02 February, 2024

Intercultural Dialogue: "The King and I" Musical at DAIS

The King of Siam and Anna Leonowens

This year the Performing Arts Department produced the classic musical play about East meets West "The King and I". This play is about an English schoolteacher Anna Lenowens and her son Louis who travel to the kingdom of Siam in 1862. The play is about cultural differences and misunderstandings, but underneath all of that it is about the humanity that unites us all. Our students participated in the design, rehearsal, and performance of the show. We are so proud of them!

The King and I on stage

The skills our actors developed on stage not only included voice, drama, choreography, lights and sound. Angel Dong, DHS Grade 11 student and Musical Theater actress, thinks that they learned a lot about cultural dialogue and the possibility for personal growth when confronting and embracing differences. What else our students say?

The King of Siam and Kralahome

DAIS: What was your favorite moment in the play?

Johnny Xue (The King of Siam): The king's growing and changing is the best part of this show.

Nicole Liu (Anna Lenowens): My favorite moment is during the scene where Lun Tha and Tuptim sing "We Kiss in the Shadow".

Bob Wu (Louis Lenowens, King Simon of Legree): It might be the song "I Whistle a Happy Tune": fake it till you make it, Anna!

Kanon Sugimoto (Tuptim): My favorite moment in the play is the scene where the king dies. It's super random and sudden and it makes me laugh every time.

Biel Christoffersen (Chulalongkorn): Captain Orton at the start.

Miranda Li (Eliza, Butri, Fan Dancer): My favorite moment was the Eliza part, because it was a fun scene, with the trees and the snow...

Anna Lenowens and the ladies of the court

DAIS: What was the hardest part of this play for you?

Nicole: I felt like the hardest part was during the scene 2. Not only does it have a lot of lines for Anna, but it also had multiple blockings for "Getting to Know You".

Kanon: The hardest part is definitely scene 9, the musical within the musical. There’s a lot of lines and since the lines are not in correct grammar, it’s sometimes hard to remember them.

Bob: Singing some of the songs (some notes are a little too high, and I'm an alto), keeping a straight face as I was literally being carried on stage and beating my slaves. Pretty ridiculous!

Johnny: There are lots of lines and acting parts for my character, it was hard to memorize all of them.

Miranda: I think the hardest part was when I had to dance with Anna and Angel, it required us to work together and cooperate.

Biel: Learning lines...

Crown Prince Chulalongkorn and Captain Orton

DAIS: What do you hope people learn from watching this play?

Nicole: I hope that the audience could learn more about how to deal with cultural differences and learn about diversity. In addition, I also wish the audience could understand the Siamese traditions more.

Miranda: I want people to learn about the power of women and the power of knowledge. And be brave just to do what you want!

Johnny: People need to know that there is always somebody who knows more than you in this world, and people must improve themselves with the guidance of others.

Biel: Siam is a beautiful place!

Kanon: People are greedy creatures and they often want what they don't have. But I hope through this play, everyone will understand that no matter what race, where you’re from, or how much money you may have, people are people and everyone has the same rights and you should be happy with the things you already have.

Lun Tha and Tuptim

A big thank you to the whole team or teachers, parents and students who made it happen:

  • Musical Director: Ms. Terry Saez
  • Drama Director: Mr. Logan Bryant
  • Design Team: Mr. and Mrs. Diarez, Mr. Slava
  • Makeup: Ms. Thao Doan
  • Hair: Advanced Choir
  • Stage Crew: Dmitry Ulyakhin, Biel Christoffersen, Advanced Choir

The King and I musical

See you at the next show!