Filipinos to stage 'The King and I' in September
Many Filipinos can sing along to Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Getting to Know You." After all, it's a school favorite for the first day of classes, along with "Welcome to the Family."
But not everyone knows the song is just one of many in the Tony Award-winning musical "The King and I," which will be staged in Manila this September, featuring an all-Filipino cast and crew.
Resorts World Manila's production of "The King and I" is directed by Freddie Santos. Monique Wilson and Sheila Valderrama play Anna Leonowens, and Leo Tavarro Valdez and Bo Cerrudo play the King.
“It’s time for the Filipino talents to shine once more in our own land,” Valdez said in a press release.
Also in this major production are musical director Rodell Colmenar and the rest of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philippine Ballet Theater, vocal director Lynn Fabella, sound engineer Radz Corpuz, lights designer John Batalla, set designer Jo Tecson of Lights and Space Concepts, and costume designers Aksana Sidarava and Rajo Laurel.
“We know that the Filipinos are the most critical yet loving audience we Filipino Broadway performers have and so we are looking forward to give you a good show," Wilson said in the press release.
The production also features a gigantic set designed by Jo Tecson of Lights and Space Concepts, elaborate costumes designed by Rajo Laurel, and lights designed by John Batalla—all meant to showcase the majestic land of Siam, said Resorts World Manila in the press release.
“This gigantic stage affected everything in the play of course. The challenge was playing with what’s colossal and at the same time emphasizing the tiny, presenting to you both things that can and can’t be seen,” said Santos.
“The King and I” is based on Margaret Landon's 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam," which tells the story of British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. In the 1860s, Leonowens was a governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam, who ruled from 1851 to 1868.
As the story goes, the king was a modernizer, and it was Anna's job to educate his children. In Leonowens’ memoirs, she describes the king as someone who compelled respect from the first glance.
"With an air of command oddly at variance with his almost indecent attire, of which he seemed superbly unconscious, he beckoned to a young attendant, who crawled to him as a dog crawls to an angry master," Leonowens wrote in "The English Governess at the Siamese Court."
“The King and I” shows Anna and the King disagreeing in often comedic encounters between two very different cultures, and there are also little stories, like the love story between Lun Tha and Tuptim, a Burmese slave and one of the King's wives.
According to Santos, their production will focus on love, and not just the romantic kind. “More than the politics and the coming of two different cultures, we want to emphasize on the love—romantic love, love for oneself, love for family, love for country," Santos said in the press release. –KG, GMA News
“The King and I” will be at the Newport Performing Arts Theater beginning September 15, 2012.
For more information, visit the Resorts World Manila website.