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August 2, 2012

REVIEW: Maple Avenue Dinner Theatre shines in ‘The King and I’

TERRE HAUTE — The classic Rogers & Hammerstein musical “The King and I” has its best production yet in Terre Haute by The Maple Avenue Dinner Theatre Players.

The lush costuming and stage production is eclipsed by the booming lyric soprano voice of Wendy Kos as Anna. Her renditions of the signature tunes, “Hello Young Lovers,” “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance” are alone worth the price of the ticket. But not to be overlooked is Doug Short’s performance as The King, bringing the role to the audience like the seasoned professional he has become over the last 20 years on the local stage.

The two mesh seamlessly on stage in the Maple Avenue United Methodist Dinner Theatre’s intimate setting. With stage direction by Cozette Miller and musical direction by Dan Rodriguez, this production is flawless, even considering a live pit orchestra and what looks like a cast of thousands. But they have worked together before, producing other outstanding shows, “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

The “Small House of Uncle Thomas” scene is superbly done, choreographed by Trisha Sullivan. The “Shall We Dance” scene brought audience members to their feet with overwhelming applause. There were no dry eyes in the house when The King dies and Anna agrees to stay in Siam.

Bringing back the musical theater to the Terre Haute stage has been one of the driving forces for the MAUMC Dinner Theatre Players for the last six years. They do this all with local talent, the hard work of the people in the congregation, and the experience shows in this production. The costuming is extensive and detailed, as are the sets. They engulf the audience in a total “Siam Experience.” If you have never seen one of their productions, this is one not to be missed.

With three more shows this weekend some tickets are still available. Dinner, featuring chicken breast by Baeslers, salad, drinks and dessert, and the show are at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $25 per person. Also, a matinee is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday with tickets $15 and concessions available.

Call (812) 232-7263 for tickets.

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