Welcome to The 2703, the brand new Hollywood Pantages Blog. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “How many seats are in the theatre?” The answer to that question and the name of our blog is 2,703. It’s that kind of insider knowledge we want to share with you! Have you ever wondered what happens at the Hollywood Pantages while you’re not here? We want to peak your curiosity, take you behind the scenes, into rehearsal rooms, and out into Hollywood. We want to give back to our audiences that fill The 2703 every performance.
This past Tuesday, bright and early in the perfectly lively 6AM hour, we announced the six amazing shows headed to our Pantages Theatre for the 2017-2018 season. Now that you’ve had time to let the big reveal sink in, get even more information about them below.
- There are currently five different productions of ALADDIN playing all around the world not including this tour: Broadway, the West End in London, Australia, Germany, and Japan.
- The current actor who plays “Aladdin” on Broadway will be playing “Aladdin” in the touring company, Adam Jacobs.
- 337 costumes—based on 136 individual designs—were created for the show. Aladdin has a quick change in the show where he goes from street rat to prince.
- James Monroe Iglehart, the 2014 Tony Award® winner for his performance as Genie in ALADDIN, is about to begin performances in the Broadway production of HAMILTON. ALADDIN opens at the Pantages Theatre less than two weeks after HAMILTON closes.
Whoopi Goldberg recently sent Iglehart off during a performance of ALADDIN and went behind the scenes of the show.
- Howard Ashman (lyrics) and Alan Menken (music) wrote the soundtrack in the original film. This show features many of the songs from the film plus songs that were cut before the film written by Ashman and Menken.
- Los Angeles is the national tour’s first stop before it heads off to Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and other cities.
- Official show merchandise can be found at the Aladdin Musical’s Broadway store
- The Broadway cast performed “Friend Like Me” on Good Morning America
LOVE NEVER DIES
- The original cast of LOVE NEVER DIES starred Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo who played Christine and Phantom in the 25th anniversary edition of Phantom.
- LOVE NEVER DIES was filmed at its Melbourne production and was released on DVD in 2012.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber started working on the sequel in 1990 but was delayed several times in completing it until 2011. “Around 1990 I had the idea of continuing the story of Phantom and Christine and setting it in New York at the turn of the last century. I had a thrilling discussion over dinner with the late Maria Bjornson, who created the brilliant design of the original Phantom. She was very excited about a New World location.”
- Andrew Lloyd Webber was inspired to place the Phantom at Coney Island after watching a documentary about Coney Island featuring the wonders of that extraordinary world.
- The show has also had productions on the West End (2010-2011), Copenhagen (2012-2013), Vienna (2013), Japan (2014), and Germany (from 2015). However, this tour is based on the Australian production which debuted in 2012 to glowing critical reception.
- Along with Phantom and Christine, the show also features Madame Giry, Meg, and Raoul.
- LOVE NEVER DIES features circus performers as well as intricate sets and costumes.
- Phantom runs a combination freak show and vaudeville house in Coney Island.
SCHOOL OF ROCK
- SCHOOL OF ROCK opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway over a year ago on December 6, 2015.
- This show was the first Andrew Lloyd Webber show to premiere on Broadway before debuting at the West End in thirty years.
- It was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Julian Fellowes), Best Original Score (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater), and Best Actor in a Musical (Alex Brightman). The cast also performed.
- Before SCHOOL OF ROCK’s Broadway debut, staged concerts were held at the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan in June 2015, featuring songs from the show.
- All of the songs in the movie are in the musical as well as fourteen new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber first revealed that he had purchased the stage rights to School of Rock in a 2013 interview.
- The SCHOOL OF ROCK cast album was released in December 2015 and features three bonus tracks plus a song that was cut from production during previews, “Give Up Your Dreams.”
THE COLOR PURPLE
- This revival of the THE COLOR PURPLE most recently played at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. It’s opening night was December 10, 2015 and its final Broadway performance was on January 8, 2017.
- THE COLOR PURPLE also won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical at the 70th Annual Tony Awards in 2016.
- The revival cast album is nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album and could possible be announced the winner come GRAMMY night this Sunday, February 12, on CBS.
- Among the producers of the revival is Oprah Winfrey as well as Scott Sanders and Roy Furman.
- The Color Purple has played in Los Angeles before at the Ahmanson Theatre in a touring production from December 13, 2007 through March 9, 2008.
