The Friday before I saw Aladdin, I was finally able to see The King and I at Lincoln Center. The show is slow and old, but it’s lovely and the score is great. The cast is HUGE. There are SO MANY kids on that stage. I would hate to be a child wrangler for that show.
But Kelli O’Hara was lovely, as always, and totally deserving of her Tony Award. Jose Llana was the king and I think he’s great, but he didn’t come off as powerful or confident enough to be a king. I wish I could’ve seen the original.
The set is huge and great to look at and it’s a great, great production. I’d highly suggest taking in a performance even if your thing is rock musicals and not Rodgers and Hammerstein’s (like me).
A few weeks back I saw Here Lies Love at The Public Theatre downtown. I’d missed it’s first production but I was thrilled it was back again and I was going to be able to see it. I had listened to the cast recording one day at work a few weeks early but I still had no idea what it was about. I didn’t know who Imelda Marcos was, or even that she was a real person (Thanks, Global History, for nothing!).
I loved Sleep No More, and countless other immersive shows, but this was by far the most fun I’ve ever had a one. I got onstage and danced. I moved around with the ever-rotating set. I loved it. About 2/3 of the way through, I thought, “Um, okay, I think this is a true story,” and yes, it is. I’m an idiot sometimes.
The music is amazing. Fatboy Slim and David Byrne have outdone themselves. It is a fantastic, memorable score. Ruthie Ann Miles, Jose Llana, and Conrad Ricamora were equally brilliant in their lead roles (Imelda, Marcos, and Aquino). I especially enjoyed the DJ, who was played that night by Vincent Rodriguez III. He definitely raised the energy in the room before the performance so that we were all amped up by the time it began.
If there is one show – experience – you venture downtown for this season, it’s Here Lies Love. It’s a history lesson and theatrical experience rolled into one.
(Disclosure: The company I work for works on Here Lies Love, but opinions are all my own.)