Photo: Paul Kolnik
And then, the teacher kills him by calling him a barbarian and making him look weak by stopping him from whipping a wayward wife--and in front of other people!
In the production of The King and I at Lincoln Center, Kelli O'Hara (lovely but not all that interesting as Anna) and Ken Watanabe (chewing the exquisite scenery as the king) lack the charm and chemistry to distract from the show's weak points. It doesn't help that Ashley Park as Tuptim and Conrad Ricamora as Lun Tha are more interested in the sounds of their own voices than each other. Nor does it help that Bartlett Sher blocks the show with constant and distracting movement. I respect that Sher is (I assume) trying to make sure that everyone in the difficult Beaumont Theatre has a chance to see what is going on, but the show starts to look busy for busy-ness' sake. In particular, the King and Anna circle each other like boxers in the ring, which is effective up to a point but becomes annoying.
The show doesn't lack strengths. O'Hara's singing is often wonderful, and "Getting to Know You" is a pleasure. Ruthie Ann Miles is a formidable and excellent Lady Thiang. And the show is gorgeous to look at, from the second you set foot in the theatre. The sets, designed by Michael Yeargan, are downright scrumptious.
(third row, to audience left of center, member ticket)