- This touring production, however, is based on the recent Broadway revival which is stripped down and extremely focused on the characters under the direction of John Doyle.
- The original Broadway production ran from 2005 to 2008, earning eleven Tony Award nominations in 2006.
ON YOUR FEET
- ON YOUR FEET is currently playing at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway.
- This show is a “jukebox musical” containing several of Gloria Estefan’s greatest hits and on original song written specifically for the show.
- Both Gloria and Emilio Estefan have been extremely involved in producing the show and bringing it to life, even performing with the cast at the 70th Annual Tony Awards.
- Gloria and Emilio Estefan were approached by Jimmy Nederlander circa 1990 about doing a Latin-based show for Broadway. Circa 2005, they began crafting an offer for a musical show in Vegas that was eventually pitched to the Nederlanders who loved it and eventually ON YOUR FEET! made it to Broadway.
- The ON YOUR FEET cast album was recorded live in March 2016, and was produced by Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Check it out here.
- David Rooney, in his review of the Broadway production for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote, “Just try keeping the grin off your face when two massive human chains—of cast and audience members—flood the aisles of the Marquis Theatre…”
If you’ve ever wanted to conga line through the Pantages Theatre, this is the show for you!
- WAITRESS first began performances at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, on August 2, 2015 starring Jessie Mueller with Keala Settle and Jeanna de Waal.
- The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name which starred Kerri Russell under the direction of screenwriter and director, Adrienne Shelly.
- Diane Paulus, the director of WAITRESS, has also directed many shows which have been at the Pantages Theatre in recent years such as Pippin and Finding Neverland.
- At the 2016 Tony Awards, both Jessie Mueller and Sara Bareilles performed “She Used to be Mine.”
- The WAITRESS cast recording is nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award to be held this Sunday, February 12, on CBS.
- The musical features a special relationship to pie that has led the Broadway production to have a pie consultant. Stacy Donnelly is the official pie consultant who makes about 40 pies a week for the actors and actresses to use as props. She also cooks the pies in a lobby oven which allows the theatre to smell like pie, further transporting the audience into the show.
- WAITRESS was nominated for 4 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Original Score (Sara Bareilles), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jessie Mueller), and Best Actor in a Featured Role (Christopher Fitzgerald).
For more about these six wonderful shows in our 2017-2018 season, check out our season announcement video below and visit: www.hollywoodpantages.com.
Need plans for Valentine’s Day? We may have a suggestion or two for you. We like to think that seeing a show at the Hollywood Pantages makes a pretty good date night but what about dinner before hand?
It was Epicurus that once said, “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink,” and we agree! Give that significant other of yours a night out in Hollywood starting with Kabuki for your Valentine’s Day meal.
What could be more romantic than sitting in the corner booth sharing a roll of sushi with your Valentine while sipping on sake sangria? Look no further than Kabuki, the people behind sushi for all mankind. Never tried sushi or Japanese cuisine? You couldn’t ask for a better way for two people to get to know each other than to try something new together. That’s what Kabuki does best.
Kabuki offers a unique Japanese dining experience in a comfortable setting. Choose from a quiet booth or table, or enjoy an interactive experience while seated at the Sushi Bar.
Kabuki also boasts an impressive beverage program featuring classic cocktails, wine and beer, as well as inventive sake libations.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone at Kabuki, we promise you’ll have the best time. For more information about Kabuki or to make a reservation visit their website: www.kabukirestaurants.com
Last week we announced that there will be a lottery for the Rent 20th Anniversary tour at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre January 24 – 29. The lottery has become an important part of the theatre going experience for the last 20 years. Would you believe that the tradition started with Rent?
On April 29, 1996 Rent opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre in NYC. It quickly became the show everyone had to see. As tickets became more expensive and scarce, many complained that they simply could not afford to attend the show.
The show’s producers offered 34 seats in the front two rows of the orchestra for $20 each on a first come first serve basis on the day of the performance. Jumping at the opportunity for discounted tickets, people began to form lines at the break of dawn. Suddenly, a new model was born.
On September 7, 2008, over 10 years after the first lottery names were called, Rent on Broadway held it’s final lottery. The video below shows the events of that day. Do not stand in between a Renthead and their tickets!
