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Presenting Partner MEDIA KIT THE KING AND I RETURNS TO AUSTRALIA John Frost’s Tony Award-winning production of The King and I is the next Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece to be presented in Australia by Opera Australia and John Frost. Australia’s favourite leading lady and four-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens opposite internationally acclaimed baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the King in the Brisbane and Sydney seasons, hot from their success performing together in the national tour of South Pacific, also presented by Opera Australia and John Frost. In Melbourne, international stage and screen star Jason Scott Lee plays the King. In the roles of British Diplomat Sir Edward Ramsey and Captain Orton is John Adam (The School For Wives, Frost/Nixon) while The Kralahome, the King’s Prime Minister, is played by Marty Rhone (The King and I - West End, Godspell). Lady Thiang will be played by Chinese-born Australian opera singer Shu-Cheen Yu (The King and I – 1991 Australian tour) and in the roles of the Burmese young lovers Lun Tha and Tuptim are Adrian Li Donni and Jenny Liu. The ensemble performers are Bianca Baykara, Novy Bereber, Iggy Cabral, William Centurion, Leo Cornelius, Jade Coutts, Teresa Duddy, Vivien Emsworth, Elle Evangelista, Carolyn Ferrie, Chris Fung, Kiana Gallop-Angeles, Erin James, Ella Jarman, Patrick Jeremy, Leah Lim, Anna Magrath, Seann Matthew Moore, Matthew Nguyen, Alexis Pedraza-Sampang, Hayanah Pickering, Marcus Rivera, Michelle Rozario, Ariya Sawadivong, Victor Siharath, Nicholas Sopelario and Yong Ying Woo. “I’m thrilled with the wonderful cast we’ve assembled for The King and I,” said John Frost. “I know this production will be as magnificent as the original, which is remembered as a milestone in Australian theatrical history. It brings me great joy to be able to return to this special production with Opera Australia following our huge success with South Pacific.” “Teddy and Lisa coming together worked wonderfully well in South Pacific and it seemed to us that we should capitalize on that success and continue with it. And we’re overjoyed Jason Scott Lee will play the King for the Melbourne season after his huge success in the role in London. I know audiences will embrace this Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece as much as they did when John Frost and his creative team created this magnificent, opulent production in 1991,” said Lyndon Terracini, Opera Australia Artistic Director. The King and I was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical together and is considered one of the jewels in their crown. It was based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which took its inspiration from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a British governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s. The beautiful score includes the songs I Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance? and Hello, Young Lovers. A hit on Broadway in 1951, where it starred Gertrude Lawrence (who died during the season) and Yul Brynner, the show ran for three years before touring. The first London production opened in 1953, enjoying similar success. In 1956 it became a famous film starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner who won an Academy Award for his performance. Presenting Partner John Frost’s now legendary Australian production premiered at the Adelaide Festival Theatre in 1991. Directed by West End director Christopher Renshaw and starring Hayley Mills as Anna, it played to sell out houses around the country. In 1996, the production went on to win four Tony Awards on Broadway: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical (Donna Murphy), Best Scenic Design (Brian Thomson) and Best Costume Design (Roger Kirk). The Broadway season was followed by a US tour. In 2000, the production opened at the London Palladium with Elaine Paige as Anna where it played for nearly two years before embarking on a UK tour. Christopher Renshaw returns to Australia to revive the production, with its stunning Thai-inspired set design by Brian Thomson, sumptuous costumes by Roger Kirk, lighting by Nigel Levings, sound design by Michael Waters and musical direction by Peter Casey. Susan Kikuchi will recreate the original Jerome Robbins choreography as well as the choreography of her mother Yuriko who appeared in the 1951 Broadway production and the 1956 film. President and Executive Director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Ted Chapin said: “John Frost’s production of The King and I is a classic example of taking a theatrical risk – a risk that ended up paying off better than anyone could have imagined. John’s resume didn’t necessarily warrant him being handed the rights to one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best shows, but he was enthusiastic and spirited – characteristics I am happy to say he still possesses today – and persuasive. Seeing the production in Melbourne was one of the most exciting nights of my life, and that started the worldwide roll-out which, of course, included a triumphant run on Broadway. I am so looking forward to seeing it again, and Opera Australia is the perfect modern partner.” The King and I opens in Brisbane at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in April 2014, then moves to the Princess Theatre, Melbourne in June, followed by a Sydney season at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House in September. Presenting Partner SEASON DETAILS LYRIC THEATRE, QPAC, BRISBANE Season: From 13 April Performance Times: Wed–Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Tues, Wed & Sat 1.30pm & Sun 3pm Price: From $69.90* Bookings: qpac.com.au or phone 136 246 Groups of 10 or more 07 3840 7466 Premium Tickets & Packages visit SHOWBIZ.COM.AU or 1300 4 SHOWS PRINCESS THEATRE, MELBOURNE Season: From 10 June Performance Times: Wed–Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Tues & Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm & Sun 3pm Price: From $79.90* Bookings: Ticketmaster.com.au or phone 1300 111 011 Groups of 10 or more call 1300 889 278 Premium Tickets & Packages visit SHOWBIZ.COM.AU or 1300 4 SHOWS JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE Season: From 7 September Performance Times: Wed–Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Tues & Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm & Sun 3pm Price: From $59.90* Bookings: sydneyoperahouse.com or 9250 7777 Ticketmaster.com.au or phone 1300 723 038 Groups of 10 or more call 02 8240 2290 Premium Tickets & Packages visit SHOWBIZ.COM.AU or 1300 4 SHOWS * An additional transaction fee and/or a credit/debit payment processing fee may apply. Media information, images and footage, go to thekingandimusical.com.au/media MEDIA ENQUIRIES — PLEASE CONTACT National Ian Phipps, IP Publicity — [email protected] or 0419 977 649 Brisbane Cindy Ullrich, QPAC Publicity Manager — [email protected] or (07) 3840 7589/ 0434 366-038 Melbourne Kerry O’Brien, Kerry O’Brien Publicity — [email protected] or (03) 9510 4777 Sydney Imogen Corlette, National PR & Communications Manager, Opera Australia — [email protected] or (02) 9318 8327 Presenting Partner LISA McCUNE Anna Leonowens Lisa McCune is one of Australia’s most successful screen and theatre actors, earning an impressive collection of awards, including ten Logie Awards, four of them Gold for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television. At age 17, Lisa was accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree shot several television pilots before landing the role of Maggie Doyle in the police drama Blue Heelers. The show went on to become one of the most popular and enduring programs in Australian television history and made Lisa a household name. During this time, she played the role of Mary Abacus in the Seven Network mini-series The Potato Factory and appeared on stage as Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods and as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music, both for Melbourne Theatre Company. Lisa then starred as Maria in The Sound of Music for the Gordon Frost Organisation, which she followed with her Green Room Award-winning performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She also received nominations for a Helpmann Award and Green Room Award for her performance as Hope Cladwell in Urinetown. Other stage credits include Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Dead Man’s Cell Phone and Guys and Dolls for the Ambassador Theatre Group. Her screen credits include Little Fish, the highly acclaimed medical series MDA, Two Twisted, the UK/Australia co-production Tripping Over, Rake and telemovie Hell Has Harbour Views for which she received a Silver Logie Nomination for Most Outstanding Actress. Lisa starred in five series of Sea Patrol and in the telemovie Blood Brothers. In 2013, she appeared in Reef Doctors on Channel 11, It’s a Date for the ABC, as well as on stage in Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne The Musical. She also filmed a role in Josh Lawson’s debut feature film, the highly anticipated Little Death. Lisa comes to The King and I after playing Nellie Forbush in the Australian tour of South Pacific for Opera Australia. Presenting Partner TEDDY TAHU RHODES The King – Brisbane and Sydney Internationally acclaimed opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes is currently starring as Emile De Becque in the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific for Opera Australia – his first musical. Teddy studied in New Zealand with Mary Adams Taylor, in London with Rudolf Piernay at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and more recently with David Harper and Sharolyn Kimmorley. Early in his career, he represented New Zealand in the 1999 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. After appearing with New Zealand’s major opera, concert and choral organisations he made a highly successful Australian debut with Opera Australia in 1998 as Dandini in La Cenerentola and in the Messiah for the Melbourne Symphony and Sydney Philharmonia Choir. Since then, Teddy has rapidly established an international career on both the opera stage and the concert platform. He sings a wide-ranging repertoire, notable for several Australian and world premiere performances including Bendrix (The End of the Affair), Joe (Dead Man Walking), The Pilot (The Little Prince) – subsequently filmed for the BBC and televised in both the UK and the USA – Nigel Butterley’s Spell of Creation and Barry Conyngham’s Fix. Since his debut with Opera Australia, he has sung many roles for the company and will play Don Giovanni in Sydney in 2014. He is a frequent guest with major opera houses in the US (Austin, Washington, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Dallas and the Metropolitan in New York), in Europe (Hamburg, Munich, Paris, Vienna) and in the UK (Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera). State Opera of South Australia presented him in landmark performances as Joe in Dead Man Walking, a role he also performed for Andrew McManus/Alexander Productions in Sydney. Recent opera engagements include Ned Keene in Peter Grimes (Metropolitan Opera), Escamillo in Carmen (Opera Australia, Paris, Hamburg, Munich, Bilbao, Scottish Opera and the Metropolitan Opera), Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire (Vienna/ OA), the Count in Le nozze di Figaro (Cincinnati/Washington), Don Giovanni and the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (OA), Lescaut (Leipzig/OA), Billy Budd (Santa Fe/OA) and Scarpia in Tosca (West Australian Opera). A regular guest with all the major symphony orchestras in Australasia, his concert engagements have included recitals at Sydney’s Utzon Room as well as in Washington DC, national tours with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2002, 2006 and 2011 as well as a US tour with the ACO in 2012, the prestigious BBC Proms, London Philharmonic, Bundaleer Festival in 2002 and 2006, and two Australian tours with David Hobson for Andrew McKinnon Presentations. He debuted at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2009. This year, Teddy has played Don Giovanni for WA Opera and in a concert version in St Petersburg, made his debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in A Streetcar Named Desire and performed in return seasons of South Pacific. He and Kate Ceberano – one of his co-stars in South Pacific last year – also premiered a cabaret show called Meet Me in the Middle at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Teddy’s recordings include Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart Arias, Musical Renegades, The Voice, Vagabond, You’ll Never Walk Alone (with David Hobson), Bach Arias, Mozart Requiem, Serious Songs (ABC Classics); The Little Prince (BBC/Sony Music); Hayley Westenra Live (Decca); Love for Three Oranges (Chandos). With the Metropolitan Opera he appears on the DVDs of Peter Grimes (EMI) and Carmen (Deutsche Grammophon). His awards include an ARIA (Best Classical Record/The Voice), two Helpmann Awards (Best Male Operatic Performer), a Mo Award (Operatic Performer of the Year) and a Green Room Award (Don Giovanni/OA). Presenting Partner JASON SCOTT LEE The King – Melbourne Jason Scott Lee was born in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in Hawaii and is of Chinese-Hawaiian descent. Jason started his acting career with small roles in the films Born In East LA (1987) and Back to the Future Part II (1989). His first leading role was portraying Bruce Lee in the biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story in 1993. Lee has trained in Bruce Lee’s martial art Jeet Kune Do since portraying Lee and continues to train and is now a certified instructor under former Bruce Lee student Jerry Poteet. He played leading roles in other films such as Map of the Human Heart (1993) and Rapa Nui (1994). He starred as Mowgli in the 1994 live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s stories. He went on to co-star with Kurt Russell in director Paul WS Anderson’s 1998 film Soldier, then in 2000 he played Aladdin in the mini-series Arabian Nights. Apart from voice-over work for the Disney animated film Lilo and Stitch (2002), Jason has appeared films such as Dracula II: Ascension (2001), Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision (2003), The Prophecy: Forsaken (2005) and Balls of Fury (2007). On television, Jason played Detective Kaleo on Hawaii Five-O. Jason is among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006), directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian American men in Hollywood. This is not the first time Jason has played the role of the King in The King and I. He performed the part to great acclaim previously in John Frost’s West End production at the London Palladium in 2000-2001 opposite Elaine Paige. On stage he starred in Paint Your Face On A Drowning In The River at the Santa Paula Theater Center, and made his operatic debut in the non-singing role of Pasha Selim in Hawaii Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio in Honolulu in 2009. Jason continues to explore opportunities in live theatre. Presenting Partner JOHN ADAM Sir Edward Ramsey, Captain Orton John Adam has appeared in many theatre productions across a wide spectrum of Australia’s theatre companies. His credits include Fred, Just Bent, The Virgin Mim, Macbeth, The Glass Menagerie, The Give and Take and Woman in Mind for the Sydney Theatre Company; Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar for the Bell Shakespeare Company; ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore for the Malthouse Theatre; The Torrents for the State Theatre Company of South Australia; Ship of Fools and The Peach Season for the Griffin Theatre Company; Day One. A Hotel, Evening for Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and; Hamlet, Dead Man’s Cell Phone and The Give and Take for the Melbourne Theatre Company. He most recently starred in Bell Shakespeare’s The School For Wives for which he received a Sydney Theatre Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production. John also received a Green Room Award nomination in 2009 for his performance as Frost in Frost/Nixon for the Melbourne Theatre Company. John recently starred as Nick Buchanan in Channel Seven’s drama series City Homicide. His other television credits include Neighbours, Home and Away, Always Greener, A Country Practice, Water Rats, All Saints, Above the Law, Stingers, 13 Gantry Row, Chameleon, The Lost World, Beastmaster, Flipper, The Whole World in His Hands, The Track, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, The Alice, GP, E-Street, Farscape and Underbelly: The Tale of Two Cities. In 2014, John will be seen in the Seven Network telemovie Never Tear Us Apart, based on Australia’s most successful band, INXS. Presenting Partner MARTY RHONE The Kralahome Internationally acclaimed actor/singer Marty Rhone has become a legend of the Australian industry through his ability to sustain a stellar career over six decades that has included Number 1 hit records, television series and successful stage shows, both here and abroad. He has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting stage performers this country has produced. During an illustrious career as an actor and a singer, Rhone has performed with and in front of some of the biggest names in entertainment, from the Rolling Stones