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Fox Theatre presents classic musical, 'The King and I'

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Photo: Theater of the Stars The Fox Theatre presents "The King and I" Wednesday through Sept. 11.

If you go

• What: “The King and I”

• When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sept. 7, 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 8, 1:30 and 7 p.m. Sept. 9, 8 p.m. Sept. 11

• Where: Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta

• Cost: $34 to $71.60

• For more information: Visit www.foxtheatre.org

ATLANTA -- Follow on the journey into 1860s Siam -- now present-day Thailand -- as British widow Anna Leonowens travels to the foreign land to teach the country's royal children in Roger and Hammerstein's classic musical "The King and I" at the Fox Theatre. Wednesday is the play's opening night.

In this rendition, Victoria Mallory plays the role of the leading lady, Anna, but it isn't her first encounter with the show.

"I must've seen the movie as a child many times," she said. "I auditioned and I was cast (in a stage performance) when I was a girl ... and it was the most magical experience. It really is an amazing show -- so moving, so funny and deep, and of course the script is fantastic, the score is gorgeous. I was very honored to be in the show.

"It's always held such a special place in my heart because (I have) so many roots there."

Many years later, she's returned as Anna.

During the story, Anna teaches the children academics while she learns about a new culture and how to act around the King of Siam, who is a tenacious ruler that reigns with a iron fist. Anna and her son, Louis, live within the palace walls with the King, his children and his many wives. Everyone has to learn how to live together despite their differences.

"These characters, they are different, but they have many similarities in that they don't sit back and let life happen," Mallory said about the King and Anna. "They strive to learn new things, try to understand things they don't understand and really live life. ... Sometimes you have to pretend you're brave even when you're really not."

"The King and I" premiered on Broadway in 1951, became a movie in 1956 and has seen several revival tours. Throughout the past 60 years, the story has always stayed a classic because people can still relate to the message, according to Mallory.

"I think that when you see a show like this, you feel that you had been taken on a wonderful exploration, witnessed this story unfolding for you because it draws you in," she said. "This woman goes to a new land and new culture and adapts. You don't go through life without going forward and taking a new direction never been before. We are constantly being challenged and moving forward in our lives."

The musical runs through Sept. 11.