Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Theater of the Stars Presents The King and I Starring Ronobir Lahiri, Victoria Mallory, Raul Aranas, Ali Ewoldt, Josh Dela Cruz, Jee Hyun Lim and Raphael Aranas, Helmed by Baayork Lee on Tour through September 11, 2012

Theater of the Stars is presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s multiple Tony-winning classic The King and I starring Ronobir Lahiri as The King of Siam and Victoria Mallory as Anna, helmed by Baayork Lee, with choreography by Susan Kikuchi and Jerome Robbins, in a three city tour.

The King and I tour kicked off at The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, VA. on August 28, 2012, for three performances. From August 31st – September 2, the show will have five performances at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA., before heading to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA., September 5 – 11.

Based on the real life adventures of the English widow Anna Leonowens, and the best-selling 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, The King and I is a fascinating tale about a clash of customs and finding love in spite of our differences. Set in the 1860’s in Bangkok, The King and I is the timeless love story between a powerful and stubborn king and a determined governess named Anna. The show features opulent settings, a beautiful story of honor and forgiveness, and is filled with memorable songs such as “Hello Young Lovers,” “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Shall We Dance?” and “Getting To Know You.”

Raul Aranas as The Kralahome and Raphael Aranas as Prince Chulalongkorn. (Photo courtesy of Raul Aranas)

Raul Aranas as The Kralahome and Raphael Aranas as Prince Chulalongkorn. (Photo courtesy of Raul Aranas)

Ali Ewoldt

Ali Ewoldt

The King and I cast includes Raul Aranas as The Kralahome and his son Raphael Aranas as Prince Chulalongkorn, Josh Dela Cruz as Lun Tha, Ali Ewoldt as Tuptim, Jee Hyun Lim as Lady Thiang, John Antony as Captain Orton, Andrew Cheng as Simon of Legree, Andy Danh as The Interpreter, Carl Kimbrough as Louis Leonowens, Cassey K. Kivnick as Uncle Thomas, Chase McGrath as Louis Leonowens, Azumi Milligan as Little Eva, Rumi Oyama as Angel George, Yuki Ozeki as Topsy and Jessica Wu as Eliza. The cast also features Stephanie Card, Amy Chiang, Thang Dao, Yuka Fukuda-Lahiri, JP Moraga, Julien Marcus De Guzman, Ariela Morgenstern, Manna Nichols and Rommel Pierre O’Choa.

Baayork Lee (Photo by Lia Chang)

Baayork Lee (Photo by Lia Chang)

Baayork Lee made her professional stage debut in the original Broadway production of The King and I at age 5, and has performed in dozens of Broadway shows where she created the roles Miss Wong in Promises, Promises and the role of Connie in A Chorus Line. As Michael Bennett’s assistant choreographer on A Chorus Line, she has directed many national and international companies. Her directing credits are: The King and I and Bombay Dreams (National tours), R&H’s Cinderella (NYC Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center, Starring -Vanessa Williams, Conductor – Placido Domingo ), Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar (European tour), Gypsy (Signature Theater, Virginia) and A New Brain. Her choreography credits are include Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Arena Stage, Washington, DC: Cocoanuts, Camelot, Damn Yankees, Helen Hayes nomination for Animal Crackers and South Pacific; Washington Opera, Kennedy Center: Goya (Placido Domingo-Tenor), Sly (José Carreras- Tenor), The Merry Widow, Tsars Bride, and The Pearl Fishers are just a few. She is the co-author of the book On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line and is the recipient of the 2003 Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College in Chicago. She founded her new company, NATIONAL ASIAN ARTIST PROJECT (NAAP) to shine the spotlight on Asian theater artists across the country.

Susan Kikuchi was a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1978-1984 and has served as Director of both the Martha Graham Ensemble and the Martha Graham School. She has re-staged many Graham works often in collaboration with Yuriko for the Joffrey Ballet and Boston Conservatory. On the Broadway stage, Ms. Kikuchi was Supervisor of Jerome Robbins’ choreography (“The Small House of Uncle Thomas” ballet) and Dance Captain for The King and I at the Neil Simon Theater. She was also soloist and Dance Captain in The King and I with Yul Brynner. Other Broadway credits include Pacific Overtures, Flower Drum Song, South Pacific, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.

