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The King and I UK and Ireland tour to star Jose Llana and Annalene Beechey

The show heads out on tour following its run in the West End

The West End company of The King and I
© Matthew Murphy

Details and initial casting have been announced for the 2019 UK and Ireland tour of The King and I.

The award-winning Lincoln Center production by Bartlett Sher first opened on Broadway before running at London's Palladium earlier this year. It will head out across the UK from next April and into 2020.

The tour will open at Manchester Opera House on 26 April 2019 before touring to Dublin, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Woking and Southampton.

Jose Llana (who was in the production on Broadway) will play the King, alongside Annalene Beechey (alternate in the role in the West End) as Anna. Further casting is to be announced. Llana and Beechey are currently scheduled to perform at Manchester, Dublin and Sunderland, with further dates to be confirmed.

The revival has design by Michael Yeargan, costume design by Catherine Zuber (who won a Tony Award for her designs in New York), lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Scott Lehrer, choreography by Chistoper Gattelli, musicial supervision by Ted Sperling and musical direction by Stephen Ridley.

WhatsOnStage gave the show a four-star review, saying "It's very hard not to fall for The King and I, which features some of the loveliest songs in musical theatre, here sung by an absolutely crack cast." Songs included in Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical are "Whistle a Happy Tune", "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance?".

When it first opened in June the musical had the biggest grossing week in The London Palladium's history, taking £1,058,317.50 for an eight-performance week, and was recently screened in cinemas.

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