Mark A. Philbrick, SCERA
Lara Johnson is Anna Leonowens and Gordy Villarini is the king of Siam in SCERA's delightful production of "The King and I."
THE KING AND I, SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater, Orem, through June 21 (225-2569); running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (one intermission)

OREM — Outdoor theater in June is a rite of summer. However, due to an interesting weather pattern, Saturday's performance of "The King and I" at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater was only for the strong of heart.

So, with hooded jackets, blankets and gloves in tow, folks entered to see the show.

Was it worth it? You bet.

The cast, led by Gordy Villarini as the king of Siam and Lara Johnson as Anna Leonowens, was magnificent, right down to little 2-year-old Brea Hegsted, who clapped her hands and bowed for the king right on cue.

"The King and I" is one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most loved and recognized musicals. Familiar songs include "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Hello, Young Lovers," "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance?"

While most folks are familiar with the movie version starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, the stage production offers a few surprises, including a song called "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You," sung by Leonowens.

Directed by Kathryn and Howard Little, the cast of more than 70 takes control of the stage from the get-go. All of the lead voices are strong, particularly Johnson's. Erin Lee (Tuptim) and Melissa Brinkerhoff (Lade Thiang) are beautiful vocalists. Villarini takes on the king with strength and well-timed humor.

The costumes are colorful, and while some may not be quite the style of the day, they were a great addition to the overall show. The sets were amazing and easily changed to produce the various rooms of the palace.

Check out this SCERA production. But make sure you check the weather report first and dress accordingly.


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