La Bamba star Lou Diamond Phillips is the new King in the Australian production of The King and I, now playing in Melbourne.
Lou jetted into Melbourne on Saturday morning for his first job in the massive photo op for the cast of The King and I, Wicked, Les Miserables and The Rocky Horror Show on the steps of Parliament House.
Phillips played the King in the Broadway production in New York for 550 performances from 1996. “I am honored to once again inhabit the role of The King,” he said in a statement. “Since receiving the mantel from Mr Brynner, I have great passion and respect for the role and am especially excited to bring my interpretation to a new continent.”
Phillips replaces Jason Scott Lee who had to withdraw from the production because of a torn calf muscle.
“I’m thrilled that Lou has a gap in his schedule which enables him to make his Australian stage debut for the Melbourne season of The King and I,” he said in a statement. “Jason made a wonderful King and we are very sorry that his injury means he can’t continue,” said Lyndon Terracini. John Frost concurred, saying, “It provides a unique opportunity for Melbourne audiences to witness the wonderful Lou Diamond Phillips, who was so extraordinary in the role on Broadway. It is so rare for a Tony nominated star to come to Australia to recreate their performance.”
Lou Diamond Phillips rose to fame playing Richie Valens in the 1987 movie ‘La Bamba’. His other movie roles include ‘Stand and Deliver’, ‘Courage Under Fire’ and ‘Che’.
Phillips will star opposite Lisa McCune in The King And I until August 31. His first show is July 10.
The King And I is currently playing at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.