Though Faith Prince recently subbed for a vacationing Hayley Mills in the U.S. King and I tour, it is Marie Osmond, the most recent Broadway Anna, who will take over for Mills when her year-long contract expires, April 12. Mills will finish up in Houston, TX, with Osmond opening in San Francisco April 15.
The Broadway King and I ended its run Feb. 22, after 26 previews and 781 regular performances at the Neil Simon Theatre. The national touring company of the Tony-winning Christopher Renshaw The King and I opened April 2, 1997, in Minneapolis. Vee (Victor) Talmadge stars as The King.
Osmond made her Broadway debut in The King and I but is in fact no stranger to the world of Rodgers & Hammerstein: She starred as Maria in the U.S. and Canadian national tour of The Sound of Music in 1994 and 1995, and reprised the role earlier this year in a tour across Southeast Asia.
She first won the hearts of the American public when she appeared with her singing brothers on TV's "Andy Williams' Show" in the '60s, and went on to star with her brother Donny on ABC's "The Donny and Marie Show." It was recently announced that Marie and Donny will be reunited on TV next year when they team up for a syndicated talk and variety show.
Mills, who has starred as Mrs. Anna in the tour since April 1997, was the perky child star of 1960s family films including The Trouble With Angels and the pre-Andrew Lloyd Webber movie version of Whistle Down the Wind. Mills originated the role of Mrs. Anna in this production when it had its world premiere in Australia. The role was taken for the Broadway revival by Donna Murphy, who won the 1996 Tony Award as Best Actress in the role. Mills' other recent stage credits include Dead Guilty and The Card in London, and a tour of Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. In Noel Coward's Fallen Angels . She won a special Oscar for performance in the 1960s film Pollyanna .
The recent Broadway King and I won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Revival and won Tonys for Best Actress (Donna Murphy), Best Costumes (Roger Kirk) and Best Scenic Design (Brian Thomson). The latter two were members of the original Australian design team.
Along with lighting designer Nigel Levings, the team has remounted the production for this tour. Broadway Choreographer Lar Lubovitch uses passages from Jerome Robbins' original 1951 choreography, and has created some new staging of his own.
Upcoming cities for the tour include:
April 15-May 17: San Francisco, CA, Golden Gate [enter Osmond]
May 19-31: Los Angeles, CA, Pantages