TWO Edinburgh primary school children have been chosen to appear alongside musical theatre stars Annalene Beechey and Jose Llana in the multi-award winning Broadway production of The King & I, when it tours to The Playhouse next month.
One of the greatest musicals of all time, producers came to the Capital last month to offer one lucky local child the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the cast of the critically acclaimed musical - and came away with two.
Originally looking for a boy or a girl aged between 8 and 10 years old to play one of the King’s royal children, they faced a dilemma when sisters Perrie and Nikita Wong auditioned.
UK associate choreographer Emma Woods explains, "Nikita was as cute as a button and I was immediately drawn to her as soon as she started dancing.
"Perrie also really shone for me during The King and I auditions as she carried herself effortlessly and had good range.
"When we suddenly realised that they were siblings we were so torn as we loved them both and couldn’t bear to split them up, so it’s so exciting that both girls will now be joining our cast."
Chosen from the 22 hopefuls who auditioned, the girls, who attend Victoria Primary in Newhaven, will join the cast for the Scottish premiere of the production at the Playhouse in October, which follows a smash hit run on Broadway and record-breaking sold out seasons at the London Palladium and Tokyo’s Theatre Orb.
Perrie, 8, says, “I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m so excited to be joining The King and I, especially with my sister. Making our debuts together on the Playhouse stage with this wonderful cast is beyond our wildest dreams.”
Nikita, 6, adds, “The audition day was so much fun learning the music and the dance steps, I loved it. I’m nervous, but doing it for real on stage with my sister is going to be so cool.”
Father Terence adds, "I am overjoyed and extremely grateful. My daughters will be joining the world class cast of the critically acclaimed musical The King and I. I look forward to watching them on stage."
And mother, Winney, reveals, "When my girls found out they would be joining The King and I, their faces were beaming and they cried out joyfully, 'Wow! This is amazing!' Indeed, this is incredible."
Arguably the greatest musical from the golden age of musicals, The King & I boasts one of the finest scores ever written including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance, and features a company of more than 50 world-class performers and a full-scale orchestra.
The King and I, Playhouse, Greenside Place, £19.50-£110, 17-26 October, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £19.50-£110, www.kingandimusical.co.uk