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Lou Diamond Phillips reprises role for The King & I in Australia

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Jul 01, 2014 | 12:23pm EDT

La Bamba star Lou Diamond Phillips is to make his Australian stage debut in the royal role that helped launch his theatre career almost 20 years ago. The actor will replace Jason Scott Lee in the Melbourne production of The King & I. A torn calf muscle has forced Lee to withdraw from the show. Reports suggest Phillips flew in to start rehearsals on Monday (30Jun14), and he'll hit the stage as the King of Siam, opposite Lisa McCune, on 10 July (14). Phillips made his Broadway debut as The King in 1996, opposite Donna Murphy. Phillips played the role for more than 550 performances and won a Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. The actor cannot wait to hit the stage when the show opens, stating, "I am honoured to once again inhabit the role of The King... I have great passion and respect for the role and am especially excited to bring my interpretation to a new continent." The news comes a day after it was announced Japanese actor Ken Watanabe would be making his Broadway debut in a revival of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical about the real-life relationship between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher, who he enlists to tutor his wives and children.

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