Foremost, on the Glendale stage, it is delightful to hear such attention
to detail and overall vocal expertise from the various leads. Only a few
intermittant technical problems with a body microphone marred the musical
aspects of the production.
Returning to the title roles from GCT's 1993 production, Charlotte
Carpenter and Tim Dietlein seem to have slipped on the gloves, as it
were, with ease. The chemistry between Anna and the king must travel the
path from stubborn resistance through patient instruction to respectful
Carpenter captures the essential mix of Anna's concern for her charges
and the strength she must display before the King with near-perfect
Dietlein's king moves through his paces, at times capturing the
essence of a leader attempting to change with the world, but his overall
character arc carries with it a feeling of self-monitoring, which
inevitably weakens his more dramatic work. This could be attributed to
his having served as not only star but as the show's director and
Working in an arena requires a director to be able to see the show
from all four sides to determine staging, etc., making for an even more
challenging assignment when one is onstage for 90% of the show. This
resulted at times in sections of the audience staring at cast members'
backs as well as ceaseless, unjustified movement in scenes between only a
few cast members.
As the king's first wife, Lady Thiang (Christy Cook) provides a sense
of compassion where another actress might have chosen the easier route of
begruding acceptance toward Anna. Her crystal-clear rendition of
"Something Wonderful" is just that.
Mario Di Gregorio reappears in the role of the king's lead advisor,
the Kralahome, with mixed results. Although his is a wisely suspicious
protector, Di Gregorio's wonderfully dry delivery is at times clouded by
an accent that sounds strangely Russian.
Samantha Friedman and Manuel Tuason bring urgency, devotion and
angelic harmonizing to the often glossed-over subplot of the star-crossed
lovers, Tuptim and Lun Tha.