The King And I
Based on Margaret Landon's book, "Anna and the King of Siam," "The King and I" is a rich musical, marking the beginning of shows combining dramatic and musical theater. As musical singer and actress Gertrude Lawrence was approaching her last years, she came upon Landon's book and was so enamored with it that she brought the book to Oscar Hammerstein requesting that he turn it into a play. After a few short months, the script was ready and Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner began rehearsing "The King And I" as Anna and the King. With a ballet section titled "The House of Uncle Thomas," choreographed by Jerome Robbins, it seemed as if "The King And I" had everything. A complicated emotional musical dealing with love, death, racism, and slavery, "The King And I" also birthed a number of wonderful songs such as "Getting To Know You," "Shall We Dance," and "Whistle a Happy Tune." The first of its kind, working both because of its drama and emotional appeal and because of its musical accessibility, "The King And I" drew a large audience when it opened in 1951. Sadly, Gertrude Lawrence passed away during the run of the show, and the cast was thus forced to end the musical. Nevertheless, it was readapted later and again received extremely well.
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