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Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence

The King and I is a musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, which derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. Their relationship is marked by conflict through much of the piece, and a love that neither can admit. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the musical for veteran star Gertrude Lawrence. Rex Harrison, who played the King in the 1946 movie of Landon's book, was unavailable, so Yul Brynner was chosen. The musical premiered in March 1951 at Broadway's St. James Theatre and ran nearly three years. It was an immediate hit, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical and for Best Actress and Best Featured Actor for Lawrence and Brynner (pictured). A hit London run and U.S. national tour followed, together with a 1956 film for which Brynner won an Academy Award. Professional and amateur revivals of The King and I are staged regularly throughout the English-speaking world. (Full article...)

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Œnone is a poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in 1829. Inspired by the the Greek mythological figure Oenone, first wife of Paris of Troy, the poem is a dramatic monologue following the lead-up to the Trojan War and the war itself. This illustration, by William Edward Frank Britten, is accompanied by the lines "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida, / Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die".

Illustration: William Edward Frank Britten; restoration: Adam Cuerden

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