Today, many are still taking advantage of the opportunity to wait in line for inexpensive tickets. The phenomenon not only occurs on Broadway but in touring houses all over the United States. Tickets for the upcoming engagement of the Rent 20th Anniversary Tour are selling quickly. For details about the lottery CLICK HERE
For six years, Cleo has been a Hollywood staple. Located within The Redbury Hotel at 1717 Vine Street, in Hollywood, CA, Cleo features a distinctly light and fresh menu that evokes a contemporary mezze bar. Drawn from a variety of influences, Cleo’s cuisine provides a modern twist on the foods and cultures of the eastern Mediterranean, with a collection of unforgettable dishes prepared in a wood burning oven.
In the six years since their beginning, Cleo has been a part of dineL.A. Presented by the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, dineL.A. is a 15-day dining event that takes place twice a year and showcases Los Angeles as a premier dining destination while highlighting the diversity of culinary experiences L.A. has to offer.
dineL.A. Restaurant Week is back from January 13th – 27th! Join Cleo for a special prix-fixe menu from award-winning Chef Danny Elmaleh, priced at only $39 for dinner at both the Hollywood and Downtown LA locations.
“It’s a really awesome way for us to connect with people who have never been to Cleo,” says Zulfia Manely, Marketing Manager for The Redbury Hotel and Cleo.
“We love being a part of any neighborhood efforts or anything that gives back to the community,” Manely explains.
Want to be a part of dineL.A. at Cleo? Make a reservation! CLICK HERE
While most of us are happy to leave 2016 behind, we are sad to say goodbye to some of our favorite shows that have closed and will be closing in the coming weeks on Broadway. We’ve already bid adieu to Fiddler on the Roof, Matilda, and Something Rotten. Soon we will see the closures of The Color Purple, Jersey Boys and Holiday Inn. So what’s next? We compiled a list of shows scheduled to make their debut in 2017.
• Theatre: Broadway
• Previews: March 1, 2017
• Opens: March 23, 2017
• Written by Claude-Michel Schönberg (music), Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (lyrics), Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (book)
• Director: Laurence Connor
• Cast: Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada
• An American soldier named Chris marries Kim in Vietnam before departing for the US. Three years later, he returns to find Kimstill alive and raising Tam, a boy he fathered. With the Viet Cong closing in on the city and two women wanting the only place in his heart, Chris has big decisions to make.
• Prior to its West End opening, Cameron Mackintosh said the London revival of Miss Saigon might transfer to Broadway in 2015 if it was well received. The revival went on to break box office records.
• Limited run through January 15, 2018.
• Theatre: Nederlander
• Previews: March 7, 2017
• Opening: April 6, 2017
• Writers: Book by Doug Wrights; music and lyrics by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie
• Director: Michael Grief; choreographer: Christopher Gattelli
• Cast: Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole
• Musical based on the rivalry of cosmetics titans Helena Rubenstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole)
• Premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in summer 2016.
• Theatre: August Wilson
• Previews: March 16, 2017
• Opening: April 17, 2017
• Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Danny Rubin
• Director: Matthew Warchus
• Cast: Andy Karl
• A musical adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray film about a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, when he finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again…and again. Will he ever unlock the secret and break the cycle?
• Produced in London in summer 2016.
• Theatre: Shubert
• Previews: March 15, 2017
• Opens: April 20, 2017
• Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman; book by Michael Stewart
• Director: Jerry Zaks; choreographer: Warren Carlyle
• Cast: Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce
• Revival of the blockbuster 1964 musical about a matchmaker who sets out to find a match for herself at the turn of the 20th century.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
• Theatre: Lunt-Fontanne
• First Preview: March 28, 2017
• Opening: April 23, 2017
• Written by David Greig (book), Marc Shaiman (music & lyrics), Scott Wittman (lyrics), Roald Dahl (novel)
• Director: Jack O’Brien
• Cast: Christian Borle as Willy Wonka
• When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.
• A West End production opened in June 2013.
• Theatre: Broadhurst
• First Preview: March 23, 2017
• Opening: April 24, 2017
• Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally
• Director: Darko Tresnjak
• Cast: Christy Altomare, Derek Klana, Ramin Karimloo, Mary Beth Peil, John Bolton, and Caroline O’Connor
• Inspired by the 1997 film about a young woman who may be the last surviving member of the Russian royal family. The score features songs from the movie, including the Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past,” plus additional new songs from the same Tony Award-winning team.
• The musical had its world premiere at Hartford Stage May 12 through June 26, 2016.
