Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I is the season-opening attraction at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo, CA. The curtain will go up on the Center's 2000 season on March 6 at 8 PM. Directed and choreographed by Sha Newman, the musical will continue through March 26.Inspired by the popular 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam," the musical is based on the true life memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a 19th-century Englishwoman who became governess to the children of the King of Siam. The story became the basis of a 1946 movie starring Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne. British musical theatre star Gertrude Lawrence then brought the story to the attention of Rodgers and Hammerstein. An unknown Russian-American dancer of Mongolian descent, Yul Brynner, stole the show, which won ten Tony Awards in 1952. The film version starred Brynner and Deborah Kerr, winning five Academy Awards. Yet another (non-musical) movie version of the story, "Anna and the King," was released last year, starring Jodie Foster.
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center is located at 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd. For tickets and information call (310) 372-4477.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent