‘Great Performances’ Spotlights Tony-Winning Revival of ‘The King and I’

The King and I_London_12_Image credit Matthew Murphy ffff
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed 2015 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic 1951 musical directed by Bartlett Sher went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Great Performances features Broadway’s Best with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I premiering Friday, November 8 on PBS.

Based on a true story, the year is 1862, and East and West collide when British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens arrives in Siam (modern day Thailand) to take up her post instructing the royal household of children from the King’s several wives.

Despite her sharp wit and strong will, nothing has prepared Anna for the lessons this rich and complicated new land has to teach her, or for the powerful connection she will forge with its imperious but conflicted King.

Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

The score features a treasure trove of timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein hits including “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,” “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Shall We Dance?”

Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

With a cast of over 50 people, the production was recorded during its 2018 run in London’s West End with original Lincoln Center Theater cast members Ken Watanabe as the King and Kelli O’Hara in her Tony-winning performance as Mrs. Anna, along with Ruthie Ann Miles as “head wife” Lady Thiang, who won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical.

Great Performances: The King and I, Premiere, Friday, November 8, 9/8c, PBS (Check your local listings)