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Random Lake Community Theatre founders Ryan Klug, Andy Ritger and Victor Schueller returned in 1997 to present the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical, The King and I. Unlike The Wizard of Oz, they had a new challenge as Klug explained: "We first had to answer the question, 'What is The King and I about?'"
This time Klug served as the artistic director and co-choreographer, Ritger as the technical director, and Schueller directed the 20-member pit orchestra. The music director was Shelly Knier. Choreography was handled by Sara Wolfert and Klug.
The King and I tells the story of King Mongkut of Siam, who invited Welsh teacher Anna Leonowens to instruct his many children in the early 1860's. The clash of these strong-willed characters and cultures becomes a love story on many levels.
As Schueller said in his director's notes, "I did learn that it is harder to repeat success than to achieve it in the first place. This year our challenge was to keep up with the reputation we have gained for ourselves, as well as to build it in the process."
Nick Bowling returned to play the role of the The King, while Sara Stout made her summer debut as Anna Leonowens. Troy Rysavy portrayed her son, Louis, while Cheryl Berndt was Lady Thiang. T. J. Mentink played Lun Tha, while Sara Zimmermann was Tuptim. This large cast had 10 royal wives, 41 royal children, and a host of amazons, sailors, rowmen and monks.
The King and I played to four sold out performances that had audiences "Whistling a Happy Tune." And Random Lake Community Theatre could be proud of another successful show.