Lou Diamond Phillips Will Make Surprise Return to The King and I Revival

By Adam Hetrick
01 Jul 2014

Lou Diamond Phillips in the Broadway musical The King and I
Lou Diamond Phillips in the Broadway musical The King and I

Tony Award-nominated actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who played The King of Siam in the 1996 Broadway revival of The King and I, will return to the role in the Australian remounting of the production, which is currently playing Melbourne's Princess Theatre, producer John Frost announced July 1.

Phillips steps in for Jason Scott Lee, who has withdrawn from the production due to a torn calf muscle. Phillips is set to begin Melbourne performances July 10.

Produced by Frost, the revival of the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic first played the Adelaide Festival Theatre in 1991, starring Hayley Mills under the direction of Christopher Renshaw. That staging later arrived on Broadway in 1996 starring Donna Murphy and Phillips. It was the first Australian production ever to transfer to Broadway. A 2000 London revival with Elaine Paige followed. The Australian remounting began performances April 19 in Melbourne. Sydney performances begin Sept. 9 with actor Teddy Tahu Rhodes previously announced to play the King.

Actress Lisa McCune plays Anna Leonowens.



"I'm thrilled that Lou has a gap in his schedule which enables him to make his Australian stage debut for the Melbourne season of The King and I. Jason made a wonderful King and we are very sorry that his injury means he can’t continue," Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini said in a statement.

John Frost added, "It provides a unique opportunity for Melbourne audiences to witness the wonderful Lou Diamond Phillips, who was so extraordinary in the role on Broadway. It is so rare for a Tony nominated star to come to Australia to recreate their performance."

The Australian production of The King and I features the original Jerome Robbins choreography, recreated by Susan Kikuchi. Renshaw again directs alongside the original creative team from the 1991 revival, including Tony-winning costume designer Roger Kirk, Tony-winning scenic designer Brian Thomson and Tony-nominated lighting designer Nigel Levings. Sound design is by Michael Waters. Peter Case is the musical director. Neil Rutherford is associate director.

As previously reported, Lincoln Center Theater will revive the musical on Broadway in 2015 with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe

Based on Margaret Landon's 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam," The King and I features such songs as "We Kiss in a Shadow," "I Have Dreamed," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Getting to Know You," "Shall We Dance? and "Hello, Young Lovers."

Visit thekingandimusical.com.au.