■ By Bret Cherland / Contributed
This spring, Hemet High School will be staging Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, “The King and I.” With performances on March 23, 24, and 25 at 7 p.m., this show is not only a visual spectacle – it is also an exploration of the love and learning that result when two different cultures interact.
“The King and I” is the story of a British schoolteacher, Anna, who is hired to educate the children of the King of Siam. As Anna and the King each fight for their beliefs and customs, they will learn what they did not know about these foreign countries, and about each other. While the King attempts to bring his country into the modern world, Anna also becomes a confidant to the forbidden relationship between young lovers Tuptim and Lun Tha.
Written and composed by the beloved team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, the musical was an instant hit when it was first staged in 1951. It is a brilliant composition which blends drama, music, and dance – including an incredible 15-minute ballet performance. “The King and I” features many classic songs such as “Getting to Know You,” “Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Something Wonderful,” and “Shall We Dance?”
Hemet High freshman Jessica Bruce plays Anna, opposite senior Jackson Mullen as the King of Siam. They are joined by an abundant cast including Kristiana McKelvey as Tuptim, Jazmine Ferrell as Lady Thiang, Justin Mclingberg as Lun Tha, Campbell Woolery as the Kralahome, and Justin Lakowski as Sir Edward Ramsey. Senior Taytumn Bush is featured as Eliza in the ballet “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.” A group of very young actors fill out the cast as the children of Siam, including John McKelvey as the Crown Prince Chulalongkorn, and Julianne Cherland as Anna’s son Louis.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for ASB card holders and children under 13. Pre-sale tickets will be available at the Hemet High School ASB office beginning March 13. Same-day tickets will be on sale at the box office one hour before each performance. Performances begin at 7 p.m. in the Ron Murray Performing Arts Complex at Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Ave., Hemet.