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.

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.