Kids' Commute: The King and I - A Puzzlement

May 12, 2015

Learn about the musical, "The King and I" this week on Kids' Commute!

This weekend, Interlochen Arts Academy is putting on the musical, The King and I

To celebrate, Kate Botello is walking us through five of her favorite parts of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show, on Kids’ Commute.

The King and I, is based on the 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siam, by Margaret Landon.  Turns out that novel was based on the diaries of a lady named Anna Leonowens, who was a schoolteacher from England in the early 1860’s. Anna was hired by King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) to teach scientific, and modern knowledge to his many royal children.


Today, we are going to meet King Mongkut of Siam! The king was played by Yul Brynner, who created the role on Broadway and also played the role in the movie.

Now, imagine for a moment you are King Mongkut. You are the most powerful person in your entire country. Anytime people see you, they bow down with their faces to the ground. And since you are the smartest person in the country, no one ever disagrees with you or tells you that you are wrong. And so when you meet this Anna character, you aren’t sure what to do, because you aren’t used to being told anything. It might be a little confusing, and cause you to wonder what to believe, right?! Well, now you can imagine the what King Mongkut of Siam felt like.

Despite his confusion and puzzlement, King Mongkut decides he’s going to do his very best to just soldier on. 

Do you think it’s best to soldier on when you are confused and puzzled?

Music piece for today:
A Puzzlement by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, performed by Yul Brynner

Here’s a video clip of Yul Brynner singing A Puzzlement

Listen to the Kids’ Commute live on Classical IPR every weekday morning at 7:40am or listen to the archived episode at the top of the post.