“Shall We Dance? “Meet Jenna Pinchbeck-Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre’s Anna in ‘The King and I’

Shall We Dance? Meet Jenna Pinchbeck, Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre’s Anna in The King and I, Opening Tonight, July 9th

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless classic, The King and I, boasts one of the most luscious scores of all time. Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) opens this romantic musical about tolerance and cultural differences tonight, July 9th. In part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast members, meet Anna (Jenna Pinchbeck).

Whistle a Happy Tune - Charles Casey (Louis) rehearses with Jenna Pinchbeck (Anna).
Whistle a Happy Tune – Charles Casey (Louis) rehearses with Jenna Pinchbeck (Anna).

Diane: Please introduce yourself.

Jenna: My name is Jenna Pinchbeck, I live in NYC and I am currently playing
Anna in The King and I at SSMT. I am thrilled to return to the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre stage! I got my B.F.A. at Shenandoah Conservatory. I’ve appeared Off Broadway in Fancy Nancy: The Musical and regionally in Avenue Q (Kate/Lucy), Servant of Two Masters (Beatrice), Noises Off (Belinda), and Ragtime (Mother).

How did you hear about SSMT? What brought you to SSMT this summer?

I graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory and know a lot of the SSMT family. When I was approached about the project, I couldn’t turn down working with Carolyn Coulson and Thomas Albert again.

What drew you to the The King and I?

I grew up with the show and the movie. I was in a production of The King and I when I was about 14. It’s always had a special place in my heart.

What drew you to wanting to play the King/Anna? What do you admire or
not admire about your character?

nna is such an incredibly strong woman. She played such an instrumental role in the history of Siam/Thailand, and it is an honor to share her story. Not to mention the music is spectacular.

What are your solos or ‘big numbers’ and what does the audience learn about your character when you sing these songs?

I have the privilege of singing so many classics! “Whistle a Happy Tune” and “Hello, Young Lovers” are such a joy to sing and they both have beautifully heart-wrenching reprises in the second act. Of course “Getting To Know You” is a blast, and “Shall We Dance” is a truly magical moment in the show. My personal favorite is Anna’s soliloquy, “Shall I Tell You What I Think
of You”. It’s Anna’s big moment to let loose and share her frustrations with the audience.

What have been some of the challenges preparing for your role?

Wearing the corset is a definitely a challenge! It really changes your breath.

What do you love most about The King and I?

In rehearsal we are constantly talking about how perfectly constructed the show is. Both
the script and the score are so well written and it’s a joy to bring it to life.

What is it about Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score that most moves you?

Everything you hear in the score has a purpose. Every note moves the story forward and into this beautiful world of Siam.

What character that you are not playing is your favorite and what song
that you are not singing is your favorite, and why?

I LOVE Lun Tha and Tuptim’s song “We Kiss in a Shadow.” I would love to sing that song!

What is the best advice your director and musical director gave you about shaping your performance?

Dr. Albert and Carolyn are both so great at working with us organically and allowing the process to be a collaboration. They remind me to truly trust the text and then we build from there.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing The King and I?

I want audiences to be reminded of this classic piece of theatre and realize that it is still extremely relevant today.

Director Carolyn Coulson rehearses with Anna (Jenna Pinchbeck) and The King (Russell Rinker).
Director Carolyn Coulson rehearses with Anna (Jenna Pinchbeck) and The King (Russell Rinker).

What are you doing next on the stage after The King and I closes?

It’s back to auditioning in NYC!

The King and I plays  July 9-20, 2014 at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, performing at the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre-1460 University Drive, in Winchester, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (540) 665-4569, or (877) 580-8025.


‘The King and I’ Opens This Wednesday at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre-Cast Interviews Part 1.


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