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  The King and I at Lyric Opera

The King and I

Lyric Opera
20 N. Wacker Drive Chicago

Broadway musical favorite The King and I comes to the Civic Opera House in a spectacular production from Lyric Opera of Chicago. One of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most beloved and enduring creations, this multi-award-winning show was most recently the recipient of four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. Set in 19th-century Bangkok and inspired by a true story, the show follows Anna, a British widow hired to tutor the King's many children. Although their very different backgrounds initially result in conflict, the sparks set off by their culture clash lead to greater understanding and respect between the two. The King and I features such Broadway classics as "Shall We Dance?," "Getting to Know You," "I Whistle a Happy Tune" and "Hello, Young Lovers."

Thru - May 22, 2016

Price: $29-$199

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 312-332-2244

Nearby Restaurants

  The King and I Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...This is the best work I've ever seen Baldwin do, and reason enough for fans of the genre and the title to head to the Civic Opera House, given that most of the other traditional pleasures of this musical-of-musicals are very much in place. Word has been that the powerful R&H organization have been enamored of the original French staging, and one can see why. Blakeley directs with great visual skill — he uses the depth of the Civic Opera House to reveal all the byways of the palace, the earnest processionals moving in self-canceling directions, and yet you feel his affection for his characters."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Crucial to any production of “The King and I” is the chemistry between Anna and the King. Baldwin, with her lovely, pitch-perfect voice and English certitude makes her arguments persuasively throughout. So does Montalban, but his voice leaves something to be desired, and the chemistry between the two is more formulaic than shot through with the excitement and fear of attraction. Their iconic waltz, “Shall We Dance?,” garnered applause, but had none of the thrill of the Marriott edition in which the music and dancing accelerated with such speed that the erotic charge became palpable."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...So is Kate Baldwin. A Broadway veteran with a crystalline voice, Baldwin's wistful "Hello, Young Lovers" reveals a woman who not only recalls youthful desire but welcomes its return. Not only does Baldwin sing superbly, her performance suggests a complex Anna Leonowens, who embodies the moral certitude of a nascent human rights activist and the residual imperialism of a colonialist. The canny Blakeley suggests the latter by having Anna command her servants by clapping her hands like the King, behavior that suggests she still enjoys the perks that accompany her privileged class."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Lyric Opera's glittering production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I has everything going for it except the central thing-the sexual chemistry between the King of Siam (played here by Paolo Montalban) and the British widow he imports to teach his numerous children and wives (the vocally gifted Kate Baldwin). That powerful, constrained attraction is the motor that drives everything else, including the obvious plot points about clashing East-West cultures, feminism, slavery, and imperialism. It's"
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Deanna Isaacs

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...The Lyric's King and I also greatly benefits from designer Sue Blane's elaborate costumes and choreographer Peggy Hickey's fun work with the Act II "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet. It's also a pleasure to have the Lyric Opera Orchestra led by conductor David Chase to bring out the full aural colors of Rodgers' east-meet-west Broadway score."
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Scott C. Morgan

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...Physically, the production, which is a remount of Blakely's 2014 staging at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, spares no expense as well. Sue Blaine's costumes are magnificent, including everything from Victorian hoop skirts and gowns, through heavily ornamented wear for the royals and bright pastels for the wives and children. Jean-Marc Puissant's set is simpler, based mostly on a series of panels which are raised and lowered from the flies or slide in and out from the wings. Some of the panels are painted fabric, others grids based on geometric designs that are suggestive of the palace architecture. And then there's the aforementioned puppet elephant in the procession just before the show's final scene."
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John Olson

BroadwayWorld - Highly Recommended

"...This dazzling production of THE KING AND I is certainly worth getting to know-both for those familiar with this classic musical, or for those who have yet to experience it for the first time."

