It’s only 9.30 on a dreary Sunday morning, but Opera Australia’s Southbank studio is abuzz with excitement as more than two dozen children are being put through their paces by Neil Rutherford, Associate Director on The King and I.
39 children have been cast in roles for the Melbourne season of the award winning production being presented by John Frost and Opera Australia. The principal role of Prince Chululongkorn will be shared by Joshua Ding, George Missailidis and David Tan, and the principal role of Louis Leonowens will be shared by Jack Lyall, Campbell MacCorquodale and Beau Woodbridge. A further 33 children will play the young princes and princesses of Siam.
“We were very impressed with the talent we found in our auditions, so had no trouble in casting three separate casts of children,” says Adrian Storey, Associate Producer, Opera Australia. “We are looking forward to Melbourne audiences getting to know these wonderful young children as they appear in several scenes throughout the show.”
“For many of them this is their first ever musical, but I am sure for all of them it will be a thrill to have the chance to be on stage alongside artists of the calibre of Lisa McCune and Jason Scott Lee. Along with the fabulous Rodgers and Hammerstein score, and magnificent set and costumes, this will really be a terrific opportunity for these young budding artists.”
Four-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens, while internationally acclaimed actor Jason Scott Lee returns to the role of the King of Siam following his starring role in the London production in 2000.
The King and I was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical together and is considered one of the jewels in their crown. It was based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which took its inspiration from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a British governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s.
The beautiful score includes the songs I Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance? and Hello, Young Lovers.
The King and I
Princess Theatre, 163 Spring Street, Melbourne
Season commences 10 June 2014
Bookings: 13 61 00 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
For more information, visit: www.thekingandimusical.com.au for details.
Image: Lisa McCune and Jason Scott Lee in The King and I – photo by Oliver Toth