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The Morton Theatre is situated in downtown Athens, Georgia, in what is known as the “Hot Corner” of the city. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rcameron@randb.com Oct. 2, 2019)

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic “The King and I” will be performed by the Athens Creative Theatre from Nov. 14-17 with tickets starting at $10. 

“Not a lot of theaters tackle such a big piece because doing older shows can be a big task,” said Daniel Self, program leader for Athens Creative Theatre

Self’s task in the production is acting as music director, making sure cast members know their music as well as coordinating the orchestra. For this show, there will be a 23-person orchestra, making it one of the largest the Morton Theatre has had in a long time.

“It’s a really cool snapshot in theater history in how there’s a large-scale show with a large cast and orchestra,” Self said. “It’s like getting a glimpse back into what theater might have been like 70 years ago where it was a much more grandiose thing.”

The show centers around an English school teacher named Anna who comes to teach the children of the King of Siam. It portrays cultural differences in the way Anna and the King have preconceived ideas about how things should run. Despite this power struggle, they learn how to accept each other’s cultures and live harmoniously.

Although the musical was written in 1952, the message it portrays is more relevant than ever, Self said. 

“Today we’re in this cultural atmosphere where we’re all learning how to better understand each other,” Self said. “Whether that be a cultural divide, a generational divide or all kinds of ways that make us different.”

Cast member Kate Templeton said the show holds special meaning to her as well. Templeton plays Tuptim, a concubine of the King of Siam. Templeton spoke on how the show also shares the message of female empowerment in how the King’s outlook on women changes throughout the show.

“By the end [the King of Siam] puts his faith in Anna to educate his children and make sure his kingdom has a good legacy,” Templeton said. 

Terry Powell, executive managing and artistic director, said audiences can look forward to being told a timeless story that is not limited to a place on a map or a certain generation.

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