The smash-hit musical sensation The King & I is set to return to London’s West End next year starring Call The Midwife’s Helen George as Anna Leonowens following its current sold out UK tour.
Directed by Bartlett Sher (South Pacific / My Fair Lady / To Kill A Mockingbird), this Rogers and Hammerstein majestic masterpiece musical will open at London’s Dominion Theatre on 20 January for a strictly limited six-week season.
Helen George, known to millions over the past decade as Trixie in the hugely popular BBC One drama series Call The Midwife, will return to the stage to reprise the lead role she is currently playing to sold out theatres on tour across the UK. She will be reunited on the Dominion stage with her co-star, Broadway and film actor Darren Lee who played The King on Broadway. Both have been receiving rave reviews on tour, which continues until November this year.
Helen George said: “I am so delighted to continue to play the formidable Anna Leonowens in this incredible production of The King and I. I have really enjoyed playing such an incredibly strong character whilst on tour, but to play her on the West End stage is an honour.”
Producer Howard Panter said: “Our last London residency of this multi award-winning production at the London Palladium broke Box Office records, received critical acclaim and enjoyed standing ovations at every show – we were overwhelmed with the rapturous response. So we are thrilled to bring Helen George and Darren Lee who played The King in the Broadway production to the Dominion next year and offer West End audiences the chance to experience this wonderous production once more. This really is musical theatre at its very best.“
Following the original Broadway smash-hit run at the Lincoln Center Theatre, a sold-out season at the London Palladium (which resulted in the biggest live global event cinema release of 2018) and two record-breaking UK and International tours including Japan, this gloriously lavish production will be brought to the West End stage once again by an internationally renowned creative team under Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher and feature a world-class company of over 50 talented performers and a full-scale orchestra.
The critical acclaim for Bartlett Sher’s production has been phenomenal. When the show opened at the London Palladium in 2018, West End critics heaped praise: the Daily Mail “left the London Palladium on a bright cloud of music”, while the The Times awarded the show “Five stars for a sumptuous King and I” declaring it “a hit” whilst The Daily Telegraph concurred proclaiming the show “looks and sounds ravishing”. Another five stars were awarded from the Sunday Express, Daily Express and the Financial Times called it “simply spellbinding”.
Set in 1860s Bangkok, The King and I 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.
The King and I is a sumptuous, timeless romance from the golden age of musicals, adored by the public and critics alike – and boasting one of the finest scores ever written, including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance.