Lincoln Center Theater's 'The King and I' Was the Best I've Seen

My daughter, Mary, and I have seen every major production of our favorite musical, The King and I, since she was six. Almost 30 years now. We have seen the movie hundreds of times, seen if off and on Broadway, to cuttings at symphonic programs. If it is done, we go — although I have drawn the line at high school performances unless I am related to one of the actors. :)

Last night, Mary gave me an early Christmas gift of two tickets to see the Lincoln Center Theater road version of The King and I. So I took my "best girl" to dinner, donned my black tie — which she has insisted on since our first father-daughter date to see The King and I on Broadway.com with Lou Diamond Phillips. Usually, I have lower expectations for tours that run after Broadway, as they sometimes seem to be using the same casting director as the Ice Capades. The sets being trucked from city to city are usually not as grand or exciting. It is understandable as a roadshow is a rough life.

All of this to say — last night, I was treated to the best production of The King and I in my lifetime.

First, the acting: I thought it would be impossible to beat the performance of Debra Kerr and Yul Brynner. Those performances are iconic and I have always felt badly for those who later took on the roles as no matter how good you are, you will never be Kerr or Brynner.

The role of Anna was taken on by Laura Michelle Kelly who has played this role on the stage at Lincoln Center. She is perhaps best known for her work in London. America will fall in love with her and her version of Anna. She hit every mark that Debra Kerr hit, and from where I was sitting, she even looked like Kerr, but that is not enough to receive this rave. She had all the grace, elegance and talent of Kerr, but also managed to make this her own. Her version of "Shall We Dance" was more beautiful, fun, touching and had more sexual tension than the classic film. Her voice, acting, slight comedic hat tip and phrasing was as if the role had never been played before and had indeed been written for her.

The King, played by Jose Llana is a role I would not wish on my worst enemy. It is a battle lost before the curtain rises. You will never be THE KING that Yul plays still on the stages of the eternities. Llana at first, I thought, was too weak to play the king, but I quickly realized this came from the fact that I had only seen people imitating the 1956 king. Once I stopped expecting an impersonator, I saw a new king — Jose Llana had made the role his as well. This is not easy. His subtle choices made him a more accessible King and one for a new age. Brave, and well done.

I could go on and say the same for almost every cast member; the young prince; Tuptim; her lover; the "Head Wife"; and the children.

The "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" scene was not only more beautiful than the movie or any production I have seen, but it was more beautifully staged and emotionally powerful than I could have ever imagined.

Everything was in its rightful place. The lavish costumes were so spot on they brought me back to my time in Bangkok earlier this year. The first costume for Tuptim was so simple and pure it almost made her look angelic. Couple that with her performance and you could almost see the ethereal rays of light.

Rarely does one need to recognize the lighting design, but from the tricks of light from the opening curtain and first sunset, it was almost a dance between the lighting designer and the set designer. Shall we dance? Yes, they will and they did. Notice the lack of a spot on the palace pillars as the king walks around them.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise in seeing that it was directed by Bartlett Sher. I spoke with him after the performance to congratulate him on what I believe is...

The King of The King and I productions.

My grandfather was a horse man and he always told me every Kentucky Derby that you don’t bet on the horse, you bet on the trainer and jockey. How appropriate here. This is a good horse that has been ridden by many talented riders, but the trainer and jockey this time have given the stage a triple crown.

See it when it comes to your town.

On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.