Broadway Review: ‘The King and I’

April 17, 2015 5:01 AM

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Broadway Review: ‘The King and I’

In its heart of hearts, the extraordinarily deep and often underutilized thrust stage of Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater has probably always yearned to host an opera. That’s pretty much what director Bartlett Sher has wrought with his sumptuous revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 musical, “The King and I.” Broadway’s darling, Kelli O’Hara, is ravishing as the English governess to the children in the royal household of the King of Siam, played by the powerfully seductive Japanese movie star Ken Watanabe. But the production itself, with its operatic sweep and opulent aesthetic, is the star of its own show.

At the top of the first act, Anna Leonowens (O’Hara), the determined Englishwoman hired to tutor the royal offspring of the King of Siam, arrives on a ship that literally thrusts itself into the Bay of Bangkok. In visual language (which set designer Michael Yeargan speaks fluently), that’s a powerfu...

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