Gertrude Lawrence was an established and renowned actor when she first approached Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II with a book she thought would make a great musical. It was called 'Anna And The King Of Siam'.
Rodgers and Hammerstein II loved the book and loved Ms. Lawrence; however, they knew that her vocal abilities were limited. Consequently, all of Anna's solos in what came to be known as The King And I were on the simpler side of things. And if you give the original Broadway Cast recording a listen, you can hear how Ms. Lawrence skates very close to the edge of being flat. 😉 The show was an enormous hit, helped in no small part by the power and grace Gertrude Lawrence brought to the role.
A year and a half after the show had opened, Ms. Lawrence fainted backstage after a matinee. She had liver and stomach cancer that was widespread and died a few short weeks later.
I have always thought it was fitting that Rodgers and Hammerstein II wrote such simple yet lovely songs for the last role Gertrude Lawrence would ever play. I hope you find the joy and beauty in them that I do. ❤️
🎹 I Whistle A Happy Tune: https://youtu.be/rn4OGp_PtGg
🎹 Hello Young Lovers: https://youtu.be/Xf6LQYIjBus