IT’S ALMOST HERE BROADWAY FANS. The 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicking off the holiday season is 2 days away. Our TOP 20 BROADWAY AT THE MACY’S PARADE COUNTDOWN continues playing you the best of Musical Theatre performances from the past NBC and CBS telecasts.
At #2 on our countdown is another of the most legendary timeless musicals of all time. It tells the story of a widowed British school teacher who travels to Siam (now Thailand) to teach the children of a strict royal king. This is of course Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legendary classic The King and I the Musical.
For this, we have 2 performances of the same song from the musical performed by 2 different productions (both) on the NBC telecasts from Harold Square. In the scene, Anna Leonowens begins her first day of teaching school to the royal children (which they all love her). Both casts perform the iconic GETTING TO YOU KNOW YOU.
From the 1996 edition, this features Tony winner Donna Murphy as Anna and the cast of that year’s Tony winning revival performing the song.
From the 2015 edition, this features Tony winner Kelli O’Hara and the cast of the most recent Lincoln Center Theater revival performing the song.
THE KING AND I (based on a novel entitled ANNA AND THE KING) first premiered on Broadway in 1950 at the St. James Theatre for 1,246 performances starring Yul Brynner (who went on to win a Tony and Oscar) as The King & Gertrude Lawrence (later Constance Carpenter, Celeste Holm, Annamary Dickey and Patricia Morison) as Anna Leonowens.
It was later revived 4 times Broadway. In 1977, it first returned to Broadway starring once again Yul Brynner (later Michael Kermoyan) as the King & Constance Towers (later Angela Lansbury) as Anna Leonowens. It played at Broadway’s Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin Theatre) for 719 performances.
In 1985, the show once again returned to Broadway starring Brynner played his final engagement as The King (before his death) and Mary Beth Peil (TV’s Dawson’s Creek, soon to be in Anastasia The Musical) as Anna Leonowens. It played the Broadway Theatre for 207 performances.
In 1995, it returned to Broadway with a Tony winning revival starring Lou Diamond Phillips (later the late Kevin Gray) as The King & Donna Murphy (later Marie Osmond and Faith Prince) as Anna Leonowens. It played Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre for 807 performances. Fun Fact, our very own Michael had a cousin (who used to be a child actor) that appeared in that revival as a Swing and understudy for Anna and The King’s eldest sons.
Last but not least, the most recent Tony winning revival starring Kelli O’Hara (later Marin Mazzie) as Anna Leonowens and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (later Jose Llana, Hoon Lee, and Daniel Dae Kim) as The King played Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center for 538 performances. The recent revival is currently touring across North America with Laura Michelle Kelly as Anna and Jose Llana reprising his performance as The King.
Isn’t this show a timeless classic?
The cast of the Broadway revival of THE KING AND I perform the number “Getting to Know You” live at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2015.