Vee Talmadge has won the coveted role of The King opposite Hayley Mills in the U.S. national tour of Christopher Renshaw's Tony-winning King and I revival.
California actor-playwright director Vee (for Victor) Talmage received his B.A. From Cornell in 1977 and his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1980. He co-founded and served as literary director for NY's Empire Stage Players and is the author of the plays Kiss Goodbye The Howling Beast (Actors Theatre of Louisville finalist) The Gate Of Heaven (written with Lane Nishikawa).
Mills, perky child star of 1960s family films including The Trouble With Angels and, coincidentally, Whistle Down the Wind, will star in the 95-week North American tour, as announced previously.
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.
The Broadway production won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Revival, and won Tonys for Best Actress (Donna Murphy), Best Costumes and Best Scenic Design. Donna Murphy is set to leave the Broadway show in March, but her replacement has not yet been announced. The New York Post reports that the most heavily rumored name is Faith Prince (What's Wrong With This Picture, Guys & Dolls, Falsettoland). No word on Lou Diamond Phillips' plans when his contract as the King comes due. The same creative team responsible for the Australian and Broadway productions will mount the tour, which will launch March 18 in Minneapolis. Other dates will be announced shortly.
Hayley's film Whistle Down the Wind is being adapted as a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with Irene Molloy in the role originated by Mills.