COSTA MESA — The national tour of the Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is being performed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts through March 11.
Laura Michelle Kelly stars as Anna Leonowens and Jose Llana as the King of Siam. Joan Almedilla plays Lady Thiang, with Brian Rivera as Kralahome, Q Lim as Tuptim, Kavin Panmeechao as Lun Tha, Anthony Chan as Prince Chulalongkorn, Rhyees Stump as Louis Leonowens, and Patrick Boll as Capt. Orton/Sir Edward Ramsey.
The cast also includes Jayden D. Amistad, Kayla Paige Amistad, Lamae Caparas, Sydney Chan, Andrew Cheng, Max B. Ehrlich, Nicole Ferguson, Marie Gutierrez, Rie Hatanaka, Spencer Donovan Jones, Marina Kondo, Darren Lee, Stephanie Lo, Michael Lomeka, Saki Masuda, Nobutaka Mochimaru, Yuki Ozeki, Kevin Schering, Julius Sermonia, Marcus Shane, Alicia Shumway, Ryan Stout, Michiko Takemasa, Noah Toledo, Madeline Trumble, CJ Uy, Jeoffrey Watson, and Keira Belle Young.
Director Bartlett Sher had this to say about the leads: “Jose was so superb on Broadway in ‘The King and I’ that I begged him to join us on the tour, and I feel we are incredibly lucky to have him. He brings such joy and virility and strength to the King. And he is one of Broadway’s great talents.
“Laura Michelle has one of the best voices on Broadway, matched with an extraordinary heart. Her work on ‘Finding Neverland’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ distinguished both of those shows with her natural grace and joy. She will be an exquisite Anna Leonowens.”
Tickets start at $29 and may be purchased online at http://SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Dr. in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings or 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 10, will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation. Other showtimes are Friday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m.; March 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 11, at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
“The King and I” won four 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. Hailed as “first-rate, sumptuous” by The New York Times) and “too beautiful to miss” by New York Magazine, the production played 538 performances on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.
Sher is reunited with the award-winning creative team from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza.” “The King and I” features choreography by Christopher Gattelli based on the original choreography by Jerome Robbins.
“The King and I” boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting to Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the modernist King in an imperialistic world brings to Siam to teach has many wives and children.
Laura Michelle Kelly is an Olivier Award-winning actress for her star-making performances as the title role in the London production of Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” She recently completed a year-and-a-half run playing Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the Broadway production of “Finding Neverland,” starring opposite Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer. She originated the role at the American Repertory Theater (2015 Elliott Award nominee).
Her other Broadway credits include reprising her role in “Mary Poppins” and the 2004 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” West End credits include: “My Fair Lady” (Eliza), “Speed-the-Plow” (Karen), “Lord of the Rings: The Musical” (Galadriel), “Beauty and the Beast” (Belle), “Whistle Down the Wind” (Swallow), “Peter Pan” (Wendy), “Les Miserables” (Eponine), “Mamma Mia” (Sophie). Regional: “The King and I” (Anna) and “South Pacific” (Nellie). Film: “Sweeney Todd” (Lucy).
Jose Llana (King of Siam) returns to the role after two starring engagements in the Tony-winning Lincoln Center production of “The King and I.” He made his American Songbook debut in the spring of 2015, which led to the release of his second solo CD, “Altitude,” in the spring of 2016. He earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal as Marcos in David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s “Here Lies Love” at the Public Theater and played Duke Orsino in the Public Theater’s Public Works musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night” at The Delacorte.
Broadway credits include Chip Tolentino in William Finn’s “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee” (Drama Desk Award, directed by James Lapine), El Gato in “Wonderland,” Wang Ta in David Henry Hwang’s adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Flower Drum Song,” Angel in “Rent,” Jessie-Lee in “Streetcorner Symphony” and his debut as Lun Tha in the 1996 revival of “The King and I,” opposite Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Phillips.
Off-Broadway appearances include Adam in “Falling for Eve” and Gabey in “On the Town. Regional appearances include Distance Runner in “Poster Boy” (Williamstown Theater Festival), Bill Sikes in “Oliver!” (Paper Mill), Guillaume in Cameron Mackintosh’s “Martin Guerre” (Guthrie Theater), Tin Man in “Ballad of Little Jo” (Steppenwolf Theater) and Candide in “Candide” (Prince Theater). TV/Film appearances include HBO’s “Sex and the City” opposite Margaret Cho and “Hitch” with Will Smith. Llana is also a best-selling recording artist on the VIVA Philippines label.