Anna (Payton Schenkelberg) squares off with the King (Max Meyers).
Anna (Payton Schenkelberg) squares off with the King (Max Meyers).

April 2, 2019

It’s the 1860s and you’re the King of Siam and you want to modernize your country. But how?

Kuemper Catholic High School will present a story of that puzzlement, “The King and I,” Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, April 3, 4 and 6, at the Carroll Recreation Center theater. All shows will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets — $6 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens — are available at the school and will be sold at the door.

The show’s director, Tim Tracy, says, “The Kuemper cast is looking forward to telling this story of East meeting West for you.”

He describes the story:

“Naturally, the king hires an English school teacher to educate his children and wives about the scientific ways of the Western world — because it is natural. But the teacher, Anna, and the king almost immediately clash on issues of truth, promises, culture, slavery, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

“A clash of cultures. Different vs. wrong. Love and respect. These are all common themes in the musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. ‘The King and I’ is based on the true story of Anna Leonowens, an English schoolteacher who was brought to Siam (now Thailand) in the 1860s. The King of Siam, watching the British colonization of Africa and Asia, wished to know more about Western civilization. This knowledge, he thought, would help him keep up with the times while preserving his kingdom. But with new thinking came new challenges to a king used to getting his way.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein were commissioned to create this musical adaptation as a star vehicle for English actress Gertrude Lawrence on Broadway. Their masterful treatment of this unique story brought memorable songs like 'Getting to Know You,' 'Whistle a Happy Tune,' 'Shall We Dance?' ”

This is the 14th Kuemper musical Tracy has directed. His daughter Erin is assistant director, and this is the seventh Kuemper show on which they’ve worked together. Musical accompanist is Deb Ausburn. Katie Tomaszkiewicz leads the orchestra, made up of musicians from the community. Kuemper senior Sami Hays is the stage manager.

The cast features, in order of appearance:

Captain Orton/Sir Edward Ramsey — Evan Brincks.

Louis Leonowens (Anna’s son) — Braydon Riesberg.

Anna Leonowens — Payton Schenkelberg.

The Kralahome — Caden Pedelty.

The King — Max Meyers.

Lun Tha — Isaac Meyers.

Tuptim — Angela Schulte.

Lady Thiang — Theresa Borkowski.

Prince Chulalongkorn — A.J. Domer.

Royal Wives — Kysa Auen, Chloe Allman, Riley Rotert, Emma Harrington, Brianna Lux, Meg Lally and McKenna Schlichte.

Royal Children — Amy Schulte, Paige Higby (Princess Ying Yaowalak), Katrina Carpenter, Kira Parkis, Aislinn Haefs, Hannah Duncan, Olivia Auen, Dayna Toft and Trinity Vonnahme.

Royal Guard — Blake Baumhover.