Rodgers and Hammerstein's Classic Family Musical THE KING AND I is on the Mainstage Now - January 8!

December 19, 2011

Philadelphia, PA: Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 203rd season with an all-new production of Broadway's Tony Award-winning family musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's THE KING AND I. Directed and choreographed by Marc Robin, this production will feature Broadway's leading lady Rachel York and Mel Sagrado Maghuyop from the Walnut's production of Miss Saigon. THE KING AND I begins previews on November 8th, opens on November 16th and runs through January 8th on the WST Mainstage.

THE KING AND I has captured the hearts of millions with its charming story of the British governess brought into the court of Siam to tutor the King's many children. Once within the splendor of the Royal Palace, Anna and the King grow to understand one another and learn about each other's cultures. This unique love story is told with a glorious score, including "Getting to Know You," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Hello Young Lovers" and the unforgettable "Shall We Dance."

THE KING AND I originally opened on Broadway in 1951 and ran for 1,246 performances. The production won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor (Yul Brynner) and Best Actress (Gertrude Lawrence). The musical was made into a popular film in 1956, for which Yul Brynner won an Oscar for Best Actor. Based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Magaret Landon, THE KING AND I was derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The production also contains the ballet Small House of Uncle Thomas, based upon Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Director and Choreographer of THE KING AND I is Marc Robin. Robin is thrilled to return to the Walnut after directing its popular 2011 production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. His additional Walnut credits include the 2009 production of Mel Brooks' The Producers, the 2007 holiday production of Peter Pan and the 2006 season opener, Windy City. Robin resides in Lancaster, PA and is the Artistic Director of the Fulton Opera House. As a freelance director/choreographer he has staged over 250 productions at theatres across the country. Robin is the recipient of 16 Joseph Jefferson Awards (52 nominations), 13 After Dark Awards; 3 Ari "Zoni" Awards, Light Opera Works Lifetime Achievement Award and 3 Barrymore Award nominations for his work at Walnut Street Theatre. Joining Robin is Musical and Vocal Director Douglass G. Lutz, who has guided numerous Walnut productions in the past few years, among them Aspects of Love, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oliver!.

The royal palace in Siam will glow with elegance and sophistication brought to life by a fantastic team of designers. Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach (The 39 Steps, White Christmas, Curtains, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) is joined by Lighting Designer Paul Black (The 39 Steps, White Christmas, Curtains, The Producers), award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Grady (Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof ) and new-to-the-Walnut Sound Designer Joseph Simon.

The cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's THE KING AND I boasts an impressive collective background consisting of artists familiar to the Walnut and artists making their debut on the Walnut's Mainstage. Broadway's Rachel York, best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award), The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sly Fox and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels makes her debut at the Walnut as Anna. The Walnut welcomes back Mel Sagrado Maguyop as the King of Siam after starring as the Engineer in last season's Miss Saigon.

Many members of THE KING AND I cast are returning from the Walnut's Barrymore -nominated production of Miss Saigon, including Angelica-Lee Aspiras, Jeffrey Coon, Nina Crupiti, Janelle Dote, Adam Michael Kaokept, LaMae, JP Moraga, Manna Nichols and Jee Teo. Walnut veteran Greg Wood (Amadeus, Fallen Angels) returns to the Walnut as Captain Orton. Joining them are newcomers Rei Akazawa, Alan Ariano, Andrew Cheng, Julian Marcus DeGuzm√°n, Austin Ku, Paul HeeSang Miller, Yumiko Niimi, Rommel Pierre O'Choa, Rumi Oyama, and Minami Yusui.

The youngest members of the cast are bursting with immerging talent. Noah Breymeier of Garnet Valley, PA is featured as Prince Chulalongkorn and Conrad Sager of Phoenixville, PA is featured as Louis. The King's many royal children will be played by local child actors including: Guiliana Alleva, Ian Bulack, Kaia Lin Chau, Jessica Halili, Isabella Le, Darlene Leohansson, Samantha Sam and Clarisse Surja of Philadelphia, PA; Marielle Barstow of Jamison, PA; Rachel Li Jordan of West Chester, PA; Aidan Killion and Jade Killion of Penn Valley, PA; Julia Kubo of Darby, PA; Valerie West of Broomall, PA; Ella Hampton of Cherry Hill, NJ; Anna Kralik of Mercerville, NJ; Alyrica Lackey, Johanna Lackey, Lael Lackey, Phoebe Fitzmaurice-Shean of Haddonfield, NJ; Mackenzie Lee of Bryn Mawr, PA; and Jenna Purviance of Woolwich Twp., NJ.

THE KING AND I runs at the Walnut November 8 through January 8. This production is sponsored by Citizens Bank. Media Sponsors are B101 and NBC 10. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.