R&H Theatricals has announced that the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I will be the latest title released under its “Getting to Know You Series,” which adapts the catalogue's full-length musicals into hour-long presentations for school-age performers.
The King and I joins such musicals as The Sound of Music, State Fair, Cinderella, Oklahoma!, and Once Upon a Mattress.
Billed as Getting to Know… The King and I, the 60-minute version was adapted by iTheatrics, which has also created school-appropriate productions of Annie, Into the Woods, Peter Pan, Seussical, and Fiddler on the Roof.
The musical adaptations created by iTheatrics include show-specific resources for students and educators, a choreography DVD, and accompaniment tracks that have been transposed for young voices.
Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the 1951 musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. The score includes the standards “Getting To Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” “I Have Dreamed,” and “Something Wonderful.”
“Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II brought out something absolutely extraordinary in each other. The King and I is masterful and breathtaking all at once; it draws on dance, dialogue, song, and drama to explore universal themes that are as top-of-mind today as when Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote them,” said Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein, in a statement. “We chose to name our student collection of musicals after The King and I song ‘Getting to Know You’ as it represents the spirit of what happens when people of all ages put on a show. This is a story about people of different cultures with different beliefs and values, coming together to find common ground. We see young people as exciting new partners in it; we are looking forward to discovering how they stage their interpretations, and we think their experiences will have a positive role in shaping them as individuals.”
“One of my favorite lines in The King and I is ‘It’s a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought, that “if you become a teacher by your pupils you’ll be taught,”’” added iTheatrics’ Timothy Allen McDonald. “That value perfectly describes the joy of putting on a musical with young people.”