The King and I Criticism

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Expectations were high for the latest production by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein when The King and I opened at the St. James Theater in New York City in 1951. It earned mostly favorable reviews, with only a few being less than enthusiastic. The lavish sets by Jo Mielziner and costumes by Irene Sharaff created a glamorous backdrop; As David Ewen quoted an admirer in New Complete Book of American Musical Theater, the work represented "a flowering of all the arts of the theater with moments that are pure genius."

However, some critics found fault with the boyscout-ish seriousness of the play, especially its melodramatic ending The New Yorker reviewer John Lardner liked the exotic touches, but found the play "a little too unremittingly wholesome" and the lyrics too "corny." Lardner disliked the "touch of Walt Disney in all the recent Rodgers and Hammerstein...

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This section contains 941 words
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Buy The King and I Study Guide
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