Great Performances: The King and I (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

Airs Friday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m.

Premieres Friday, November 8 at 9 p.m. on SOPTV, pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app

 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. The score features a treasure trove of timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein hits including “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,” “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Shall We Dance.” With a cast of over 50 people, this “first-rate, sumptuous” (The New York Times) production was “too beautiful to miss” (New York magazine). The production was recorded during its 2018 run in London’s West End with original Lincoln Center Theater cast members Ken Watanabe as the King and Kelli O’Hara in her Tony-winning performance as Mrs. Anna, along with Ruthie Ann Miles as “head wife” Lady Thiang, who won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I is part of Great Performances’ third annual “Broadway’s Best” lineup of acclaimed theatrical productions, premiering Fridays, November 1-29 at 9 p.m. on SOPTV, pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app. PBS station members can view the entire Great Performances “Broadway’s Best” lineup beginning November 1 via Passport.

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