Shall We Dance?

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I” makes its debut in Central Florida

Next month, from May 2 through 7, The Straz Center welcomes the smash hit musical “The King and I” to the stage in Central Florida for the first time. Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” directed by Tony Award Winner Bartlett Sher who won four 2015 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. It will play for eight shows only so you’d best act fast to snag a ticket.

Director Bartlett Sher is reunited with the award-winning creative team from South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza. “The King and I” features sets by Michael Yeargan; costumes by Catherine Zuber; lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Scott Lehrer and choreography by Christopher Gattelli based on the original choreography by Jerome Robbins.

One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, “The King and I” boasts a score which features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”

Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

This run of the “King and I” features a few extra special events as well. Wednesday May 3 will be Kid’s Night on Broadway. Come early to enjoy free activities and entertainment before the show, and stay late for a talk-back with the company members. Plus, kids 12 and under save up to 50% on their ticket when purchased with a full-priced ticket. The Thursday, May 4, performance will be sign language interpreted.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Kavin Panmeechao who plays Lun Tha for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you always a performer, even as a kid or when did you get “the bug”?

I performed as a kid in local community theaters. In my teenage years, I quit acting for a while, and then I went to undergrad at UCLA for theater and I have been acting ever since.
What was your first professional/paid gig?

When I was 12 I did a Christian video series called the “Bible Man,” which is kind of like Barney meets the Power Rangers meets the Bible.
Other than this role, what has been your favorite role?

I have twp. I played Chip Tolentino in a national tour of “Spelling Bee.” I met the actor who plays the King in this production of “The King and I” on that tour. It was comedy, it was fun and it zipped along and was different every night. My other favorite role was Paul in a “Chorus Line.” It came in a time in my life when I was thinking about what I wanted to be and say as an artist and this role was very informative and good for me professionally and emotionally.
What is your fantasy role to play?

I would love to play George in “Sunday in the Park with George,” because it has always spoken to me as an artist. I understand it and I love it. Every time I see it, I learn something more about both the character and the show, and it allows me to focus on my experiences as an artist.
What should the Central Florida audiences expect from this production of the “King and I”?

You are going to expect all the glorious costumes, beautiful music, and fantastic sets, but you will also come away with a show that’s right for everyone in the family. It’s about two different cultures trying to work together and finding common ground. We are really excited to come to Florida and our whole cast has been looking forward to this.

Tickets for “The King and I” start at $58 and can be purchased by visiting StrazCenter.org or by calling the box office at 813-229-7827.

For more information on Kavin, you can visit his Instagram or Twitter pages: /KavinDPan