• Theatre: Jacobs
• First Preview: March 31, 2017
• Opening: April 26, 2017
• Music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
• Director/Choreographer: Andy Blankenbuhler
• Cast: Laura Osnes and Corey Cott
• This self-described “big-band musical” chronicles a mismatched band of WWII veterans who join forces to compete in a radio contest with dreams of stardom.
• The show had a hit first production in summer/fall 2015 at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.
PRINCE OF BROADWAY
• Theatre: Thomas J. Friedman
• First Preview: August 3, 2017
• Opening: August 24, 2017
• Libretto by David Thompson; songs by Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Strouse & Adams, Bock & Harnick, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many others.
• Co-directors: Hal Prince and Susan Stroman
• Musical revue featuring highlights from the career of master showman Harold Prince.
• Had a tryout production in Japan in fall 2015.
• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: TBA
• Written by Stephen A. Weiner (music), Peter Mills (lyrics), Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss (book)
• Director: John Rando
• Cast: Michael McGrath, Hank Azaria, Laura Bell Bundy and Leslie Kritzer.
• Ralph Kramden and his buddy Ed Norton are back and still shooting for the moon in this world-premiere musical. After shocking their wives by winning a high profile jingle contest, they are catapulted out of Brooklyn and into the cutthroat world of Madison Avenue.
• An industry presentation was held November 2014, produced by Jeffrey Finn and Goodspeed Musicals and starring Michael McGrath, Hank Azaria, Leslie Kritzer and Megan Hilty. A full fall production at Goodspeed was subsequently cancelled. McGrath, Azaria, Bundy and Kritzer took part in an April 2016 lab presentation in New York.
• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: TBA
• Written by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin (music & lyrics), Tina Fey (book)
• Director: Casey Nicholaw
• Cast: TBA
• A musical adaptation of the hit 2004 film.
• Produced by Lorne Michaels and Stuart Thompson.
• Tina Fey first confirmed in January 2013 that a musical adaptation was in the works. In May 2014 Fey and her husband Jeff Richmond, who is scoring the show with Nell Benjamin, confirmed that it was progressing. Richmond told Yahoo in March 2015 that 60 percent of the show was completed. A reading was presented in fall 2015. A world premiere production was announced for fall 2017 at the National Theatre in Washington DC.
SPONGEBOB: THE MUSICAL
• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: 2017
• Book by Kyle Jarrow, music by Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, T.I. and David Bowie.
• Director: Tina Landau
• Cast: Ethan Slater, Lilli Cooper, Danny Skinner, Gavin Lee, Carlos Lopez and Nick Blaemire.
• Stage adaptation of the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series about the undersea residents of Bikini Bottom.
• The show had a Chicago tryout in summer 2016.
There are so many great shows in the making. For a full list of upcoming shows visit: www.Playbill.com Which shows are you most excited about?
When we found out that one of our very own ushers had been cast in Hairspray Live we couldn’t have been more proud! On December 7, 2016 Amos Oliver III and the rest of the cast of Hairspray Live performed in front of an audience of 9 million plus. After the whole exciting adventure, Amos took some time to chat with us about his experience.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. I went to College at The Boston Conservatory as well as the American Musical and Dramatic Academy-LA
How did you catch the musical theatre bug?
I’ve always been into performing. I’ve always loved being onstage and being able to play someone other than myself. It wasn’t until I was attending The Boston Conservatory until I really understood how much I loved musical theater.
How did you find out about Hairspray Live auditions?
I found out about Hairspray LIVE auditions through my agent. (Go 2 Talent Agency)
What was the audition process like?
The process was a lot of fun. We first learned some of the choreography to “Run and Tell That” and we auditioned it. We then got called back did some scene work and some singing and then we danced again!
What was the first thing you did when you found out you had gotten the part?
The first thing I did when I found out I was cast, was run around the living room of my apartment and scream!! Then once I calmed down I called my mom!
Did you know that your fellow ushers had put together a watch party to cheer you on?
I certainly did know that my fellow ushers threw a party! I thought it was incredibly sweet and I wish I could’ve been there to share such an amazing experience/moment with them!
(See the Facebook Live video of the ushers cheering on Amos)
Tell us how you prepared for this live event. What were rehearsals like?
Well I had been training for so long for something like that so all of my schooling and education really prepared me for that. I knew in my heart that this had always been a dream of, mine and that’s really what helped me stay focused and ready at all times. At the start of rehearsals, we rehearsed 8 hours a day, Mon-Friday! And once the event got closer than we began staying longer and working longer weeks!
