May 18, 2020

The King and I: "Shall we Dance?"

“Shall we Dance?” is a song from the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I.

The King and I tells the story of Anna Leonowens, a widowed British schoolteacher brought to Siam to tutor the King’s many children. She enjoys her connection with the students, but struggles with cultural differences and with the headstrong King. Through her kindness and persistence, Anna eventually connects with the King, helping to fuel mutual feelings of social understanding and cultural acceptance and openness.

In this scene, the King of Siam has just hosted a successful dinner for a group of English diplomats and their wives. The King (Paolo Montalbán) has a moment alone with his children's governess, Anna Leonowens (Kate Baldwin), who attempts to explain certain Western customs.  Recalling what it's like for a girl at her first dance, she does a polka on her own, but then the King insists that she teach him to dance with her.

"Shall we Dance?"

Song title: "Shall we Dance?"

Musical: The King and I

Music: Richard Rodgers

Book and Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

Year Written: 1951

Language: English

Performance dates: April 29 – May 22, 2016

Artists: Paolo Montalbán (The King of Siam), Kate Baldwin (Anna Leonowens), and the Lyric Opera Orchestra under Maestro David Chase

Special thanks to the Chicago Federation of Musicians local 10-208 and artists of the American Guild of Musical Artists.