Express & Star

Call The Midwife’s Helen George to star in new UK tour of The King And I in 2023

The actress will portray Anna Leonowens in the new run which will travel across 14 theatres in the UK.

Helen George

Call The Midwife’s Helen George is set to star in a new UK tour of the acclaimed musical The King and I next year.

Set in 1860s Bangkok, the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tells the story of the unconventional relationship which develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

George, who is best known for playing Trixie Franklin on the BBC drama, will portray Leonowens in the new run which will play at 14 theatres in the UK so far.

The touring production will be brought to the stage by a team led by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher and will feature a company of more than 50 performers and a full-scale orchestra.

On joining the forthcoming production, George said: “Theatre is my first love, and I am so excited to be returning to the stage for this beautiful, majestic production of The King and I.

“I was blown away when I saw Bartlett Sher’s staging of this wonderful show, so I can’t wait to work with him and the rest of the creative team to bring this timeless story back to the stage next year.

“Anna is such a strong, passionate and determined character, and I’m going to relish bringing her to life every night, as well as giving audiences all over the UK the chance to see this peerless Broadway and West End musical right on their doorstep.”

Having trained at the Royal Academy of Music and the Birmingham School of Acting, George’s musical theatre credits include Company, Love Never Dies and The Woman In White.

The King and I has previously had a critically acclaimed Broadway run, a strong season at the London Palladium and a successful UK and International tour.

The 2023 UK tour will kick off at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, Kent, on February 4 with performances at venues in cities including London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Glasgow.

Further casting and more UK cities and details of an international tour are due to be announced soon.

The musical is based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which was derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s.

The show first premiered on Broadway in 1951 and has had many productions since.

It was also adapted into a film in 1946 and once again in 1956, which was later nominated for nine Oscars, winning five, and starred Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner.

An animated film version featuring the voice of Miranda Richardson was released in 1999 and another period drama adaptation starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat was also released the same year.

More information can be found at the King And I musical website

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