Christiane Noll, of Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde, told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 11) that she will provide the singing voice for the character of Anna Leonowens in an animated film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I.
Noll said she just finished recording the songs for the film, which is expected to be released in the summer of 1999 by Morgan Creek, a division of Warner Brothers. Noll said British stage and screen actress Miranda Richardson (Evening Star, The Crying Game, Enchanted April) will be Anna's speaking voice.
Linda Goldenberg, a spokesperson with Morgan Creek, told Playbill On-Line that Richardsen was confirmed but that she didn't know about Noll. Other cast members have been set, but Goldenberg only said, "They're Broadway singers."
Noll said, "They're still looking" for a King and that auditions were held as recently as the week of Aug. 4, 1997, with cast members from Jekyll & Hyde auditioning.
Bert Fink, vice-president of public relations with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, told Playbill On-Line "The film's plot is geared towards children and adults alike, with plenty of action, but remains faithful to the original story." Fink said no additional music or lyrics will be written for the film, which when released, will be the first animated original Broadway musical ever. Of the recording sessions, Noll said, "It was a ball. I had a phenomenal time," and said she especially enjoyed singing "Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You ?" She said it wasn't difficult to record the songs by herself, with no other singers, "You use your imagination...you can do them separately." Acting only with her voice, Noll said, "You have to be very animated and have a lot more color" than on-stage. She continued, "If he (producer, director and screenplay writer Richard Rich) didn't see it (with his eyes closed), you had to do it again." Rich also wrote, directed and produced The Swan Princess, I & II, directed and wrote Disney's The Black Cauldron and directed Disney's The Fox and the Hound.
Noll will stay with Jekyll & Hyde until April, 1998, when she will have been with the show for almost three years. After that she said, "We'll see if something else pops up." Noll will perform at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, NY Aug. 17 in In the Works, a revue of music by up and coming theatre writers and composers.
"I love the idea of being able to do new stuff, to work on something that is completely new and still growing," Noll said, and described the music as "storytelling songs with really fun lyrics."
Future plans include a possible solo album, Noll said, "It's been an incredible learning experience" watching her co-star Linda Eder release her latest album, It's Time. Noll is featured on the upcoming Varese Sarabande recordings Prime Time Musicals and Sondheim at the Movies.