Broadway Vet Darren Lee and “Call The Midwife” Star Helen George Lead THE KING AND I UK and Ireland Tour Which Will Launch at Canterbury Marlowe Theatre on Feb. 4

Helen George and Darren Lee (Photo by Billy Bustamante)
Helen George and Darren Lee (Photo by Billy Bustamante)

Further casting has been announced for the multi Tony Award-winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I which embarks on a major UK and Ireland Tour this February. Broadway star and film actor Darren Lee (Hackers/Sisters/Chicago/Guys and Dolls) will play the title role of The King of Siam opposite Helen George, known to millions for the past decade as Trixie in the hit BBC One series “Call The Midwife,” who will star as Anna Leonowens.

This gloriously lavish production will be brought to the stage by an internationally renowned creative team under Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher (South Pacific/My Fair Lady/ To Kill a Mockingbird) and will feature a world-class company of talented performers and a full-scale orchestra.

Joining Helen George and Darren Lee is Dean John-Wilson (London Palladium prodction of The King and I/Aladdin) who will reprise his role as Lun Tha, Marienella Phillips (Henry V/Carmen) who will play Tuptim alongside Cezarah Bonner who returns as Lady Thiang, the King’s head wife, Kok-Hwa Lie (2020 UK Tour of The King And I/ Rent) will play the role of Kralahome, Caleb Lagayan (Les Misérables) will play Prince Chulalongkorn, Sam Jenkins-Shaw (The Night Watch/Jane Eyre) takes the role of Captain Orton/Sir Edward Ramsay and Maria Coyne (Phantom of the Opera/Wicked) will be the Alternate Anna.

The ensemble includes Chi Chan, Jeffrey Chekai, Emily Grace-Ling, Cher Nicolette Ho, Rachel Wang-Hei Lau, Daniel Len, Candy Ma, Rachel MacDougall, Amelia Kinu Muus, Yuki Ozeki, Kitt Pakapom, Prem Rai, Ria Tanaka, Hiromi Toyooka, Jasmine Triadi, Jensen Tudtud, Qinwen Xue and Jason Yang-Westland. Harry Altoft, Dexter Barry, Max Ivemey and Charlie McGuire will play Louis, Anna’s son. Bethany Campbell, Coco Bridger, Cody Concha, Ethan Fung, Dulcie-Bella Hackley, Caitlin Lau, Khun Cho Lwin, Angelica Quynh An Nguyen, Tenzin Noryang, Sabri Leonel Puci, Niall Rina, Francis Benedict Sarte, Mia Snowdon, Yuen Zhai and Phoebe Zhao-Welsh will play the Royal children.

Darren Lee was most recently seen as: Jiang in the world premiere of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain (Utah Shakespeare Festival) and as The King of Siam in the US national tour of The King and I.
Viet Vo, Lawrence Michael C. Arias, Jimmy Nguyen, Kelvin Moon Loh, Kennedy Kanagawa, Darren Lee, Steven Eng, Eymard Cabling and Kiet Tai Cao in Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang

Born in Southern CA, Mr. Lee began his career in the entertainment industry at the age of 11 on Jr. Star Search. Shortly thereafter he became a series regular on Kid’s Incorporated, a Disney Channel Favorite. Before relocating to New York to pursue a career in theatre, Darren danced with Paula Abdul and Elton John for Diet Coke and appeared on the Annual Academy Awards.

Broadway performing credits include: Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and in the original companies of Allegiance; Shogun the Musical; Miss Saigon; Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews; Kiss Me, Kate; On the Town; Seussical the Musical; Pacific Overtures and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Other Broadway work includes: Associate Choreographer on Pacific Overtures.
New York director/choreographer credits include: 24 Hour Musicals (Orchard Project); History of War (NYMF); Heading East starring B.D. Wong (Asia Society); The Report and Bronx Express (Fringe Festival); Hair (Wagner College); Black Tom Island (Art House Productions); Andy Warhol Was Right (NYMF); Hidden Sky, BRAIN. STORM. (Prospect Theatre); Reemergence (On The Quays); An Ideal Husband (Irish Repertory Theatre) and Stephen Sondheim’s 75th Birthday Celebration (New Amsterdam).
Other US director/choreographer credits include: the world premiere of B.D. Wong and Wayne Barker’s Mr. Holland’s Opus and Victor/Victoria, South Pacific (Ogunquit Playhouse); The Music Man (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Once on This Island and South Pacific (Olney Theatre Center); Miss Saigon (St. Louis MUNY, Paper Mill Playhouse, Music Theatre of Wichita); Smokey Joe’s Café, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys (Music Theatre of Wichita); Kiss Me Kate (Glimmerglass Opera Festival); Herringbone starring B.D. Wong (La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Shakespeare Festival); Up in the Air (Japan Festival, Kennedy Center); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Diamond Head Theatre, Hawaii); Chicago (Little Theatre on the Square, Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach, Florida); Carnival (UNLV); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Westchester Broadway, New York); Pacific Overtures (North Shore, Cincinnati Playhouse, Atlanta Alliance); Jesus Christ Superstar, Aida, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Fantasticks, Little Shop of Horrors and Godspell (MUNY); Guys and Dolls (Trinity University, Texas); High School Musical (Lyric Theatre, La Comedia, Casa Manana); High School Musical 2 (Lyric Theatre); Christmas with the Symphony 2007-2009 (Omaha Symphony) and Tis The Season 2017-2018 (South Dakota Symphony); Tableau, Playback, Ever After, Sound Stage and All For Love (Holland America Cruise Line); Disney Wishes! (Disney Cruise Line).
Film credits include: Razor in Hackers, opposite Angelina Jolie, Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, featured dancer in the Best Picture Academy Award winning Chicago alongside Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Darren is currently in development as the director/choreographer for the world premieres of the new musicals, The Tale of the Gifted Prince by Lezlie Wade and Daniel Green and Tiananmen by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola.

