The King and I Musical, London Palladium Theatre.
The King and I musical is the fifth production by the team ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’ made up of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical first aired on Broadway in 1951 and was subsequently made into a film starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in 1956. In 1979 Yul Brynner reprised his role opposite Virginia McKenna for a popular run in the West End, London.
The story of the musical is based on the 1944 novel ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ by Margaret Landon. The novel itself derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens who was governess to King Mongkut of Siam’s children, in the early 1860’s.
Humphries Weaving created pure silk duchess satin in mushroom for actress Virginia McKenna’s Ball gown in the King and I musical West End run. It is a role for which Virginia McKenna won a Laurence Olivier Award for ‘best actress in a musical’ in 1979. Duchess satin is popular for its drape and sheen, both of which were bought to life on stage.
It was widely said that the ball gown acted as an inspiration for Princess Diana’s famous wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.