On the day of the live event, what was the atmosphere on set?
OMG!!! Everyone was so excited and ready to change the world!! Everyone was so positive and so supportive and they were having such a great time!
What was it like working on set with a live audience?
Working on set was actually really fun for me. We were performing for TV, but we also had the energy of the live audience which really enhanced our level of performance.
What amazing memories will you be taking away from this experience? Any particular moments stand out to you?
Every single second of this experience will be a memory that I take away! NOTHING about this I could ever forget! Every moment was priceless and surreal.
What’s next for you? What would be the ultimate dream job/role?
I am not quite sure what’s next for me, but I know it will be something incredible! The dream role job after doing Hairspray LIVE, would be performing it on Broadway!
What advice would you have for others pursuing this path?
No matter what anyone says, you can do whatever you put your mind to. You control your own destiny. I believe in that wholeheartedly.
You can catch Amos in Hairspray Live again December 26th at 8pm only on NBC!
On Saturday, December 10, the Hollywood Pantages played host to the world premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is a rare occasion to turn this theatrical house into a state of the art movie house but Disney did just that and to stunning effect. With a seventy foot screen, a digital laser projector and over 300 speakers, the historic Hollywood Pantages roared back to life and restored its movie house glory.
From where I sat, with Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) to my left and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) behind me, the little kid who watched the very first Star Wars with his Mom was now about to watch the latest movie with his own daughter. I was both a fan of the movie and excited to see a movie play once again in the theatre. As the movie started to roll, the glow from the screen illuminated the entire audience who were all transfixed, eagerly awaiting the first look at the next Star Wars installment. But for me, I was taken at first not by the movie, but something hard to describe. The theatre felt different for me. I don’t know what the feeling was but it was wonderful. We, the staff, so often take for granted the musicals we present on stage and our ability to present show after show. We forget what a quiet roll the theatre itself plays. But at the premiere, we were allowed to simply admire a wonderful movie, being shown in one of the most beautiful venues in the country. It is a moment I can’t adequately describe and one I won’t soon forget.
We don’t know when we will host a premiere again, but I, for one, hope it is sooner rather than later. For now, we look forward to the theatrical release of Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical, filmed here at the Hollywood Pantages last September. For a brief moment, the theatre will get to be a part of movie history again.
We like to think that when you come to the theatre you become part of our family. It doesn’t matter if you are joining us for one night or you are joining us for the whole season. Just across the street, the large windows of Wood and Vine reflect the bright neon lights of the Hollywood Pantages, and inside another family is hard at work.
In January, Natalie Soward will become the head of her family when she officially takes over the menu as Wood and Vine’s New Executive Chef. Like many in her profession, Soward started as a Junior Sous Chef and worked her way up the ranks, learning from the former Executive Chef and adding her own flair to the menu from time to time. The promotion comes with a little extra paperwork and a lot more responsibility for Soward, but the best part is that she gets to create a whole new menu of her own.
“Because I’m from the South, I want to aim more towards Southern food. I’m all about comfort food,” Natalie explains as she describes her new menu ideas. Soward grew up in Louisiana, 2 hours outside of New Orleans. She remembers waking up every morning to the smell of gumbo or some other classic southern dish. Her mother, a teacher, would prep meals in the morning so that she could have them ready to go for dinner that night. “Growing up, my whole life revolved around food.”
Upon graduating high school, she decided to head to college to pursue a degree in graphic design. “I’ve always been an artist. I have my degree in fine arts, graphic design, and the culinary arts. I worked behind a desk for a while, but it just wasn’t for me.”
Soward got started at Wood and Vine when the chef at the time, someone she had worked with previously, reached out for some help in the kitchen.”The thing that really sold me on this place is that it’s like one big family. We take care of each other and help each other out. This is why I’m still here two years later,” Soward explains. As she talks about her work family, it is clear that the love is not contained just to the kitchen but spills out into the dining area filled with guests servers and bartenders.
“I do it for the art of the food. The nostalgic emotional part of the food because that’s how I was raised. Every celebration and every happy moment revolved around the food. A server came into the kitchen and said that a customer who had been a chef for 20 years said the chicken pot pie was the best she had had in her life. Hearing that makes all of the hard work worth it.”
Soward plans to change up the menu in January to include possible dishes like gumbo, home-style spaghetti, B-B-Q dumplings and more. She also wants to open up the restaurant for craw-fish boils as well as beer and wine tastings. Wood and Vine loves to host Holiday parties, birthday parties, showers and more. “We want people to come make memories here. After all, how many times do we celebrate something and food isn’t involved?”