Helen George is one of the UK’s most beloved performers with a critically acclaimed career spanning across theatre and television. She is best known for playing the universally adored Trixie Franklin in 10 seasons of the smash hit BBC1 primetime series Call the Midwife.

Further television credits include Red Dwarf (Dave), Over to Bill (BBC One), Dark Matters (Discovery) and Hotel Babylon (BBC One). Helen’s notable film credits include Paul W S Anderson’s The Three Musketeers and Nativity Rocks.

On radio, Helen appeared alongside Toby Jones in BBC Radio 4’s dramatisation of Penelope Fitzgerald’s Human Voicesand in Colin Bytheway’s drama Departure on BBC Radio 4.

Helen has received critical acclaim for her varied stage credits, including Trevor Nunn’s revival of Terrance Rattigan’s Love in Idleness (★★★★ The Stage) and in the title role of Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie, directed by Anthony Banks. The play received ★★★★ from Stage Review, commenting that Helen gave a “riveting performance, and captures both Julie’s innocence and vulnerability and her undoubted cruelty”. Helen recently played the enigmatic Rachel in the Theatre Royal Bath’s adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.

Helen was also seen on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 where she reached the semi-finals. She then joined her fellow contestants on Strictly Live in 2016.

Following a critically acclaimed Broadway smash-hit run, a sold-out season at the London Palladium (which resulted in the biggest global live event cinema release of 2018) and a previous record-breaking UK and International tour, this multi-Tony Award-winning production returns to venues all over the country next year – visiting Canterbury, Wimbledon, Liverpool, Birmingham, Llandudno, High Wycombe, Bristol, Dartford, Bradford, Southend, Cardiff, Hull, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Stoke-On-Trent, Southampton, Belfast and Dublin. Further UK cities and details of a major international tour will be announced soon.

The critical acclaim for Bartlett Sher’s production has been phenomenal. When the show opened at the London Palladium in 2018, West End critics heaped praise on the show: the Daily Mail “left the London Palladium on a bright cloud of music”, while The Times awarded the show “Five stars for a sumptuous King and I” declaring it “a hit”. Daily Express hailed it “London’s theatrical event of 2018” whilst The Daily Telegraph concurred proclaiming the show “looks and sounds ravishing”. Another five stars were awarded from the Sunday Express and the Financial Times called it “simply spellbinding”.

THE KING AND I is a sumptuous, timeless romance from the golden age of musicals, adored by the public and critics alike – and boasting one of the finest scores ever written, including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance.

Set in 1860s Bangkok, THE KING AND I tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

THE KING AND I – 2023 UK AND IRELAND TOUR DATES
Feb. 4 – 11 Canterbury Marlowe Theatre
Feb. 14 – 18 Wimbledon New Theatre
Feb. 21 – 25 Liverpool Empire Theatre
Feb. 28 Feb – Mar. 4 Birmingham Alexandra Theatre
Mar. 7 – 11 Llandudno Venue Cymru
Mar. 14 – 18     High Wycombe Swan Theatre
Mar. 28 March – Apr. 1 Bristol Hippodrome
Apr. 4 – 8             Dartford Orchard Theatre
Apr. 11 – 15         Bradford Alhambra Theatre
Apr. 18 – 22        Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Apr. 25 – 29           Cardiff New Theatre
May 2 – 6 Hull New Theatre
May 9 – 13 Manchester Opera House
May 16 – 20            Glasgow Kings Theatre
May 23 – 27 Newcastle Theatre Royal
May 30 – Jun. 3 Stoke-On-Trent Regent Theatre
Jun. 13 – 17 Southampton Mayflower
Jun. 20 – 24 Belfast Grand Opera House
Jun. 27 – Jul. 1       Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

*Helen George will perform on Wednesday – Saturday performances, at venues up to and including Cardiff New Theatre

Website: KingandIMusical.co.uk

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and MNN2.

Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2023 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com.
www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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