“The King and I” playing in Nevada City

RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S THE KING AND I, the 60-year-old musical by the legendary duo, is coming to the foothills. In March and April it will be performed at the historic Nevada Theater in Nevada City, one of the biggest musical theater productions ever staged in the region.

CATS, or the Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra, has been joined by InConcert Sierra and Sierra Stages as collaborators to pull off this ambitious production. The King and I will have a cast of 30 performers, a five-week run, a live orchestra and lavish costumes and sets.

The King and I has it all,” says Jeannie Wood, CATS’ executive director. “Music, fascination, an East versus West dramatic tale, comedic moments, and a glimpse of true humanity that transforms barriers set apart by cultural differences.”

CATS has become an icon for cultural enrichment in the foothills. Started more than 15 years ago, the community-based nonprofit is known for its theater, cultural events and workshops on Asian-based themes.

The group’s past productions have included Flower Drum Song, Rashomon, The Joy Luck Club and Snow Falling on Cedars. The latter won an Elly award last year for “best overall production in a drama” in the Sacramento region by SARTA, the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre.

Collaborators Sierra Stages and InConcert Sierra also are well established performing arts groups in the region. The play’s musical director is Ken Hardin of InConcert Sierra, and the assistant musical director is Ken Getz of Sierra Stages.

The play is based on the book, Anna and the King of Siam, by Margaret Landon. It is based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, the English widow who was hired in 1862 by the King of Siam to tutor his children.

The play is a marvelous production for children — both in the audience and in the cast. Some children from Asian countries who have been adopted by American families will appear in the cast.

Jared Lee, a professional actor, will play the King, as he has in three previous productions. Grace Fae, a familiar face in recent local productions, will play the role of Anna.

Leslie Ann Rivers will make her debut for CATS as director. The choreographer is George Jayne of the Sierra Dance Institute.

Online tickets are available starting in February at BrownPaperTickets.com. They also may be purchased at BriarPatch Market and the Book Seller in Grass Valley and at Gold Mountain and the Nevada City Postal Company in Nevada City.

CATS, 228 Commercial Street, #88, Nevada City, (530) 273-6362 CatsWeb.org

(photo credit: Rich Miller)

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