Rachel Weinberg

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Still, the score contains some of Rodgers and Hammerstein's best work (if not necessarily best self-contained songs), and the opportunity to hear it played live by a 37-piece orchestra is of course a rare treat. Paolo Montalban's take on the King isn't entirely convincing, too much petulant immaturity and not enough gravitas. But Kate Baldwin makes a delicious meal of her turn as Anna: intelligent, unconventional and beautifully sung, making the role seem tailor-made for her."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Even amid the multi-year run of successes the Lyric Opera of Chicago has enjoyed in its annual spring offerings of great American musicals, the current production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is exceptional, a theatrical experience as visually and musically resplendent as it is emotionally true."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Kate Baldwin plays Anna, the “I” of the title, with confidence and pluck. While Baldwin excels at playing the matronly schoolmarm, she is less convincing as a romantic lead. Fortunately, she sings and dances beautifully, through such memorable numbers as “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” and “I Whistle a Happy Tune.” In contrast to her maturity, the king seems like a spoiled child, always used to getting his way. And this is how Pedro Montalban portrays the king: a tyrannical husband, loving father, and occasionally wise ruler. His singing leaves much to be desired, though it is difficult to gauge how much of this flatness and lack of expression is purposeful. Ali Ewoldt’s Tuptim is one of the show’s most endearing performances."
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Barnaby Hughes

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...This spectacular, colorful, exquisitely sung production is a treat. You’d be hard pressed to see a finer production of this beloved classic. The casting was fine but I could see an older and more charismatic King, yet Montalban sure had his moments. I was most impressed with production. You’ll be entertained and you’ll live humming the fabulous R & H tunes. “Shall We Dance” is still stuck in my head – it makes me want to polka!"
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Lyric Opera's premiere takes a very classic view on the musical, and beyond the set, the costume designs reflect this as well, with beautifully designed costumes for everyone from the Interpreter (Jomar Ferreras) to the King himself. The Royal Children-all thirteen of them-looked regal in their wear and provided great comic relief. The ballet especially was where the creators behind the scenes really got to show off. While the entire set was stunning, Tuptim's ballet, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas," and "Shall We Dance," as well, featured some of the most beautiful imagery of the night."

John Owen Glines

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Now, in the most majestic of productions, the Lyric Opera brings us the 2016 production as their “Broadway” musical of this season. What an amazing visual production it is! Based on the novel, “Anna and The king of Siam” by Margaret Landon, this Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) details the amazing story of a widowed school teacher from England who was hired by the King of Siam to teach his children and his wives Western culture and ways. While that is the basic story it also deals with royalty and slavery during a time in history where here in America slavery was on its way out."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Lyric Opera of Chicago has found a formula that comes closer to a successful collaboration between the resources of a major opera company and the magic of musical theatre. This “The King and I” employs the sort of voices that approach the color and control, if not the size, that one might hope for in an operatic venue, while maintaining the clarity of characterization upon which a Broadway production relies."
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Aaron Hunt

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...At three hours in length, this production is a thoughtful, unhurried production, much in the style of the original 1951 production. Whether theatergoers are paying a return visit to this lovely, timeless tale of culture shock and romance or enjoying a first-time encounter with Anna and her King, the Lyric’s melodic, visually stunning and handsomely executed production of an American classic is both affectionate and grand. A sweeping bow of gratitude to this world class opera company for bringing Chicago another excellent production from the Rodgers & Hammerstein canon."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...The show centers on Anna and the king but the supporting roles at the Lyric are filled satisfactorily or better. In particular, Ali Woldt displays a radiant voice as Tuptim, part of tragic love affair that forms the show’s subplot. The Lyric has recruited a large assemblage of area children to play the king’s young children. They are all cute, and the audience ate them up, especially a tiny tot who looked about three years old but delivered her stage moments with a professionalism that drew appreciative “awws” of affection from the spectators."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...I LOVED the KING AND I. I saw it on Saturday and the melodies continue to hum through my head. I highly recommend experiencing the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic within the palatial Lyric Opera."
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...It is a visually breathtaking, poignant and charming performance that will leave audiences with an indelible impression on their hearts (and on their seats as the show embraces an old-fashioned three-hour run time)."
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Erika Brown Thomas

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