Article 127

HOT king

Richard Chamberlain

This year, the industrious Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) tackles Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I starring Richard Chamberlain (Shogun, The Thorn Birds), Broadway veteran Jan Maxwell and Hawai‘i idol Jordan Segundo.

The question on some minds may be how does Chamberlain’s 72-year-old bare chest measure up to the smoldering Yul Brynner’s? According to Kevin Yamada who plays both the interpreter and Phra Alak, the mini-series-turned-Siam-king hasn’t shed his shirt at rehearsal yet.

“Not in my presence anyway,” Yamada says. But, he adds, “He’s a very warm and gracious man in addition to being a wonderful actor. You can see it in his eyes. And he’s got a great sense of humor.” We’ll take grace and wit over 20-year-old pecs.

Martin Rabbett, who directed the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady - also starring Chamberlain - helms the production. Members of the Honolulu Symphony make up the 30-piece orchestra, conducted by guest artist Michael Ching from Opera Memphis.

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