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Theatre Review: The King and I

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(Nevada City, CA)
Friday, April 1, 2011

With an experienced professional playing the King, and three women with conservatory-trained voices as the female leads, it's hard to call this show "community theater." It isn't as grand as a Music Circus show, but there is marvelous chemistry between handsome Jared Lee, an Equity actor from Elk Grove, and young Grace Fae, a recent graduate of the theater program at Yale.

("Shall We Dance")

The historic Nevada Theatre, a little gem dating from the 1800s, adds to the charm.  Yet despite the venue's intimate size, the stage is still big enough to handle the mob of cute school-age youngsters, who play the King's numerous children.

("Getting to Know You…")

For decades, "The King and I" was usually staged with Anglo actors playing the Asian roles, which strained the show's credibility, and sometimes looked just plain silly. That's what makes this production, using as many ethnically appropriate actors as the company could muster, so refreshing.

The winning chemistry between the leads actors makes this show a winner.  And it's nice to hear them sing in a smaller hall, without  microphones. Colorful costumes, ranging from big hooped Victorian skirts to traditional Siamese garb, will attract your eyes. At three hours, it's a full-length old school musical, but it feels much shorter. This cute little semi-professional production is an experience I'm happy to recommend - but you'll want to reserve tickets, because some performances are already sold out.

Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra presents "The King and I" through Aprdil 16th.

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