HCT will present “The King and I” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
Reserved seating tickets are available at www.hctks.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger.
Costumes for the Hays Community Theater’s presentation this week of “The King and I” have been in the works for more than a year, but the production got a boost and new community involvement through a local business owner.
“We started costumes last July. This summer, I, myself, have made more than 20 harem pants,” director Pamela Grizzell said.
Almost all the costumes have been hand-made for the Victorian-era story set in Bangkok, Thailand, the capital of what was then known as Siam.
The Rogers and Hammersterstein musical tells the story of the King of Siam, played by Travis Grizzell, who, wishing to modernize his country, summons an English widow, Anna Leonowens, played by Anita Walters, to tutor his wives and children. The king and Anna’s ways often conflict, but they earn each other’s respect.
“This is a period piece with such drastic difference in culture,” Travis Grizzell said. “Even out in western Kansas you tend to have a few antique Victorian things around, but there’s not a lot of Siamese stuff in the way of costumes and props.”
The husband and wife team turned to Jasmine Thangsuwan, owner of Indigo by Jasmine, a boutique and bubble tea shop at 118 W. Eighth. Thangsuwan, a native of Thailand, returns to her home country each each year in the summer to visit family..
“I asked her to join the project to consult us on giving the feel of authentic Thai clothing,” Pamela said. “She gave me some samples to copy, and when she went to Thailand she brought back gorgeous gowns for Lady Thiang and Tuptim. She brought back all kinds of treasures for us.”
Thangsuwan said she was happy to help and bring something from her homeland to Hays. She said what the HCT crew had put together was good, but needed a touch that was specific to Thailand’s style.
She met with the Grizzells before her trip to get an idea of what the theater company already had and what they needed.
For Anna, she chose a conservative gown, but for Tuptim, one of the young lovers in the story played by Katy Walters, she chose something different.
“It’s kind of romantic. I got her a very pretty Thai style,” Thangsuwan said.
“What I got is what people would wear over there. I am excited to see her,” Thangsuwan said.
“It’s wonderful when you bring in people form the community that maybe you wouldn’t think about,” Pamela said.