‘The King and I’ filled with richness

By Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM – The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) hosted a splendid opening night of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”
The show follows the story of Anna Leonowens’ (Laura Michelle Kelly) evolving relationship with the King of Siam (Jose Llana). Though their personalities clash remarkably, Anna and the King gain a deeper understanding of self and each other.
As audiences entered DPAC, tones of gold, purple and warm orange greeted them and filled the stage with a royal glow; the set itself was intricate, with detailed patterns and figures decorating pillars and panels. Then the actors came on stage and brought the set to life.
  Kelly captured the voice and mannerisms of Anna perfectly. Giving her a gentle spirit with all the fire of a leader, Kelly made Anna an instant friend. In each song, Kelly’s voice blended smoothly with the orchestra, producing gorgeous melodies and captivating notes. Her presence on stage was immediately noticeable and it was a true honor to watch her perform.
Llana brought a combination of strength and humor to the show. The overbearing power of the King did not overshadow his humanity or funny side. Llana had spot-on comedic timing and hilarious facial expressions without diminishing the King’s power. The onstage chemistry between Kelly and Llana was perfect: carefree in one scene, then tense and confrontational in another.
The entire nature of “The King and I” is richness. From the detailed costumes to the classic enchanting tunes, the show will make audiences feel that they themselves have been draped in fine silk and have been seated in the presence of the King.
Ticket prices begin at $40. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. today; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham. For more details, go to dpacnc.com or call 919-680-2787.

Rachel Teseneer is a rising sophomore at North Carolina State University and Teens & 20s writer.

 

 

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