Former West End Evita Marti Webb, who premiered Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Tell Me On a Sunday" song cycle, is currently starring in a UK tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I.
Webb stars as Anna Leonowens opposite Ronobir Lahiri's King of Siam in the current tour, which began earlier this month at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, where it will play until Saturday, Aug. 24. Other stops on the tour include The Bristol Hippodrome (Sept. 10-28), The Apollo Oxford (Oct. 1-19), The Sunderland Empire (Oct. 22-Nov. 9), The Liverpool Empire (Nov. 12-30) and The Birmingham Alexandra (Dec. 4, 2002-Jan. 18, 2003).
Marti Webb is one of the leading musical theatre actresses in London, having performed in West End productions of Divorce Me Darling, Song and Dance, Cats, Evita, Godspell, The Card, Half a Sixpence and Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. Her solo recordings are numerous, including "Marti Webb: Performance," "I Won't Change Places," "If You Leave Me Now," "Marti Webb Sings Gershwin" and "Tell Me On a Sunday." Webb's co-star, Ronobir Lahiri, understudied the role of the King in the recent West End production of The King and I.
The King and I debuted on Broadway in 1951, where it won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Gertrude Lawrence) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Yul Brynner). The East versus West plot concerns an English widow, Anna Leonowens, who comes to Siam with her young son to serve as a teacher to the King of Siam's many children. Both Anna and the King grow to understand and respect one another's differences in this touching love story.
The most recent Broadway revival won the 1996 Tony or Best Revival of a Musical as well as a Best Actress in a Musical Award for its leading lady, Donna Murphy, who played opposite Lou Diamond Phillips' King. Following Murphy in the role of Anna were Tony winner Faith Prince and pop icon Marie Osmond. Britain's leading musical theatre actress, Elaine Paige, also recently portrayed the role of Anna in a heralded West End production. The Rodgers and Hammerstein score boasts such tunes as "Shall We Dance?" "Hello, Young Lovers," "I Have Dreamed," "Something Wonderful," and "We Kiss in a Shadow." —By Andrew Gans