Love Story, Et Cetera Unfolds in ‘The King and I’ at River Campus


KingAndI-final-small croppedCAPE GIRARDEAU, MISSOURI., Feb. 9, 2015 – Star-crossed, cross-cultural love is at the heart of “The King and I” being performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, 26 and 28, at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

It’s 1862 in exotic Siam when an English widow, Anna Leonowens, and her young son arrive at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, having been summoned by the King to serve as a tutor to his many wives and children. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Leonowens and the King grow to understand and respect one another in a truly unique love story in the grand style of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The King wants to introduce his family to Western ways in the face of England expanding its empire, and hires a British schoolteacher to do so.

“The King and I” was the fifth musical collaboration by the famous musical theatre writing team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, colloquially referred to as Rodgers and Hammerstein. During its lengthy run throughout the decades, the play has received more than a dozen Tony Awards.

The Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to bring back Dennis Courtney, the prolific award winning director/choreographer and audition coach from New York City, to direct “The King and I.”

“Dennis’ work as a director is simply outstanding,” said Kenneth L. Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “His shows are always magical, and this musical in particular will provide an extraordinary and unforgettable evening of entertainment for people of all ages.”

The show also features performances by a host of talented children from the Cape Girardeau region.

“You really don’t want to miss this one. It’s going to be a glorious event,” Stilson said.

Themes the play addresses include cultural issues, transitions, respect, love and cooperation.

The play is based on “Anna and the King of Siam,” a 1944 novel by Margaret Landon. Landon based the novel on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who traveled to Siam in the 1800s to serve as a schoolteacher for the King of Siam.


Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at