My last show of 2016 was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I featuring the incredibly talented Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana. There are two movie versions of The King and I. There is the live action one with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner from 1956, and there is the animated one from 1999, which I watched religiously on a VHS tape.
I loved the songs so much. Years after I played the movie on repeat, I saw Tina and Mike sing “Getting to Know You” on Glee and it all came back to me. I remembered my love for the movie. I didn’t know about the original Broadway show until I heard about the revival with Kelly O’Hara and the good reviews it was getting! I never thought I would be able to see it, ever, but I did!
My cousins saw The King and I on Broadway (in actual New York City) and like the Broadway geek that I am, I wanted to know all about it but they gave no grand details about it. So when I looked at the Pantages schedule early on in the quarter, I knew I was absolutely going to see it! I bought tickets to the show with my friend in a pre-finals haze, and I didn’t realize what date I was buying tickets for, but it turns out we actually bought tickets for the very first performance at the Pantages! Through the Cyber Monday deal, our seats were front row of the Mezzanine, and it was an incredible view! My luck with seating continues to get better and better. (Maybe I should enter the Hamilton lotto.)
Laura Michelle Kelly is so talented! Her “Hello Young Lovers” is beautiful! The Broadway Channel made a video of Laura Michelle Kelley and the children rehearsing “Getting to Know You,”probably THE most iconic song from The King and I, and you can see how amazing it is just in rehearsal! It is really interesting to see her rehearse in a full hoop skirt as well, which I was told weighs a lot!
Kavin Panmeechao (UCLA alum holla) and Manna Nichols were amazing as Lun Tha and Tumptin! I remember Tumptin’s arc from the animated movie and her line “I can arrange flowers.” The flowers that come down on stage when Tumptin and Lun Tha are together are so beautiful! The Broadway Channel also made a video of Kavin and Manna rehearsing “I Have Dreamed,” but in performance with the full set, it is beautiful.
Afterwards, we went to the stage door in the cold! I just saw a photo of Hamilton‘s Ari Asfar at the Chicago stage door wearing a gigantic parka, meeting fans who were also wearing parkas, but it was not cold enough in Hollywood to… believe in snow. (Just a teency bit, though.) But again, we braced through it to meet everyone, and the cast was so nice! I made sure to buy my own metallic Sharpies so the signatures are more visible on dark Playbills. The cast signed our Playbills and it looks beautiful. My collection now includes 2 Playbills and 1 pre-Broadway CTG program.
Overall, it was a successful night in Hollywood and another beautiful show. This post is a little shorter than my other posts because I took a little time to write about it, but it truly was a beautiful show, and I got to see more of the Pantages instead of having to run out of the Uber and into my seat before the show started. I’m thinking about seeing Motown and Rent next year! And I’m counting down the months until Book of Mormon!
The King and I will be playing at the Pantages until January 21st! Go check it out!