to Yul Brynner, John Denver to Peter Allen and performed in front of Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, the late Princess Grace of Monaco, the late King Hussein of Jordon and the British Royal family. Most recently he has played roles as diverse as God (with a British accent), a Chinese shopkeeper and a hit man (with American accent). His mixed parentage enables him to be considered for most nationalities from European to Asian to Latin. He is also adept at many accents having played three different nationalities in his past three roles. He also possesses a catalogue of cartoon and character voices. On consistency of performance there are few to match him, nor done or achieved as much as he has over such a long period – concert stage, theatre, television series, film, hit records. There are very few that have a CV to match. His performances are as diverse as The King and I with the late Yul Brynner at the London Palladium, Godspell, Machiavelli’s La Mandragola, Jack the Ripper, and winner of the Outstanding Performance Award at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. Marty also wrote the original music score and starred in La Mandragola alongside Pamela Stephenson, and starred in the TV series’ Number 96 and Class of ‘75. Presenting Partner SHU-CHEEN YU Lady Thiang Born in China, Shu-Cheen Yu began her career as a child star in Chinese traditional opera. She went on to become one of China’s best folk singers and a principal artist with the Shan-Xi province Beijing Opera Company as well as China’s prestigious National Oriental Song and Dance Company. She made regular broadcasts on Television China and on Radio Beijing and released five successful albums. Since arriving in Australia in 1987, Shu-Cheen has performed in Opera Australia productions of Der Freischütz (Annchen), The Elixir of Love (Giannetta), The Marriage of Figaro (Barbarina), Rigoletto (the Page) Werther (Katchen) and The Coronation of Poppea (Drusilla). She has also performed in a special version of Madama Butterfly for Parramatta Riverside Theatres. Other roles include Judou in Julian Yu’s The Possessed for Chamber Made Opera in Melbourne, for which she was nominated for a Green Room Award and Helpmann Award, the Woodbird in Wagner’s Siegfried as part of the State Opera of South Australia’s Ring Cycle and for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Virgin Mary in Peter Sellars’ production of El Nino for the Adelaide Festival, Papagena in The Magic Flute for the Melbourne Opera Company, and the title role in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for The Song Company. Shu-Cheen’s concert work has included Handel’s Solomon, Handel’s Samson and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for the Sydney Philharmonia Choir. She also appeared as a soloist with the SSO in their Olympic Arts Festival performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony and with the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble. She has also performed at many festivals, gala concerts and corporate events. She has also appeared in the musical Chess at the Theatre Royal and played Tuptim in John Frost’s 1991 production of The King and I and has recorded three best-selling CDs for ABC Classics: Lotus Moon, Willow Spirit Song and Serenade. The recipient of many awards, she was the winner of the Australian Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera New York auditions in 1992 and the Shell Royal Opera House Covent Garden Scholarship in 1994. Presenting Partner ADRIAN LI DONNI Lun Tha Adrian Li Donni is a graduate of Circle In The Square Theatre School in New York. Whilst there, he performed in The Seagull, Measure For Measure and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In New York, Adrian was seen in Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic of ‘08, at Joe’s Pub in Leap, and in Lance Horne, Or What You Will. In 2009 he toured with Broadway writing legends Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens in Broadway to Australia, and a year later with Broadway composer, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Enchanted) in a concert tour of his acclaimed catalogue of works, Festival Of Broadway. Adrian has played the role of Lun Tha in numerous productions across the globe. These include the world premiere of the newlyrestored The King and I for Lyric Stage in Texas, for The Production Company in Melbourne and most recently in the UK/ Ireland tour for Curve Theatre (Leicester, UK). Other credits include Rent, The Music of Georgia Stitt, Songs for a New World, and more recently, Loaded and Jesus Christ Superstar at the Ljubljana Festival Theatre in Slovenia. JENNY LIU Tuptim Soprano Jenny Liu has completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Opera, studying under Maree Ryan, Chair of the Vocal Studies and Opera Unit. In each year from 2008-2011, Jenny has been awarded the highly prestigious Helen Myer Merit Scholarship. Jenny has been a finalist in the Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Scholarship in 2007 and 2009, winning the Marja Baudish award in 2009. In 2012, she was a semifinalist in the Australian Singing Competition and won the Ingrid Davidson Award and The Radzyminski Family Prize. She is a finalist in the Australian Opera Foundation German Scholarship. Jenny has performed the role Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro as well as Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto, Diane in Orpheus in the Underworld, and Serpina in La Serva Padrona. Jenny has also had the pleasure of performing as the soprano soloist oratorios including Carmina Burana under the baton of Richard Gill, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, as well as the world premieres of Matthew Orlovich’s Communion of Reparations, and the role of Sylvia Plath in Telling the Truth.