Emmett Hook Center takes on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’

Emmett Hook Center Theatre is taking an ambitious shot at producing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.” The Shreveport theater company set out to produce a story about human relations but were confronted about their own approach to societal issues.

The Tony Award-winning musical is set in Siam in Asia in the early 1860s. The King of Siam hires widowed British schoolteacher Anna to tutor his children and becomes a part of his plan to modernize the country. Anna and the headstrong king’s conflicting views lead to mutual lessons of social understanding, cultural acceptance, and openness. The story also takes a romantic turn as emotions develop between the ruler and governess.

"The King and I" starring Michael Nguyen as The King of Siam and Anna Maria Sparke as Anna. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical will run through July 18 at Emmett Hook Center in downtown Shreveport.

Emmett Hook Center prepared to present “The King and I” after it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Joe Todaro, stage director of “The King and I,” and producer Will Andress said they met with people who were reluctant or refused to be a part of the show that may come off as offensive if not done properly. The voiced concerns were that the local production may cross into cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and whitewashing of the cast. Todaro and Andress heeded the public’s feedback before forging on.

Previous post Pride Month Held Some Valuable Lessons for Country Music’s LGBTQ+ Community
Next post Boohoo partners with Kuwait’s Alshaya to grow Debenhams in Middle East