Fryeburg Academy staging ‘King and I’

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FRYEBURG — Fryeburg Academy is staging  “The King and I” by Rogers and Hammerstein.  Featuring Fryeburg Academy students and local elementary school students, the show tells the tale of Anna Leonowens, a British widow, who travels to Bangkok, Siam (Thailand) to be a schoolteacher to the king’s many children.  The story follows the tempestuous relationship between Anna and the King, in which they eventually come to understand and respect one another, while maintaining their own values.

Based on the true story told in the novel,  “Anna and the King of Siam,” which was inspired by the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, this musical features many favorite songs, including “Shall We Dance,” “Getting to Know You,” and “Something Wonderful.”   There is a secondary love story between Tuptim, a slave girl who was given as a present to the king by the king of Burma, and Lun Tha, a Burmese envoy, that causes a major rift for Anna and the king.

The musical also features a 15 minute play-within-a play, a narrated ballet called “Small House of Uncle Thomas,” based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  Much of Jerome Robbin’s original choreography for the Broadway production has been artfully adapted by choreographer and Fryeburg Academy alumna Emily Holden.

The production features seniors Taylor Kruger as Anna, Bowen Greenleaf as King Mongkut of Siam, and Thatchaphan Khlaitae as Tuptim, whose years of study of traditional Thai dance is put to good use in the ballet. Directing the show is Betsy Hauck, a newcomer to the area. She has been active in theater for over 20 years, including as a theater teacher and director at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and as Performing Arts Coordinator at Cape Cod Community College. Patty Hibbert has costumed the cast.  Fran Pouzol has designed the sets constructed by Mike Ouellette. Bobby Sheehan is technical director, assisted by student Siena McMahon and musical direction is by Mimi Rohlfing and Mike Sakash.

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The show runs at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14, at the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center on the campus of Fryeburg Academy. The auditorium is completely accessible.  Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults, including seniors and are available by clicking on the Performing Arts Center button from the fryeburgacademy.org home page, by calling the box office at (207) 935-9232, or emailing boxoffice@fryeburgacademy.org.

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