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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Wolf Trap/Theater of the Stars The King & I

By • Sep 2nd, 2012 • Category: Reviews
The King & I
Theater of the Stars/Wolf Trap
Filene Center, Vienna, VA
Through September 2nd
2:40 with intermission
$20-$80 (+ fees)
Reviewed August 31st, 2012

Though a bit muggy, an enjoyable evening under the stars (well, more like a ceiling, but no walls) was had by a trip to Wolf Trap to see the Atlanta Theater of the Stars touring production of The King & I (Music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II).

Anna, a recent widow along with her son Louie travel to the country of Siam (today Thailand) to instruct the children of the King. Initially the King and Anna butt heads over a promise not kept, but eventually came to an understanding as the two learn from each other.

Anna, played by Victoria Mallory played the down to earth Lady Anna with much grace and charm. Her strong voice carried well into the audience. She was kind and her love towards the king’s children (all 76 of them, although only 16 were apparently worthy of instruction according to the king) was real. Mallory’s affection was not only for the children, but also for the wives who were currently in the king’s favor. The head wife, Lady Thiang played by Jee Hyun Lim was a woman who seemed older than her years and seemed to love the king of Siam with fear and a realization that although a great man, he was still human. The head-butting began almost the moment that Anna got off the boat in Siam. The king of Siam, played remarkably by Ronobir Lahiri, felt that living in the palace was very desirable, whereas Anna, not wishing to be on 24-hour call, decided that this would NOT do and the tug of war began. The battle between the two was quite entertaining to watch as Lahiri received lessons in how to treat English women and Mallory learned to respect the traditions of the palace. The comedy was real, as was the anger, respect, and eventually love between two people with two very different ideals about life.

A couple of the minor characters who also gave their all (including their heads) in this production were Lun Tha (Josh Dela Cruz ) who was secretly in love with and Tuptim played by the sweet, but unhappy Ali Ewoldt. A gift from the king of Burma, Lun Tha and Tuptim’s love songs were terrific and so lovingly sad that you wanted to help them escape.

Scenic Designer Kenneth Foy made positive use of sets that moved effortlessly to reveal rooms of the palace, the ship as well as the set for Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Act 2. This play-within-a play was very creative as the costumes were bright and shimmery and the make up was colorful and the use of colorful masks set an otherworldly tone. The sound was really the only drawback to the evening. Sound Designer Peter Fitzgerald was at a disadvantage becausee of the outdoor theater of Wolf Trap. The sound comes out and seems to fly to the trees which makes it difficult to understand all of the spoken words. However, the lighting was well done, and the orchestra made the notes come alive and kept the energy high.

It was interesting that the audience reacted much more strongly to the songs of the first act than the second act. The second act definitely has a darker feel, and the audience was muted throughout the excellent ballet “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.” The triumphant “Shall We Dance?” had the audience cheering again.

Photo Gallery

Photo 1 Photo 2

Cast

  • Captain Orton: John Antony
  • Louis Leonowens: Chase McGrath
  • Anna Leonowans: Victoria Mallory
  • The Interpreter: Andy Dahn
  • The Kralahome: Raul Aranas
  • The King of Siam: Ronobir Lahiri
  • Court Dancer: Jessica Wu
  • Lun Tha: Josh Dela Cruz
  • Tuptim: Ali Ewoldt
  • Lady Thiang: Lee Hyun Lim
  • Prince Chulalongkorn: Raphael Aranas
  • Fan Dancer: Yuki Ozeki
  • Sir Edward Ramsey: John Antony
  • Royal Wives, Slaves, Courtiers, Guards, Monks, English Guests, and Market People: Raphael Aranas, Stephanie Card, Andrew Cheng, Amy Chiang, Andy Danh, Thang Dao, Yuka Fukuda-Lahiri, Cassey K. Kivnick, Azumi Milligan, JP Moraga, Ariela Morganstern, Manna Nichols, Rommel Pierre O’Choa, Rumi Oyama, Yuki Ozeki, Jessica Wu
  • The Royal Children: Samira Alami, Safiya Alami, Cassie Cope, Lewis Bliss, Lucy Gibbs, Remy Brettell, Katie Lim, Holden Brettell, Gianna Casolara, Luis Malenab, Alyssa Malenab, Kiana Khashnoud, Laura Fabriele A. De Leoz, Lance Gerard A. De Leoz
  • “Small House of Uncle Thomas” Ballet
    • Eliza: Jessica Wu
    • Simon of Legree: Andrew Cheng
    • Angel George: Rumi Oyama
    • Uncle Thomas: Cassey K. Kivnick
    • Littl Eva: Azumi Milligan
    • Topsy: Yuki Ozeki
  • Understudies
    • King of Siam: Raul Aranas
    • Anna: Stephanie Card
    • Lun Tha: JP Moraga
    • Tuptim: Manna Nichols
    • Lady Thiang: Ariela Morganstern

Touring Musicians

  • Conductor: Eugene Gwozdz
  • Associate Conductor/Keyboard: Mark Erenstoft
  • Percussionist: Louis B. Crocco

Stage Management

  • Production Stage Manager: John W. Calder, III
  • Stage Manager: Sarah Marshall
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Dan Zittel

Crew

  • Scenic Design: Kenneth Foy
  • Costumes Provided By: Theater of the Stars
  • Lighting Design: Kirk Bookman
  • Sound Design: Peter Fitzgerald
  • Casting: Wojcik | Seay Casting
  • Children’s Musical Director: Bill Newberry
  • General Manager: Brian D. Frey
  • Company Management: Cambra Overend
  • Associate Director and Choreography: Susan Kikuchi
  • Director: Baayork Lee

King & I Staff

  • Assistants to The Choreographer: Thang Dao, Yukiko Kashiki, Cassey K. Kivnick, Yuki Ozeki
  • Dance Captain: Rommel Pierre O’Choa
  • Associate Lighting Designer: Brad Peterson
  • Associate Sound Designer: Janet Smith

Crew

  • Head Carpenter: Edward J. Creasy
  • Assistant Carpenter: Terry Behle
  • Head Electrician: Dustin Adams
  • Assistant Electrician/Front Light Operator: Christina Aikman
  • Head Sound Engineer/Mixer: Josh Liebert
  • Assistant Sound/Monitors: David Kobernuss
  • Prop Head: Molly Faulk
  • Wardrobe Supervisor: Betty Johnson
  • Assistant Wardrobe: Don Skelton
  • Hair & Wig Supervisor: Diane Spence
  • Wolf Trap Musicians
  • Flute: Dave Lonkevich
  • Oboe, English Horn: Fatma Daglar
  • Clarinet: Dave Jones
  • Clarinet, Flute: Ed Walters
  • Horn: Greg Miller, Mark Hughes
  • Trumpet: Chris Gekker, Fred Irby
  • Trombone: Mark Mauldin, Dave Sciannella
  • Percussion: Bill Richards
  • Bass: Jeff Cooper
  • Violin: Patty Hurd, Concertmaster, Sarah Sherry, Paula McCarthy
  • Viola: Jennifer Rende
  • Cello: Lori Barnet, Sue Kelly
  • Harp: Caroline Hudson

Disclaimer: General Motors provided two complimentary tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review, as well as a night at the Hilton, and the use of a Chevy Camaro for the holiday weekend.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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