Through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lyric Stage has employed a 35-piece orchestra to perform Bennett's original orchestrations, which have not been heard since the original 1951 Broadway production of The King and I.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, which sanctioned the production, has spent the past four years restoring the original Broadway charts. In 2007 Lyric Stage also premiered Don Walker's restored original orchestrations for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel performed by a 40-piece orchestra.
The King and I reunites director Cheryl Denson and musical director/conductor Jay Dias, who also staged Carousel for Lyric Stage. Choreography is by Ann Nieman.
The principal cast of The King and I features Luann Aronson, who appeared on Broadway as Christine in Phantom of the Opera and in the original Sydmonton Festival staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, as Anna Leonowens opposite Texas stage veteran Joe Nemmers as the King. The cast also features Ya Han Chang as Lady Thiang, Jung Eun Kim as Tup Tim and Adrian Li Donni is Lun Tha.
The ensemble comprises Brian Mathis, Greg Dulcie, Jack VanGorden, Bryse Burris, Edward Andrion, Tom Timbol, Ben Giddings, Stephen Langton, Thomas Nanthavongdouangsy, David Lee Staggers, Sergio Antonio Garcia, Souk Burrowns, Jason Mayfield, Addison Faith Reed, Kelly McCain, Katherine Gentsch, Molly Welch, Amanda Brown, Angela Moore, Mary McElree, Amy Wells, Erin Nishimura, Mallory Moser, Elizabeth Judd, Kathryn Frady, Lauren Godfrey, Pamela Langton, Hani Park, Lucia Welch, Vernecia Vernon, Rachel Legaspi, Kyle Hughes, Mei Li West, Tyler Rouse, Lana Staggers, Adrienne Morales, Anthony Carrillo and Ashton Miramontes. The King and I premiered on Broadway in 1951 at the St. James Theatre, where it earned the Tony Award for Best Musical, and took Best Acting honors for its stars Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence. Yul Brynner appeared in the 1956 film adaptation and returned for two subsequent revivals of the musical in 1977 and 1978. Most recently, Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Philips appeared in the 1996 Broadway revival at the Neil Simon Theatre, where the production earned the Tony for Best Revival and Best Actress for Murphy.
The King and I runs through June 29 at the Irving Arts Center's Carpenter Performance Hall. For tickets phone (972) 252-2787 or visit LyricStage.