March 06, 2019

Gorgeous Sets and Costumes Planned for "The King and I"

Lyric Opera’s musicals have won widespread acclaim in recent seasons, with grand-scale productions of Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, and Carousel following the opera season each spring. Last May, The New York Times raved of Carousel that "a chance to hear this cherished score delivered with such ample vocal and musical resources should not be missed," while Broadway World called it “huge, audaciously daring, and bracingly human…immediately legendary.” 

This spring, Lyric presents another beloved gem by Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I, fourth in the company’s American Musical Theater Initiative series. The duo’s works are considered “great musicals [that] still transport us out of this world while encouraging us to study it more closely. More than 60 years on, The King and I still has much to tell us about our differences and shared interests.” (USA Today) 

The lavish sets and costumes for The King and I will make their American debut this spring. The production comes from Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, where it premiered in 2014 to great success. "If there is a theater outside the English-speaking world where productions of American musical comedies equal or surpass those of Broadway, the Théâtre du Châtelet is it,” said The New York Times last summer“Its latest achievement is a grand new staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I by Lee Blakeley that has set French critics searching for superlatives."  

Blakely, a renowned opera and musical director, teams up with conductor David Chase, who led last season’s Carousel at Lyric and who is celebrated for his work on Broadway hits including Cinderella and Billy Elliott. According to the Financial Times, “The show looks splendid, thanks to Jean-Marc Puissant’s elegant and practical sliding panels. Sue Blane’s gorgeous costumes are multicoloured [and] intricately spangled…Peggy Hickey’s inventive choreography turns the long Act-Two ballet…into a piece de resistance complete with puppets. “ 

Casting will be announced after the new year, but tickets are selling fast! Performances begin with the preview on April 29 and include matinee and evening performances on Mother’s Day. Why not give the gift of The King and I for the holidays and enjoy a special day with family in May? 

Lyric Opera premiere generously made possible by The Negaunee Foundation, two Anonymous DonorsRobert S. and Susan E. Morrison, and Northern Trust

Rodgers & Hammerstein's THE KING AND I 
Music by Richard Rodgers   Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II   Based on Anna and the King by Margaret Landon   Original Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett   Original Dance Arrangements by Trude Rittmann   Original Choreography by Jerome Robbins

The King and I production created by the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris on June 13, 2014. General Director: Jeanluc Choplin. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert

Photos: Marie-Noëlle Robert/Théâtre du Châtelet and Todd Rosenberg