The king and i book
Anna and the King of Siam
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The U. Foreign Service has attracted some very talented people over the years and many of those are the spouses of Foreign Service Officers. Julia Child is one notable example. A lesser known example is Margaret Landon, whose book on a heretofore obscure Siamese king would -- against all odds -- become a smash movie and a beloved musical. Her spouse, Ken, joined the State Department in , after they served as missionaries in Thailand.
Anna and the King is a semi- fictionalized biographical novel by Margaret Landon. In the early s, Anna Leonowens , a widow with two young children, was invited to Siam now Thailand by King Mongkut Rama IV , who wanted her to teach his children and wives the English language and introduce them to British customs. Her experiences during the five years she spent in the country served as the basis for two memoirs , The English Governess at the Siamese Court and Romance of the Harem Landon took Leonowens' first-person narratives and enhanced them with details about the Siamese people and their culture culled from other sources. The book has been translated into dozens of languages  and has inspired at least six adaptations into various dramatic mediums:. At the time of its publication, The New York Times called it "an inviting escape into an unfamiliar, exotic past. The minute adaptation starred Deborah Kerr.
It is based on Margaret Landon 's novel, Anna and the King of Siam , which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens , governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, , at Broadway 's St. James Theatre. It ran for nearly three years, making it the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history at the time, and has had many tours and revivals.