EXCLUSIVE: Just a day after the announcement of a new Broadway revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The King And I comes word that the title star of the Tony-winning 1996 revival, Lou Diamond Phillips, is stepping in to reprise his performance in an Australia tour of the lavish Christopher Renshaw production mounted by producer John Frost, who also presented the earlier revival.
Phillips was Tony-nominated for his work as the stubborn King, originated by Yul Brynner, torn between the demands of tradition and a desire to enter the modern world, and challenged by the forthright teacher he’s imported to educate his brood. He replaces Jason Scott Lee, who I’m told tore a calf muscle during the run in Melbourne.
“It provides a unique opportunity for Melbourne audiences to witness the wonderful Lou Diamond Phillips, who was so extraordinary in the role on Broadway,” Frost says.
Phillips (La Bamba, Stand and Deliver) just finished his third season of A&E’s Longmire and stars opposite Antonio Banderas and Juliet Binoche in the upcoming film The 33, based on the true story of the Chilean miners produced by Phoenix Pictures. On Broadway, he played the King for over 550 performances, opposite the “I” of Tony winner Donna Murphy. In the new production his Anna is Lisa McCune. His first performance is set for July 10 at and ill run through August 31 at the Princess Theatre.
“I am honored to once again inhabit the role of The King,” Phillips says. “After receiving the mantel from Mr. Brynner, I have great passion and responsibility for the role and am especially excited to bring my interpretation to a new continent.”
Phillips is represented by Thruline Entertainment and Global Artists Agency.