'The King and I' Feb. 20 – Apr. 5, 2020 at La Comedia Dinner Theatre.
Two worlds collide in this breathtaking and exquisite musical. Set in 1860’s Bangkok, The King and I tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, The King and I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”
All aspects of ‘The King and I,’ such as the vocals, performances, scenery, lighting etc., etc., etc., are top notch. It’s among the best all-around productions that La Comedia has offered in recent years. The only thing missing is Chris Kramer. Despite Kramer’s absence, there is still plenty of star power as some alums from the recent national tour are in the cast.
Among the alumni is Pedro Kaawaloa, who stars as the King of Siam. I had the good fortune of seeing him on the Schuster Stage last February in the same role and his performance at La Comedia is just as spectacular. Kaawaloa’s presence adds an extra sense of excitement to the air. He is certainly worth bowing to. Worthy of much credit is Paige Mason (Anna), who matches the level of greatness shown by Kaawaloa. Her voice is national tour worthy, as is her smile, charm, wit etc., etc., etc. Anna strongly desires a house to be built for her, but Mason’s home is on the stage.
Beautiful voices at La Comedia are as common as Bloomberg commercials, but few stand out as much as Tsubasa Ogawa (Lady Thiang), Alice Jihyun Kim’s (Tuptim) and Vincent Law (Lun Tha). Their range soars to the highest of depths and every note uttered is a blessing upon our ears. Another musical highlight, based on both sound and choreography is ‘Getting to Know You’ by Mason, the wives, and children. Their fluid movements are as in-sync as their voices.
Beyond the performances, including Digger Howard’s (Kralahome) captivating flip of his garb whenever exiting the stage, the scenery is also exquisite. I’m guilty of often taken for granted all the set pieces that plays such an integral part in transforming the stage from a restaurant into a theatre. The sets are always impressive, but the work done for ‘The King and I’ really stands out. Some new lighting techniques are also used, which really shine.
Plus the buffet is delicious with a mix of traditional favorites and some tastes from the Orient. I filled up on and had seconds of the Mongolian Beef and Noodles, Teriyaki Chicken Tenders, Fried Rice etc., etc., etc. Though I didn’t save room, I managed to get down the coconut ice cream for dessert.
There’s much to enjoy about ‘The King and I,’ as it’s a national tour worthy type of production, stationed at La Comedia through April 5.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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