REHEARSALS are well under way for York Light Opera Company's lavish production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ever-popular musical The King and I next month.

The company is led by stalwart leading man John Hall as the King and Emma Dickinson as governess Anna Leonowens. John is no stranger to the York Theatre Royal stage and was last seen in York Light colours playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound Of Music, while Emma starred as Milly in Seven Bride For Seven Brothers last year.

Other principal roles go to Geoffrey Turner as The Kralahone and Sally Lewis as Lady Thiang, while York Light's talented youth group provides Jack Porter as Prince Chululongkorn and Flynn Coultous and Ruben Lally, who share the role of Louis Leonowens, Anna’s son.

Supporting roles include Richard Hawley as Sir Edward Ramsey; Phillip Jackson, The Captain; Martin Lay, Phra Alach, and Finn East, The Interpreter. The young Princess Ying Yawolak will be another shared role, played by youth group members Jess Parnell and Zoe Blenkiron.

At the helm of next month's production once again is professional director Martyn Knight, assisted by Sue Hawksworth, who has spent many hours putting the cast through its paces and polishing the scenes.

"Possibly my biggest challenge has been the 15-minute ballet The Small House Of Uncle Thomas, which promises to be visually stunning and worth all the hard work," says Sue.

Audiences at York Theatre Royal can expect "colourful scenery, stunning costumes and a musical score to die", featuring such familiar songs as Shall We Dance; Getting To Know You; I Have Dreamed; Something Wonderful; Hello, Young Lovers; I Whistle A Happy Tune; March Of the Siamese Children and We Kiss In The Shadow.

The King And I will run from March 8 to 18 and tickets are available for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday matinees on 01904 623568 or at