Two worlds collide in the Lincoln Center Theater production of this musical, directed by Bartlett Sher. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, The King And I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting to Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. The King and I was the winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, and Best Actress.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Kavin Panmeechao who plays Lun Tha for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you always a performer, even as a kid or when did you get “the bug”?
I performed as a kid in local community theaters. In my teenage years, I quit acting for a while, and then I went to undergrad at UCLA for theater and I have been acting ever since.
What was your first professional/paid gig?
When I was 12 I did a Christian video series called the “Bible Man,” which is kind of like Barney meets the Power Rangers meets the Bible.
Other than this role, what has been your favorite role?
I have 2. I played Chip Tolentino in a national tour of Spelling Bee. I met the actor who plays the “King” in this production of The King and I on that tour. It was comedy, it was fun and it zipped along and was different every night. My other favorite role was Paul in A Chorus Line. It came in a time in my life when I was thinking about what I wanted to be and say as an artist and this role was very informative and good for me professionally and emotionally.
What is your Fantasy role to play?
George in Sunday in the Park with George, because it has always spoken to me as an artist. I understand it and I love it. Every time I see it, I learn something more about both the character and the show, and it allows me to focus on my experiences as an artist.
What should the South Florida audiences expect from this production of The King and I?
You are going to expect all the glorious costumes, beautiful music, and fantastic sets, but you will also come away with a show that’s right for everyone in the family. It’s about 2 different cultures trying to work together and finding common ground. We are really excited to come to Florida and our whole cast has been looking forward to this.
Kravis On Broadway is sponsored by Jim and Judy Harpel and Diann and Thomas Mann. Tickets for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King And I start at $28 and may be purchased at the Kravis Center Box Office located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach, on-line at the Official Kravis Center website kravis.org, or by calling the Box Office at 561-832-7469.
For more information on Kavin, you can visit his Instagram or Twitter pages: /KavinDPan.