design by Roger Kirk and lighting by Nigel Levings. Orchestrations are by Robert Russell Bennett, with additional orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin and musical supervision and direction by John Owen Edwards.