Battling Cancer, Ken Watanabe Delays King And I Return

kenwatanabe_0326_3mattdoyleWhile “The Show Must Go On” is one of the most iconic phrases in the theatre world, sometimes the show is slightly delayed. Broadway has seen stars depart productions, cancel appearances and even more due to illness. That illness is always one that strikes the Broadway community to its core. Many are so easily reminded their health, which plays a large role in their employment, is so fragile. Luckily enough, so many these days recover or are on paths to recover and continue to provide entertainment for audiences for countless months and years beyond their original diagnoses. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the news that Tony Award nominee Ken Watanabe has delayed his return to the Tony Award winning The King And I due to the fact he is battling cancer.

Theater-Review-The-King-and-I-2Tony Award nominee Ken Watanabe (Pictured Right) has delayed his return to Siam this spring due to illness. It was announced this week Watanabe would undergo laparoscopic surgery after it was discovered the actor had stomach cancer. The cancer was caught at a very early stage. Watanabe’s press agent Craig Bankey confirmed today that Watanabe had undergone the surgery and was resting in a hospital in Japan. Despite all, his return to The King And I will only be delayed a few weeks. Originally scheduled to return to his Tony Award nominated performance March 1st through April 17th, he will now return to the role appearing March 17th through April 17th only. Hoon Lee, who is currently appearing as the King Of Siam, will continue in the role now through March with his last performance scheduled for March 16th.

In a statement released through his publicist, Watanabe asked for understand and patience as his return to the Broadway would be stage due to the sudden illness.

“I am preparing myself in earnest for the stage. I would like to ask for your understanding that the start of my performance in New York will be a little delayed.”

547f2d409b9fb_-_rbk-daniel-dae-kim-mscLess than a month ago, Lincoln Center announced an exciting lineup of three Kings Of Siam set to rotate into the role throughout the next several months of performances of The King And I. Watanabe was the beginning of the lineup.  Jose Llana, who previously appeared The King And I in Fall 2015 following Watanabe’s original performance, returns to throne appearing April 19th through May 1st, 2016Daniel Dae Kim (Pictured Left), best known for his appearance on television’s LOST, will make his Broadway debut and rise to the throne for a limited eight week engagement beginning May 3rd through June 26th. Full details below;

The King And I Announces New Kings Of Siam

12744455_987930884593970_2800185591906620575_nLuner Lowdown: Luner on Theatre sends our best wishes to Ken Watanabe as he recovers from surgery over the next couple weeks and months. Despite all, we are thrilled to hear his cancer was caught at an early stage and an operation was possible to remove it. It is outstanding, given the circumstances, he will still return to The King And I this spring just two weeks later than originally scheduled. It is not only beyond professional but a remarkable show of Watanabe’s passion to continue performing. I truly believe this is a sign of love for this production and all involved in it. We look forward to a great recovery leaving him only stronger than before and welcoming him back to Broadway as soon as he is ready.

Luner on Theatre will keep you updated on Ken Watanabe’s return to The King And I. Again, the delay in his return to the Broadway stage is not only understood but appreciated and commended more than ever considering the current circumstances he is facing. We look forward to welcoming him back to New York and Broadway with open arms. Thank you to Paul Kolnik for the photo below! For more information, visit The King And I’s Official Website, Facebook orTwitter. (Please note; Unless a photo is noted to be taken by Luner on Theatre, we do not own/claim ownership for any photos used in this post.) And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more! 



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