GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I" is a Broadway classic that brings two very different worlds together.
Gulfport Little Theatre is presenting its production of this moving story. The setting for the story is the early 1860s in Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand). English widow Anna, played by Juliana Lewis, has set sail for an adventure of a lifetime after being hired to teach the King of Siam's children.
It's a role of a lifetime for Juliana.
"She's a very strong woman and she's inspiring to me," said Lewis.
The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world, and believes western education for his own children is a good place to start. Tony Brown plays the king.
"He's trying to enlighten the country of Siam by embracing western ways of educating; bringing the country a more worldly view of things; and not just eastern culture," said Brown.
As the two characters struggle to find to find common ground, a simple dance helps brings them closer.
It's a special time on stage for Juliana, whose own four children are sharing the stage with her in the production.
"I feel like I have a lot in common with Anna. She's a mother, I'm a mother. She's a teacher and I'm a teacher. I home school my own four kids, and sharing this with them is very special."
The King and I runs June 24, 25 and 26 at Gulfport Little Theatre. Director Bonnie Hoeg says those who bring a canned good to help fill the Salvation Army's food bank will get a free popcorn.