The team of Richard Rodgers (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist) was the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in American musical theatre. In addition to The King and I, their musicals include Oklahoma!, Carousel,Allegro, Flower Drum Song, South Pacific, Me and Juliet, Pipe Dream, and The Sound of Music. The original 1951 production of The King and I received five Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 1956 movie adaptation won five Academy Awards.

“Theater of the Stars is extremely delighted to produce a gorgeous production of The King and I that will feature incredibly talented actors and 28 local children from Atlanta” states Christopher B. Manos, Producer of Theater of the Stars. “’Audiences of all ages will be enchanted by this magnificent Rodgers & Hammerstein musical when it plays a special one-week engagement at the fabulous Fox Theatre.”

In Atlanta, Kylie Blank, Courtney Clewell, Camden Croucher, Abby Goldberg, Sara Goldberg, Ana Laura Grullon, Benjamin Harding, Eli Hutchinson, Sarah Grace Hutchinson, Tayler LaNett Jackson, Thomas C.D. Jackson, Chosen Jacobs, Elise Jones, Marilee Karinshak, Camille Lamkin, Logan Patrick McHugh, Rosslyn Milne, Max River Roberts, Nicholas Sanders, Thomas Shoup, Lexi Skinner, Madison Stampfl, Emerson Steele, Conner Street, Jonah Verdon, Camille Warlick and Payten Williams will play the Royal Children.

August 31st-September 2
Wolf Trap
1645 Trap Road
Vienna, VA.
Friday, August 31 at 8:00pm
Saturday, September 1 at 2:00pm and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 2 at 2:00p pm and 8:00 pm.
Tickets range from $20-$80. Click here for tickets.

September 5 – 11
Fabulous Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree Street Northeast
Atlanta, GA
(404) 881-2100
Wednesday, September 5 at 8 p.m.
Thursday, September 6 at 8 p.m.
Friday, September 7 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 11 at 8 p.m.
Tickets range from $25 – $65 and are on sale now at or by calling 855-ATL-TIXX (855-285-8499). The general public can purchase 50% off discount tickets for the Wednesday, September 5 performance by using the code “AJC” when ordering. Special group rates for 10 or more are available by calling 404-881-2000, emailing or online

Other Articles by Lia Chang
Aaron Lazar, Kate Baldwin, P.J. Griffith, Raul Aranas Set for the Dallas Theater Center/Public Theater Co-Production of Giant at the Wyly Theatre, 1/18-2/19/12
World Premiere Screening of Lil Tokyo Reporter Starring Chris Tashima at Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, September 14-16, 2012
10 minutes with Sullivan & Son’s Jodi Long, Award Winning Actor and Filmmaker
Illeana Douglas, Kimberly-Rose Wolter and Michael Kang Set for 4 Wedding Planners Screening in Screen Actors Guild Foundation Conversations Series in NY on August 21, 2012
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012
Multimedia: Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Conversations with Derek Ting, Linus Roache and Michael Park of $upercapitalist
Konrad Aderer’s Enemy Alien Screens at Japanese American National Museum in LA on September 8, 2012
Lily Mariye’s Model Minority, Jayshree Janu Kharpade’s Fire in Our Hearts, Eliaichi Kimaro’s A Lot Like You, Vincent Sandoval’s Señorita, and Liang Cheng’s My Spiritual Medicine among AAIFF’12 Award Winners
AAIFF’12: Richard Wong & H.P. Mendoza’s Yes, We’re Open, starring Lynn Chen, Parry Shen, Sheetal Sheth, & Kerry McCrohan, screens at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on August 4, 2012
35th Asian American International Film Festival Line-up in New York
Janet Yang to receive 2012 Asian American Media Award at AAIFF’12 Opening Night Presentation of Shanghai Calling on July 25, 2012
West Coast Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at Berkeley Rep stars Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, August 24-October 7, 2012
Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. 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. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at


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