Posted March 30, 2015 | © Photo by Chris Waits
Go ahead, feel free to do it ... make a discriminating comparison between the beloved Dame Julie Andrews and triple-treat Broadway star Rachel York. One of the most gifted professionals in the musical-theater industry, Rachel York is a songbird of the uniquely eloquent variety who soars magnificently in The King and I, currently making its North Texas debut at the Music Hall at Fair Park, produced by Michael A. Jenkins (six-time TonyAward winner) and Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. as part of its 75th season.
A rich vocal showcase of astoundingly talented singing actors, this gorgeous production features exotic pageantry, extravagant costumes (provided by Costume World, Inc.), captivating choreography (namely the Bob Richard recreation of the incorporated Jerome Robbins ballet “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”), and remarkably intricate scenic design (Michael Anania) including bold architectural elements bathed in a deeply-saturated color palette of dramatic lighting (Charlie Morrison).
The all-star cast (directed by Glenn Casale, whom audiences will remember from Peter Pan and last year's The Little Mermaid) includes the extraordinary Rachel York in the role of strong-willed English widow Anna Leonowens along with Alan Ariano as the 1862-era King of Siam who has summoned Anna to serve as a tutor for his many children and wives. Additionally bringing opera credits to the stage, Tami Swartz plays the king's first wife Lady Thiang; and Yoon Jeong Seong opulently portrays the king's slave girl Tuptim who is secretly in love with her emissary bodyguard Lun Tha (tenderly depicted by Devin Ilaw). Aidan Winn and Major Curda prove their outstanding chops as Anna's son Louis and the inquisitive crown Prince Chulalongkorn respectively, and kudos are definitely in order for the 11 local young actors who were cast as the king's children (Julie Hall, Adrian Hamlin, Luke Knittle, Marley Knittle, Francesca Nelle, Chloe Nguyen, Jonas Rogers, Rylan Ramirez, Madison Verre, Natalie Verre, and Parker Weathersbee).
This heartwarming musical (which was considered by Rodgers and Hammerstein to be their best work) consists of a well-written plotline (based on a true story retold in the classic 1956 movie starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr) and an exquisitely elegant score containing familiar classic songs like "Getting to Know You," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Shall We Dance," and more. Enhanced by a live orchestra and sprinkled with charming humor, The King and I is wonderfully entertaining, richly layered, and dazzling to behold ... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The enthralling family-friendly show runs at Dallas Summer Musicals through Sunday, April 5, 2015 (with a length of approximately 3 hours including one 20-minute intermission). Tickets range from $25.00 - $108.00, booster chair cushions are available for a nominal charge with ID, general parking is complimentary, and valet service is provided for $15.00.
For more information, see performance details below, view additional general information about Dallas Summer Musicals, or visit the Dallas Summer Musicals website to Get Tickets for this or other upcoming shows such as The Illusionists, Cinderella, Dirty Dancing, Pippin, and more.