Jay Españo in third "The King and I" production for 2011

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Filipino actor Jay Españo in third "The King and I" for 2011

Filipino actor Jay Españo is in his third production of "The King and I" for 2011.  He reprises his role as King of Siam and marks his Canadian debut in Sault Symphony Orchestra's production at the Kiwanis Community Theatre Stage Dec 7 to 11, 2011.

In April he was in Chicago for The Drama Group's production (read about it here) and in October he was in Pheonix, Arizona for The Peoria Center for  Performing Arts's production (read about it here.)  Españo had already actually started rehearsing for the Canadian production when he left for three weeks to perform in the Arizona production.

While this may be his third time to portray the same role, Españo says, "Different directors have different visions and interpretations of the text. I actually enjoy that because that's where my work as an actor comes in."

"There is the symbiosis of ideas of how the show should be be. I like giving my thoughts and I very much enjoy working with directors who are open to the actors' input, especially for material like 'The King and I' since I'm Asian and I've lived in Bangkok and worked there, so I'm familiar with the culture."

"And having different actors to perform with, epecailly the Mrs. Annas, gives a different dynamism to my character for every production."

This nine-time Tony Award winning musical has been performed many times since its Broadway debut in 1951. The film version won five Academy Awards.

Meryle Secrest (Rodgers' biographer) summed up the musical as “a celebration of love in all its guises, from the love of Anna for her dead husband; the love of the King's official wife, Lady Thiang, for a man she knows is flawed and also unfaithful; the desperation of forbidden love; and a love that is barely recognized and can never be acted upon.”

Españo has returned to Sault Ste. Marie City in Ontario to rehearse for the show and has also been leading classes in Musical Theatre with hundreds of students aged 5-55. He has visited numerous elementary and high schools, as well as hosting public workshops at Studio Dance Arts in conjunction with Li’l Buds Theatre Company from Chicago.

More than 35 dancers from Studio Dance Arts will be performing in the musical's ballet “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.”

Tickets are available at the Station Mall Box Office. Contact (705) 945-7299 or visit www.kctc.ca.

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