Elaine Paige Stars in West End King & IDate: 16 November 1999
Following the announcement last week that Saturday Night Fever would be closing at the London Palladium at the end of its current booking period on 26 February 2000, little time was wasted in confirming that the long talked-about revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I will be moving in. The musical will open on 3 May 2000, with previews from 18 April.
As predicted, the show will feature West End stage star Elaine Paige but, contrary to speculation, she will be joined by American film star Jason Scott Lee rather than Lou Diamond-Phillips, who starred in the Broadway production.
The 1951 classic is based on a diary, entitled Anna and the King, which tells the story of young Westerner Anna Leonowens who is brought to the court of the king of Siam to become the tutor for his children. The musical, which was made into a film starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in 1956, features several classic songs including 'Shall We Dance', 'Getting to Know You', 'Hello Young Lovers' and 'I Whistle a Happy Tune'.
Elaine Paige is best known for her starring roles in West End musicals such as Piaf and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. She made her non-musical stage debut last year in the Peter Hall company's production of Moliere's The Misanthrope at the Piccadilly.
This production of The King and I started life in Australia in 1991. It opened on Broadway in 1996, starring Donna Murphy and Diamond-Phillips and scooping Tony Awards that year for Best Revival and Best Actress. The show ran for two years on Broadway and later featured country-music-loving star Marie Osmond as Anna.
Booking has now opened for the West End production of The King and I.