Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Paolo Montalban and Tony Nominee Kate Baldwin Star in ‘The King and I’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Apr. 29-May 22

Kate Baldwin and Paolo Montalban

Kate Baldwin and Paolo Montalban

Lyric Opera of Chicago is presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I starring Tony Award-nominated Kate Baldwin and Paolo Montalban as Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam, April 29-May 22, 2016 (press opening April 30). A graduate of Northwestern University, Baldwin last appeared onstage in Chicago in the Broadway-bound musical Big Fish. Montalban has been seen in Broadway productions of Pacific Overtures and The King and I, and is best known for starring as the Prince in ABC’s telefilm of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, alongside Brandy and Whitney Houston.

The King and I is the fourth Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to be presented as part of Lyric’s American Musical Initiative. Lee Blakeley, who staged the production’s 2014 premiere at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, helms the Lyric presentation with an all new cast, teaming up with veteran Broadway conductor David Chase, who conducted Lyric’s acclaimed Carousel last season. The creative team also includes choreographer Peggy Hickey, scenic designer Jean-Marc Puissant and costume designer Sue Blane.

Lyric Opera’s The King and I runs April 29 through May 22 (press opening April 30) at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Tickets start at $29 and are available now at or at 312-827-5600.

Paolo Montalban is best known for his portrayal of the Prince in ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney telefilm of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. On Broadway he has been seen as Manjiro in Pacific Overtures, performed the role of Lun Tha in The King & I, and in the play Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Off-Broadway he appeared in Shakespeare in the Park’s Two Gentlemen of Verona as Eglamour and in Ma-Yi Theater’s production of The Romance of Magno Rubio as Claro. Recent regional credits include Count Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music at American Conservatory Theater, Arthur in the reconceived production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown at Denver Center Theatre, and The Emperor in a co-production of The Orphan of Zhao shared between ACT and La Jolla Playhouse. On television, he played the series lead Kung Lao on TNT’s Mortal Kombat: Conquest, as well as roles on Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, Nurse Jackie, One Life to Live, and Law & Order: SVU. He has also acted in the films Just Wright, The Great Raid, and festival favorite Two Weeks. Paolo has sung as a guest soloist with The San Francisco Symphony and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall.

Kate Baldwin earned Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic’s Circle Award nominations for her starring role in the 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow. She went on to star in Big Fish on Broadway playing Sandra Bloom, in Fiorello! at City Center Encores and Giant as Leslie Lyntonn Benedict at The Public Theater, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination. Baldwin also starred in Can-Can at The Paper Mill Playhouse and Off-Broadway in the Keen Company production of John and Jen, for which she received a 2015 Drama Desk nomination. She recently finished a critically acclaimed run in the new musical Songbird at 59E59 Street Theater Off-Broadway with a book and music by Lauren Pritchard and Michael Kimmel. Kate has appeared in the Broadway casts of The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wonderful Town. She starred in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (San Francisco, Detroit, Toronto), The Women at The Old Globe, Henry V at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, I Do, I Do at Westport Country Playhouse, She Loves Me at the Willliamstown Theatre Festival, and South Pacific at Arena Stage, earning a Helen Hayes Award nomination. Kate has performed in concert with the Boston Pops, New York Pops, with the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and at the legendary New York nightclubs Feinstein’s at the Regency, Birdland and 54 Below. Her concert work also includes several appearances with Stephen Sondheim in his critically acclaimed evening, “A Conversation with Stephen Sondheim.” She has sung as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony and the River Concert Series. Television, her work includes NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the PBS filming of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Kate’s debut album on PS Classics, “Let’s See What Happens” features Lane and Harburg songs from both stage and film.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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