Here Comes The King

The set is built and up on stage, the music is perfected, and the actors have everything memorized down to a T for this weekend’s performance of The King and I.

The classic musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein will be at the Marion Civic Center Friday, April 19 through Saturday, April 20 starting at 7:30 both nights. The Marion Junior High School choir is excited to showcase their months of practice in this “dramatic, uplighting tale of enormous fascination.”

“We haven’t done the junior version of The King and I, and we thought he had the talent for it,” said Elizabeth Shore, director of the play.

Shore said the play has been in motion since February when she and assistant director,  Erica Hatchett, held auditions.

“We had about forty students audition for the leading parts which is a good turn out,” she said. “All the kids in the show are in concert choir, and they only had to audition for main characters or speaking parts.”

Hannah Long, an 8th grader playing the role of Butri, said the audition process was not too difficult.

“I had to memorize about a page of lines and then auditioned with a partner. I’ve been in plays before, like The Music Man, so I am familiar with how the process works,” she said.

Shore said the cast started practicing three days a week for an hour.

“The kids start by learning the stage movements and memorizing the lines. We basically just go one scene at a time,” she said.

Shore said as the opening date crept closer, practices became longer and more detailed.

“We started practicing five days a week in April for two hours a day. The week of the show, we go until 6:00 p.m. everyday,” she said. ”The whole process is very long but rewarding.”

The King and I is an intricate play that requires an ornate and elaborate set design and costumes to tell the story of a Bangkok king and a British tutor. Luckily, both the set and costumes were easy to obtain.

“It was a cumulative effort between John A. Logan, SIU, our own school costume stock, and the parents making costumes too,” Shore said.

The set design came from Marion High School’s 2005 production of The King and I, which Shore directed as well.

“We still had some of that set left so that we didn’t have to completely rebuild. We rented the backdrop from Evansville,” she said.

Long, along with her other cast members, are eager to finally perform after months of dedication and practice.

“I’m very excited to perform this weekend because we have such a great cast! It is also my last junior high show,” she said.

Come out and see the unique production this weekend at the Marion Civic Center. Tickets are $8 and are available at the civic center box office or online at www.marionccc.com.