Lisa McCune, Teddy Tahu to star in The King and I
SOUTH Pacific co-stars Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes will team up again in the new production of The King and I.
The cast for Opera Australia and John Frost's revival of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical was unveiled today at QPAC in Brisbane, where the show will debut in April next year.
McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens opposite Rhodes as the King of Siam.
"What's fantastic about The King and I is the King and Anna spar. Fundamentally they have the same ideals, but they're polar opposites in so many ways," McCune told APN.
"It's a bit like the Taming of the Shrew; a great friendship blooms from it.
"I think it's very moving. I was reading the script on the plane last night and I was crying. I love the end."
It's McCune's third leading role in a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, after her acclaimed performances in South Pacific and The Sound of Music.
"I'm so delighted and thrilled; it's the last of the roles I've always wanted to play," she said.
"Still to this day, kids say to me 'I was taken to that production of The Sound of Music when I was eight and I still remember it' and they're 20 now, which is really great."
Rhodes is looking forward to the show's premiere in Brisbane following South Pacific's success in Queensland.
"The audience was so welcoming," he said.
"It was a really fulfilling season. You have an audience which already loves and really wants to come along and enjoy a night out in the theatre. It's amazing how much energy that gives you on stage. It's a great theatre (the Lyric Theatre) to perform this sort of music in. It's a no-brainer, in a way, that it would be here."
Frost's 1991 production of The King and I went on to play Broadway and win four Tony awards and its West End director, Christopher Renshaw, will return at the helm of this new show.
"I know this production will be as magnificent as the original, which is remembered as a milestone in Australian theatrical history," Frost said.
"It brings me great joy to be able to return to this special production with Opera Australia following our huge success with South Pacific."
Chinese-born Australian opera singer Shu-Cheen Yu plays Lady Thiang, the King's chief wife, returning to the production 23 years after playing the young Burmese slave girl Tuptim in 1991.
Adrian Li Donni will play Lun Tha, a role he played for the Production Company in Melbourne in 2010 and in the US the year before that.
Tickets for The King and I go on sale on October 28.
The show opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre on April 15, 2014.