We are so happy that Soward found her place just across the street from the Pantages where seeing a show can create lasting memories, much like the food she is so passionate about. “I love walking through the restaurant and seeing that elderly couple sharing their food, or watching someone take that first bite. It’s how people gain their experiences.”
From our family to yours; Congratulations, Natalie, on your promotion. We look forward to all of the yumminess you have in store for us! To make some memories of your own, visit www.woodandvine.com for reservations, hours, menu and parking information.
The partnership between composer Richard Rodgers and librettist/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II is well known in the musical theatre world. Together, they have produced such works as Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I. Check out these interesting facts about the creation of this timeless piece.
- The King and I is loosely based on the fictional novel The English Governess at the Siamese Court.
- The novel, written by Margaret Landon, is an embellished re-imagining of the memoirs of Anna Leonowens’ account of teaching English in the court of the Siamese King Mongkut.
- The idea for the musical was proposed by Fanny Holtzmann, an attorney for Gertrude Lawrence in an attempt to revive her dwindling career.
- Neither Rodgers or Hammerstein were intitially interested in the idea but proceeded with the project as urged by their wives who were fans of the novel.
- Both Rodgers and Hammerstein struggled with how to convey the cultural context of the story.
- Rodgers wanted to reference Asian music without alienating a Western audience. He stopped short of incorporating traditional Thai music and instead settled on some unusual chords to convey a foreign mood.
- Hammerstein wrote the King’s dialogue without using articles – a manner of speech common to many Asian languages.
- The romance between Lun Tha and Tuptim was scripted primarily so that Rodgers could write some of the romantic tunes he was famous for – as it would be inappropriate to stage a cross-cultural romance between the King and Anna. An attraction between the Thai King and British governess is merely suggested in the musical.
- The musical opened on Broadway in 1951 starring British actress Gertrude Lawrence as Anna and Russian actor and director Yul Brynner as the King of Siam.
- Brynner was then relatively unknown, but shot to stardom for his performance in the hit.
- The show played for three years, but lost its leading lady when Lawrence died of liver cancer halfway through the run.
- Gertrude Lawrence became the first person to ever have the lights on Broadway dim after her death. Check out our blog Dimming the Lights to learn more.
- The show had an initial budget of US$250,000 – which was at that time the most expensive Rodgers & Hammerstein musical ever made
- Lawrence had to wear costume gowns that weighed up to 34 kg, and her character danced a total of 6.4km in every performance, eight shows a week. Lawrence was buried in one of her costumes from the show.
- Through the initial run and several revivals, Yul Brynner performed the role of the King more than 4,600 times.
- Yul Brynner reprised his role as the king on tour at the Hollywood Pantages in 1979
- a 1956 film took the musical from Broadway success to international smash hit. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five.
- The film was (and still is) banned in Thailand as it was deemed disrespectful to the monarchy – an offence which breaks several of the country’s laws.
For tickets and more information about The King and I CLICK HERE.
We love a costume display. There is nothing better than opening up a box filled with costumes. Pulling out our mannequins and playing dress up really makes our day. This is why few years back we decided that investing in costume mannequins was going to be in our best interest. We believe that the costumes are another character in the show and we want you to get up close and personal with these beauties. Check out some of our favorite costume displays throughout the years.
While we know the Lion King masks are not costumes exactly, they are a very crucial piece of the show. These masks with their stunning detail and surprisingly light weight fascinated theatre goers in 2014 and 2015
Our Phantom costumes got a bit of a workout! Not only did they preside over the lobby during the 2015 run of The Phantom of the Opera but they also traveled to the Festival of Books and Dodgers Stadium to help us promote the show.
Inside Socal’s Erica Olsen got all gussied up to help us promote our pre Bullets Over Broadway speakeasy. The costumes pictured were designed by Tony Award Winner William Ivy Long.
While these Kinky Boots never made it to the lobby, they served a pivotal role in the star ceremony for Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper.
This ensemble gown from the number Dames in 42nd Street really surprised us with just how heavy it was. The entire gown is hand beaded. It’s also possible that everyone in the office put the hat on at one point or another!
The White Christmas ensemble costumes are our newest display in the lobby. What could be better than red and white fleece and a tap shoe?
What costumes would you like to see displayed in our lobby?