Why is Down Under Moving on Up? As Luner on Theatre continues to grow in terms of covering theatrical news on a global scale, we are beyond happy to now be covering Australia on our blog as frequently as we can. While it may seem a far cry from the streets of New York and London we are talking about daily on this blog, you’d be surprised just how much what is happening down under is reflecting the work of the future up here. So what is the big news down under? Let’s head to the outback to check out what latest theatre news is making headlines! Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that the Tony Award winning revival of The King And I will return to Australia in 2014!
The King And I is a musical that features music by Richard Rodgers with a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. The musical tells the story of between the King and Anna, a british school teacher, who is hired to visit the country to teach as the king works to modernize his country. Their relationship is filled with much argument and anger as well as an underlying love that neither of them is willing to admit. The story comes from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who was the governess to King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s.
Australian producer John Frost has announced that he will revive The King and I in Australia in 2014. Frost was behind the 1991 production of The King and I which began in Australia and later transferred to Broadway in 1996. The production went on to receive the Tony Award for Best Musical revival. The production was the first ever Australian show to transfer to Broadway. Frost announced that this revival will be a return of his work from 1991.
The King and I will open at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane (Pictured Left) in April 2014. The production will then go on tour throughout Australia also making stops at The Princess Theatre in Melbourne that June and finish at The Sydney Opera House in September. At this point in time, no production team or casting has been announced for the revival. The show will be produced by Gordon Frost Organisation and Opera Australia.
While no production team has been announced, in the case that the 1991 production will return entirely, here is the 1991 creative team who brought you that award-winning production. At the helm was Christopher Renshaw who served as director for the revival. The production used the original Jerome Robbins choreography. Brian Thomson as scenic designer, Roger Kirk as costume designer, Nigel Levings as lighting designer, Tony Meola and Lewis Mead as sound designers. The production used the original Robert Russell Bennett orchestrations, with additional orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin.
Ted Chapin, president and executive director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, expressed his excitement for the production’s return in a statement to the press.
“John Frost’s production of The King and I is a classic example of taking a theatrical risk – a risk that ended up paying off better than anyone could have imagined. John’s resume didn’t necessarily warrant him being handed the rights to one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best shows, but he was enthusiastic and spirited – characteristics I am happy to say he still possesses today – and persuasive. Seeing the production in Melbourne was one of the most exciting nights of my life, and that started the world-wide roll-out which, of course, included a triumphant run on Broadway. I am so looking forward to seeing it again, and Opera Australia is our perfect modern partner.”
The return of The King And I to Australia is very exciting news. I must admit, I did not know anything about Australian theatre until recently and to some point, still know absolutely nothing. However, this is what I can tell you from my research of what is exactly is hitting the stage down under. Australia is a huge theatrical venue where it seems like the people just can’t get enough of these blockbuster musicals. While the two major theatrical venues in the world right now are both Broadway in New York and the West End in London, I would no hesitate to say that Melbourne in Australia (or any other city for that the point of it) will be making its way to that list within the next 5 years. The King And I reminds us of how an Australian production transferred to Broadway for the first time ever back in 1996. Even now, King Kong the musical has launched in Australia extended multiple times and is now looking for venues worldwide including Broadway. Australia is the next theatrical launching point for producers. If I was you, I’d head down under before it’s too late.
Luner on Theatre will continue to bring you coverage of the return of The King And I to Australia! Also, in case you didn’t recall, we launched a whole page covering Australian Theatre News! While we haven’t had the chance to update it as frequently as we want to, we plan to cover more news as it happens. If you are in Australia and know about theatre happening you want to share, email us! Lunerontheatre@gmail.com is always up and running and filling up with theatre news people want us to share with the rest of the world! Until next time, check out Luner on Theatre’s Official Australian Theatre Page. Be sure to check Luner on Theatre on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter as well! We are constantly updating these pages with information! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!