The curtain rises on the deck of the Chow Phya, a ship sailing from Singapore to Bangkok, Siam, in the early 1860s. The ship’s captain, Captain Orton, tells young Louis Leonowens that they are just about approaching their destination. Louis’s mother, Anna, a school teacher hired by the King of Siam to teach his children and royal wives, joins them, and Orton warns her about what she has gotten herself into. Louis sees that the Siamese prime minister is naked and is suddenly afraid of what is to come. Anna tells Louis that she gets over her fears by whistling, and he feels much better (“I Whistle a Happy Tune”). The Siamese prime minister, the Kralahome, and his interpreter come to greet Anna and Louis. When the Kralahome tells them their things will be taken to the palace, Anna insists that she was promised a house of her own, but the Kralahome denies that that offer was ever on the table.
A couple of weeks later, the Kralahome tells the King, who has yet to meet Anna, that
The King and I guide sections