Getting to know Kelli O’Hara has hardly been the problem for Broadway — but getting her a Tony Award is another matter. Five times a nominee — most recently for The Bridges Of Madison County — but never a winner, O’Hara will get another shot next spring when she stars as “I” in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, The King And I.
In the title role created (and oft-reprised) by Yul Brynner, Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) will make his American stage and Broadway debut as the stubborn ruler torn between custom and a desire to join the modern world, challenged by the arrival of the widowed British schoolmarm imported to teach his platoon of children.
The show — most recently Broadway revived in 1996 with Tony winner Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Phillips, electrifying in the title roles — will begin previews March 12, 2015, and open April 16 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Director is Bartlett Sher, who teamed with O’Hara on Bridges as well as LCT’s smashing revival of South Pacific. Choreographer Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) handles the musical staging, including the original Jerome Robbins dances. Michael Yeargan and Catherine Zuber will design the sets and costumes.