Top 10 fun facts about The King and I

Posted on 11 March 2020

Are you a big West End theatre buff? Think you know everything there is to know about The King and I? Well, there's no better time than now to brush up on you King and I knowledge as the fifth musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II returns to the London stage this May! Put your skills to the test and read our list for the Top 10 Facts About The King and I below! You may be surprised by what you find...

Do you know these ten show-stopping facts about The King and I?

  1. The King and I musical is based on the fictional novel by Margaret Landon and loosely based on the real-life memoirs of Anna Leonowens, an Anglo-Indian educator whose publication The English Governess at the Siamese Court chronicled her day-to-day experiences in Siam as a teacher to King Mongkut's children.
  2. The 1956 film was banned in Thailand and remains banned still to this day due to its representation of the King. The 1999 film starring Chow Yun-fat and Jodie Foster was also banned, despite the film crew having consulted with the Royal Family and the government during the movie's production.
  3. In real life, the King of Siam had 19 wives and a total of 82 children.
  4. There's no real evidence of a romantic relationship ever occurring between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens.
  5. The real-life Anna Leonowens was born to a British Army sergeant and her mother who was half-Indian, half-British. Anna faked being fully British in order to land the teaching post in Siam.
  6. The King and I received its world premiere at St. James Theatre on Broadway on 28 March 1951, running for a total of 1,246 performances. It was an instant hit and took home the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress, and Best Featured Actor for Yul Brynner.
  7. Yul Brynner played the role of the King on Broadway more than 4,600 times.
  8. In the original Broadway production, not only did Gertrude Lawrence have to wear heavy costume gowns weighing up to 75 kilograms, but she also had to dance over 6 kilometres per performance, eight times a week.
  9. Yul Brynner became so associated with the role of the King of Siam that many people wrongfully assume he has an Asian background.
  10. The real King Mongkut of Siam was a multi-lingual scholar, becoming a High Buddhist Priest and speaking Latin, English, and French under the tutelage of western missionaries. He was also an astronomer and mathematician and even established Siam's first printing press for English and Siamese texts. As a priest, he helped reform the Buddhist religion.

Home, Sweet Home: The King and I is back in London for two weeks only this May!

Welcome (back) to Bangkok! Fans of The King and I can now rejoice, as the hit West End musical is returning to London this May, playing a strictly limited two-week run at the New Wimbledon Theatre as part of the show's UK and Ireland tour. It's East meets West London as this timeless classic sets sail for an encore! Rich in history and featuring a breathtaking story, The King and I is sure to capture your heart and imagination.

There's no 'puzzlement' about it, tickets for The King and I are expected to be in high demand. So be sure to book your King and I tickets today to secure the best seats at London's New Wimbledon Theatre whilst stocks last!

Upgrade Offer: The King and I discounted tickets now available until 15 March!

Book your officially verified tickets for the London return of The King and I by 15 March and save on premium seats, valid on all performances! Get £72.50 tickets for just £61, £66.50 tickets for just £55, £60.50 tickets for just £46, and £54.50 tickets for just £43! Hurry, this offer will not last!

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.