When I was in high school, I played percussion in the orchestra for our production of Rodger and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” which permanently installed the “Shall We Dance?” tune inside my head. So when I had the chance to see a revival of the Broadway show on a recent trip to Chicago for BookCon, I jumped at the opportunity.
The sets were opulent, the music was entrancing, and the acting was terrific. Most of us know the scene when Anna dances with the King in a lavish gown. In this production, the actors whipped around the stage while confetti from a previous scene swirled around them, creating a magical, moving effect.
I didn’t remember how impactful the story was from my days of wondering who I would ask to Homecoming. While “The King and I” was entertaining, it also had a powerful message about slavery.
Tuptim, who was forced to become a bride to the King while in a relationship with someone else, discovered “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and decided to mount her own production based on the book for the King of Siam. She not-so-subtly let him know her opinion of his slavery practices and the results were gripping.
“The King and I” was a powerful, funny, romantic story that confronted the evils of slavery. That was exactly what I set out to do in writing my novel, Hooked. While most people think slavery is a thing of the past, human traffickers continue to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in situations around the world.
It was inspiring to experience an outstanding production that took on such an important issue. My hope is that these types of stories help people realize how modern slavery continues to be an important issue and leads people to do something about today.
Have you seen “The King and I?” What did you think?