Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stefanie Powers in "THE KING AND I" at Theatre Under The Stars

March 16 - April 3, 2005 at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

HOUSTON, TX -- East meets West in the timeless love story between a stubborn, autocratic king and a determined governess. Theatre Under The Stars is thrilled to present star of stage and screen Stefanie Powers as Anna in the new National Tour of Rodgers' & Hammerstein's The King and I, playing March 16 - April 3 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby at Walker).

TUTS is producing this new tour in cooperation with Theater of the Stars in Atlanta and the Independent Presenters' Network. Featuring a dazzling score by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, The King and I is five-time Tony Award-winning musical showcasing some of the most memorable songs of the musical theatre including "Shall We Dance?," "Getting To Know You," and "I Whistle A Happy Tune." This new production boasts ornate sets and costumes and features direction by Baayork Lee, who made her professional stage debut in the original Broadway production at age 5. Ronobir Lahiri will join Powers as The King.

Powers, who may be best known as the stunning renaissance woman Jennifer Hart, the character she portrayed on the hit television series, "Hart to Hart," is recreating the role of Anna that she recently played in a UK revival of The King and I. Her numerous stage credits include Oliver, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady and the London production of Matador. Powers was last seen on the TUTS stage in the National tour of Love Letters, which also starred her fellow "Hart to Hart" co-star Robert Wagner.

Lahiri was last seen as the King of Siam on the U.K. National Tour opposite Powers. He first came to The King and I in 1997, as the understudy to the King in the Broadway production. New York credits include Antigone at Pearl Theater and The Three Sisters at La Mama Etc.

Set in the 1860's in the exotic capital city of Bangkok, The King and I is the timeless love story between a powerful and stubborn king and a determined governess named Anna. Based on the real life adventures of the English widow Anna Leonowens, and the best-selling 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, The King and I is a fascinating tale about a clash of customs. Over time Anna earns the admiration of the royal family, and eventually she wins the respect of the king himself.

Director Baayork Lee's artistic ventures span five continents around the globe. On Broadway, she created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, serving as Assistant Choreographer to Michael Bennett, and recently directed and choreographed TUTS' production. Lee has directed a number of productions over the past 12 years for the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, including Goya with Placido Domingo. Susan Kikuchi will oversee choreography, while musical direction will be provided by Kevin Farrell, scenic design by Kenneth Foy, costume design by Roger Kirk, lighting design by John McLain and sound design by Abe Jacob and Mark Cowburn.

Single tickets for The King and I ($27-$72) are available to the public by phone at (713) 558-8887 or outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882; or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm); or on-line at Audio described performances are available March 27 at 2 p.m.; open captioning March 27 at 7:30 p.m. & March 31 at 8 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Student and Seniors (60+) discounted tickets available one hour before performance. Group discounts available for 15 or more and may be purchased by calling (713) 558-8888.

Sponsors of The King and I include The Downtown Club, Sterling Bank, EIM, Humana, Mr. & Mrs. Edward E. Hickam and Ernst & Young. Air transportation is provided by Continental Airlines the official airline of Theatre Under The Stars. Media sponsors are ABC-13 and the Houston Chronicle.

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), one of America's largest producers of non-profit musical theatre, was founded in 1968 by Frank M. Young. Theatre Under The Stars was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, and has since performed there each summer, giving Houston 46 lavish musicals such as South Pacific and The Who's Tommy. Since its founding, TUTS has produced more than 275 major musicals including many local, national and world premieres and is currently represented on Broadway with Beauty and the Beast. TUTS is also noted for mounting many International tours, including Debbie Reynolds in The nsinkable Molly Brown and the Tony Award-winning Carousel. As a way to continue the tradition of musical theatre, TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre provides instruction and stage experience for more than 1,700 students annually. Now housed in the new Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.

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