Beef & Boards director quite familiar with ‘The King and I’


Brian Jose has a long history with “The King and I,” having acted in the musical three times.

So naturally, he has some ideas about the production as he is directing the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic for Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Performances are April 4 to May 19.

“There is only so much you can do with altering the words and music for your productions as per performance rights,” Jose said. “The words are the words. So, you have to think of other ways you can impact the story told as a director. It was imperative to me that we cast a mixed Anglo-Indian woman as Anna Leonowens. Historians have pointed out that Anna was of Anglo-Indian descent, something that has eluded the casting of this role for most productions. For me, that slight shift makes all the difference. Instead of a story that can easily be seen as a white savior-colonialism story, we get a more complex story about a woman who has had to suppress her culture in order to advance in society to provide for her children as a single mother. And on top of that, (is) invited to a foreign country where she then decides to scold them for behavior not accepted in the more modern Western world. (It’s a) way more fascinating conundrum than simply a white woman intrigued by an exotic land.”

Jose said there is a reason the Thai government has banned the show in its country since its inception. 

“It’s based on source material that is questioned for its accuracy and honesty,” Jose said. “I don’t think the book, nor the musical, ever claimed to be either.

The musical was based on the book, “Anna and the King of Siam.”

This is the first time Jose had directed at Beef & Boards, although the 1992 Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School graduate acted as Bun Foo in the 2007 production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Previously, Jose acted as the Interpreter in “The King and I” while studying theater during his undergraduate years at Indiana University. He then played the role of Lun Tha/Angel George for a production at a theater in Long Island when he first moved to New York City about 25 years ago. In the summer of 2022, he played the lead role of the King in a show in Meredith, N.H.  

“It’s been very special to have ‘The King and I’ be a part of my theatrical journey for three very different and significant parts of my life,” he said. “So, having ‘The King and I’ be my professional directorial debut feels very much like a full-circle moment for me.”

For more, visit