Dearborn Heights to audition for ‘King and I’

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta


The cast of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” open the show with a rousing cast number. Sydnee Dombroski of Dearborn (fifth from left) is Miss Flannery, and Maura Donovan of Farmington Hills (sixth from left) plays Millie Dillmount. The Players Guild of Dearborn will present the musical weekends through May 23. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. The Guild is at 21730 Madison, south of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive. For tickets, call the hotline at (313) 561-TKTS. For more information, go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

By Sue Suchyta
The Dearborn Heights Civic Theatre will hold auditions for the Rogers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I” from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for child and adult chorus roles, and at 2 p.m. Sunday for dancers and teens interested in the dual casting and mentoring “Rising Stars” program.

Auditions will be held at the Berwyn Center, 26155 Richardson, in Dearborn Heights.
The show will be performed July 30, 31, Aug. 1, 6 to 8, and 13 and 14. Those auditioning should be prepared to sing 16 bars of the song, “Getting to Know You.” Accompaniment will be provided.

Short dance routines will also be taught at the audition. There will be one routine to assess the actor’s basic dancing skills, while a separate audition will be held for experienced dancers. Those auditioning should wear comfortable clothing and shoes they can move in easily.

Those auditioning also may be asked to read a selected passage or scene from the script. Parents may assist children who need help reading from the script.

The “Rising Stars” program will pair teens with adult actors who will mentor them in select double cast roles. The company hopes to provide the teens cast with a learning experience and mentoring opportunity.

The dual cast roles include: The King, Anna, Tuptim, Lun Tha and Lady Thiang. The adults performing the roles as well as serving as mentors have already been cast.

The adult actor mentors will coach the teens in role preparation, including scene study, script marking and line memorization.

They will also explain character preparation, including relaxation techniques, vocal cues and character research, affective memory/method preparation (at the actor’s discretion) and vocal coaching, with proper breathing, diction, phrasing and projection.

Movement coaching, including choreography (where applicable), moving with purpose, stage business and movement discipline will be included.

Artistic expression, personalizing a role, concentration skills, focusing on the role’s objectives and the character’s motivation will also be included.

“The King and I” is set in 1862 in Siam, now known as Thailand. An English widow, Anna Leonowens and her young son arrive at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, having been summoned by the King to serve as tutor to his many children and wives.

The King is largely considered to be a barbarian by those in the West, and he seeks Anna’s assistance in changing his image, if not his ways. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King grow to understand and eventually respect one another, in a truly unique love story.

The Rising Star teen mentoring roles include:

Anna Leonowens (mezzo soprano), a strong-willed English widow and teacher with a 13 year-old son to raise on her own;

Lady Thiang (soprano), the first wife of the King. She loves the King very much and tries to protect him, even though she cannot take direct action.

The King (baritone) is a demanding and chauvinistic dictator who endearingly struggles to understand philosophical European ideas. He desperately wants his kingdom to be seen as “scientific.” Although he is filled with uncertainty and self-doubt, he possesses a commanding stage presence.

Tuptim (soprano) is a present from the Prince of Burma to the King of Siam. She is a strong character with a significant emotional range.

Lun Tha (tenor) is the Emissary from the Prince of Burma who has brought Tuptim to the King of Siam. He has fallen hopelessly in love with Tuptim during their time together.

Children’s role include: Louis Leonowens (age 9 to 13) a soprano, Anna’s son (the role may be cast as a girl – Louise); Prince Chulalongkorn (in his mid-teens) the King’s son; the royal princes (ages 3 to 13) and the royal princesses (ages 3 to 13).

Adult and teen roles include: Captain Orton (30s to 50s), the ship captain (who may double as Sir Edward); Sir Edward Ramsey (30s to 50s) a proper English gentleman who once asked Anna to marry him; and the Kralahome (any age) the King’s stern Prime Minister. His only goal is to protect the King, but he is very committed to the “old ways” and resists change.

The Interpreter (any age) may be performed a teen. The royal wives will be cast from teen girls 14 and older. Likewise, the palace guards will be performed by actors age 14 and older.

The “Small House of Uncle Thomas” dancers, which include Simon Legree, Buddha, George, and Uncle Thomas are male roles, with no formal dance training necessary but the actor must be energetic.

Eliza, Buddha’s Angel is a female role, with some ballet training preferred.

Eva, Topsy, and the ensemble dancers are energetic female roles, with no formal dance training necessary.

Simon’s Soldiers will be cast as male roles, and they must be strong enough to lift a partner.

Simon’s Dogs will be cast with female actresses. Gymnastics and tumbling skills are preferred.

All who are cast in the show will be part of the chorus. Chorus members who do not have solo songs will be given lines, special choreography or blocking so that every actor and actress has an important role in the success of the production.

Those auditioning – children, teens and adults — must be prepared to list ALL potential rehearsal conflicts, including vacations and other activity commitments on their audition form. Rehearsals will run throughout the months of June and July. Rehearsals will be held three nights a week with the possibility of a few Saturdays.

Contact director Kristin Curle at (248) 763-8448 or eponyne17@aol.com; Paul Abbott, the music director, at (313) 779-6220 or abbott02@hotmail.com; or Paul Keifer, choreographer, at (616) 990-4591 or paulkeifer@gmail.com with any show related questions.

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