When Hayley Mills' contract with the national touring production of The King And I ends in April, she may or may not continue with the production, which has fueled speculation over who her replacement might be. CultureFinder Online's pseudonymous Tattle & Tale wrote (Feb. 9) that the front-runner to succeed Hayley Mills as Anna seems to be Faith Prince, who replaced Donna Murphy in the role on Broadway.
Michael David of Dodger Touring pointed out in a statement that playing Anna in Cincinnati is sort of a homecoming for Prince, since she studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Joyce Friedman, spokesperson from D-Tours (Dodger Touring) told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 10) the tour's post-April casting plans for Anna are still undecided, but Prince would definitely fill in for a vacationing Mills for the last leg of its current Cincinnati run, Feb. 17-22.
The national touring company of the Tony-winning Christopher Renshaw The King and I opened April 2, in Minneapolis. Vee (Victor) Talmadge stars as The King.
Mills was the perky child star of 1960s family films including The Trouble With Angels and the pre-Andrew Lloyd Webber movie version of Whistle Down the Wind. 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. Mills' other recent stage credits include Dead Guilty and The Card in London, and a tour of Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. In Noel Coward's Fallen Angels . She won a special Oscar for performance in the 1960s film Pollyanna .
The production won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Revival and won Tonys for Best Actress (Donna Murphy), Best Costumes (Roger Kirk) and Best Scenic Design (Brian Thomson). The latter two were members of the original Australian design team.
Along with lighting designer Nigel Levings, the team has remounted the production for this tour. Broadway Choreographer Lar Lubovitch uses passages from Jerome Robbins' original 1951 choreography, and has created some new staging of his own.
Also featured in the cast are Ernest Abuba as the Kralahome, Naomi Itami as Lady Thiang, Luziminda Lor as Tuptim and Timothy Ford Murphy as Lun Tha.
Upcoming cities for the tour include:
Feb. 10-22: Cincinati, OH (Aronoff Center)
Feb. 25-March 1: Orlando, FL (Bob Carr)
March 3-8: Memphis, TN (Orpheum)
March 10-15: Charlotte, NC (Ovens Auditorium)
March 17-22: West Palm Beach, FL (Kravis)
March 24-29: Naples, FL (Philharmonic)
March 31-April 5: Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall
April 7-12: Houston, TX, Jones Hall