Maria Friedman is to star as Anna in a fully staged in-the-round production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King And I at the Royal Albert Hall next year, from 12 to 28 June.
The composing duo’s 1951 Tony Award-winning musical is set in the late 19th century and is based on the story of Anna Leonowens, a British widow and governess brought to the court of Siam as a tutor to the King’s children. Once within the sumptuous Royal Palace of Bangkok, Anna and the King grow to understand and respect one another and learn about each other’s cultures. The score includes the numbers Shall We Dance, Hello Young Lovers and Getting To Know You.
Last produced in the capital at the London Palladium in 2000 with Elaine Paige as Anna, this new production at the Royal Albert Hall sees Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress Friedman take on the famous role, with Daniel Dae Kim as the King.
Friedman is currently appearing in the West End in her solo show Rearranged at the Trafalgar Studios. She won her first Laurence Olivier Award for her previous solo show By Special Arrangement, and went on to collect two further awards for Passion and Ragtime. Her other London credits include Sunday In The Park With George, The Woman In White and last year’s Sweeney Todd at the Royal Festival Hall.
Korean-born American actor Kim is best known for playing Jin Kwon in television series Lost. He has made appearances on US television shows Angel, ER and 24 and has film credits including The Jackal, Spider Man 2 and Crash.
The King And I is directed by Jeremy Sams, whose previous credits include The Sound Of Music and Noises Off in the West End, and has musical direction from Gareth Valentine, who is currently performing alongside Friedman in Rearranged.