Arts Around Austin

The King and I premieres at ZACH Theatre ahead of Broadway revival

The King and I premieres at ZACH Theatre before Broadway revival

King and I Zach Topfer
The King and I come to ZACH.  Photo by Kirk Tuck
King and I Zach Topfer
The King and I at ZACH Theatre.  Photo by Kirk Tuck
King and I Zach Topfer
The King and I at ZACH Theatre.  Photo by Kirk Tuck
King and I Zach Topfer
The show is being revived at Lincoln Center in 2015. Photo by Kirk Tuck
King and I Zach Topfer
The King and I at ZACH. Photo by Kirk Tuck
King and I Zach Topfer
King and I Zach Topfer
King and I Zach Topfer
King and I Zach Topfer
King and I Zach Topfer

Now is your chance to "get to know" The King and I. For the first time in 25 years, the beloved musical is being professionally staged in Austin — and it is coming to ZACH's Topfer Theatre. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that introduced memorable musical numbers such as "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance" enlivens the Topfer stage, and is a perfect opening for the 2014-15 ZACH season. The musical is slated for a Broadway revival in 2015, but you can experience it first right here in Austin.

 The musical is slated for a Broadway revival in 2015, but you can experience it first right here in Austin. 

The story of Anna and the King of Siam blossoms in this lavish production, with Jerome Robbin's legendary choreography and the international cast backed by a live orchestra. Director Abe Reybold's production dazzles beginning with the costumes by Alison Heryer accompanied by a lush and brightly colored set design.

ZACH regular Jill Blackwood stars as Anna, the British school teacher, while Mel Maghuyop takes the other co-starring role as the king of Siam. Both are spot-on in their performances, but another role that steals the show is Tuptim, the young lover from Burma played by Yoonjeong Seong. Her voice is operatic and powerful, and the audience was right there with her for every moment she was singing. June Julian as the king's head wife Lady Thaing and Jason Yau as Tuptim's lover Lun Tha round out the main characters.

"ZACH seeks to lay down the welcome mat to all areas of our dynamic Austin community," says Dave Steakley, ZACH's producing artistic director. "The growing Asian community has been underrepresented on local stages, and this ambitious undertaking is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the artistry of Austinites whom most will have never seen perform. We are honored to learn from our new artistic colleagues, and are loving the process of seeing artificially drawn boundaries being erased, leaving a fuller sense of community in its place."

Based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, The King and I features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The ZACH choreographer is Greg Zane, who was recently named associate choreographer for the upcoming Lincoln Center revival of the musical. 

The King and I runs through October 18 with a special Champagne Opening on September 25, including a reception with the stars of the show immediately following the performance. Tickets start at $25 and are available online at www.zachtheatre.org or by phone at 512-476-0541.

Tickets can also be purchased at the box office, with special Student Rush Tickets ($18) available one hour before show time. Performances are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sunday at 2:30 pm.