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The King and I – The Spectacular Musical Revival Premieres on PBS

Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara shine in The King and I, an epic Tony-award winning romantic musical.

The King and I on PBS – The Broadway Revival

The King and I revival premiered at the Lincoln Center in 2015. It went on to win four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, and Best Costume Design. The epic scope of the production was a sight to behold, and now you can watch one of Broadway’s best in your living room.

Magnificent. A sweepingly romantic production.

Newsday April 2015

I was lucky enough to see the Lincoln Theater production in person but with a different cast. In 2016, I enjoyed performances from the Broadway legend Marin Mazzie and TV favorite Daniel Dae Kim in the primary roles. They were fabulous, as was the grand set design.

Oh, and the costumes were simply spectacular. But what stood out was how romantic the revival was. Some versions don’t emphasize the epic love stories, but this version does in the loveliest and swooniest of ways.

Now, years later, everyone gets the chance to watch one of the greatest musical revivals in recent years. Sure, this particular performance was filmed at London’s West End, but it’s still the same revival. Trust me; this is one musical experience you don’t want to miss.

Official PBS Synopsis

The King and I - PBS Great Performances
Credit: Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed 2015 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic 1951 musical directed by Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”) went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.

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.

Recording at London’s West End

The King and I - PBS Great Performances
Credit: Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

The production was recorded in London’s West End in 2018 and starred the original Lincoln Center Theater cast. Ken Watanabe plays the King, and Kelli O’Hara plays Mrs. Anna. She won a Tony for her performance on Broadway. Also, starring is Ruthie Ann Miles as Lady Thiang, who won Best Featured Actress in a musical at the 2015 Tony Awards.

Where to Watch: Great Performances: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

The King and I premiere is this Friday, November 8, 2019, at 9 pm on PBS. Make sure to check your local listings. It’s also available to stream on PBS Passport.

Have you seen The King and I musical? What are your thoughts on this classic historical romance? Let me know in the comments.

Top Photo Credit: Courtesy of Matthew Murphy.

The King and I – The Spectacular Musical Revival Premieres on PBS: Pinterest image


By on November 6th, 2019

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

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2 thoughts on “The King and I – The Spectacular Musical Revival Premieres on PBS”

  1. I love the movie version with Yul Brynner and I also saw a revival in San Francisco many years ago with Marie Osmond as Anna, which was lovely. Thanks for your review of this production, which I’ll look for on PBS Passport!

  2. I saw it twice at The Palladium, one time from the front row where I got to see Kelli O’Hara’s period costumes from a most unusual angle (ie below). Just one minor correction, while the two leads and some of the costumes, props and sets were transferred from NY, most of the rest of the huge cast were not. I got to see Kelli in concert here recently and she talked a bit about the show and was excited to learn that a lot of her former cast mates were in the audience.


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