Lincoln Center Theater surprised theatergoers when it announced on June 5 that it plans to end production of The King and I on June 26.
The musical will have been performed 538 times. A national tour will begin in November in Providence, Rhode Island. Other cities and dates have yet to be announced.
Declining Ticket Sales after Kelli O’Hara’s Departure
The play opened in April 2015 at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre and earned glowing reviews from critics. It performed well at the box office for a period of time, but weekly ticket sales fell after its Tony Award-winning star, Kelli O’Hara, left in April.
The musical has a cast of 50 people and a 29-piece orchestra, so its weekly running cost is higher than the average for Broadway musicals. It was a more viable option financially for a nonprofit like The Lincoln Center Theater than for a commercial producer. As of June 6, The King and I has grossed $54.5 million.
Composers and Cast
The play features music written by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II. It is directed by Bartlett Sher.
The production originally starred Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara. Watanabe took a break from Broadway to pursue film projects but returned briefly early in 2016. O’Hara’s final performance in The King and I was on April 17, 2016. The current cast stars Daniel Dae Kim and Marin Mazzie. Both have earned positive reviews from critics for their takes on the famous roles.
Tony Award-Winning Musical
The King and I was nominated for nine Tony Awards last year and won four, including lead actress for O’Hara, best musical revival, featured actress in a musical for Ruthie Ann Miles, and costume design for a musical for Catherine Zuber. O’Hara has been nominated for six Tony Awards. She was nominated for a Tony for her performance in The Light in the Piazza and for every subsequent Broadway role and won her first for her performance as Anna Leonowens in The King and I. O’Hara will make her solo debut at Carnegie Hall on October 29.
Many people on and off-Broadway have highlighted the lack of diversity in theater casts. The King and I provided many prominent roles for the cast, the majority of whom are Asian-American, for over a year.
See Kelli O’Hara and Other Stars Perform
Tickets are available to see Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kelli O’Hara perform at Carnegie Hall on October 29. You can purchase tickets for this or other Carnegie Hall performances from On Broadway. Order your tickets today.