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Examiner
  • Truman High presents 'The King and I' this weekend

  • Eric Swanson loves that Truman High School’s production of “The King and I” covers so many different areas from romance and history to even a little bit of action.

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  • Eric Swanson loves that Truman High School’s production of “The King and I” covers so many different areas from romance and history to even a little bit of action.
    “The musical is so diverse that it will fit into anyone’s taste,” said the junior, who is playing Lun Tha. “It really is a musical for all ages. It show a story, and the audience will enjoy that.”
    “The King and I” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II is based on the 1944 novel “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon. It is the true story of Anna Leonowens, who became the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. She is hired in the King’s desire to modernize his country and ends up developing a much deeper relationship with the ruler.
    “The King and I” is at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at Truman High School. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Admission is $6 in advance and $7 at the door.
    Director Ron Meyers chose the classic musical because he wanted to do something more serious this fall.
    “’The King and I’ is more classical than anything the students have done, and it is based on an historical event,” he said. “We also haven’t done Rodgers and Hammerstein in a long time, and I don’t think you get much better than Rodgers and Hammerstein.”
    Senior Michael Cohen plays The King of Siam, a very inquisitive, but overbearing leader who is struggling to modernize his country while holding true to Siam’s traditions.
    “He yearns for knowledge and wants to become a strong leader. But his strong traditions and beliefs create barriers,” he said. “I love the story, so it is easy to connect with the character and understand how he thinks. It is a classic and historical story that asks the question can you change the way a person thinks?”
    Junior Sicily Mathenia plays Tuptim, a gift to the King, who is in love with another man. Mathenia said she loves the strong and feisty nature of the character and hopes that she would act in the same way if she were in Tuptim’s position.
    “She handles it so strong, which makes her a character that I really look up to,” she said. “I love that this is a true story and not as much of a feel good, happy musical. That makes it different than a lot of musicals, something, I think, people will like.”
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