For a long time Paris was immune to the magic of musicals. International hits like "Phantom of the Opera", "Cats" or even the French musical "Les Miserables" flopped there. But over the last ten years something's changing. All of a sudden Parisians like to see musicals. They have discovered Sondheim lately, and now the Théâtre du Châtelet has produced a grand new staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”. Although eclipsed by other works by the famous duo — such as “South Pacific and “The Sound of Music” — in popularity, “The King and I” has always had its champions, with its engaging cultural clashes and irresistible songs. The musical, which had its premiere in 1951, is based on a novel by Margaret Landon about the real-life experience of an English woman, Anna Leonowens, who went to Siam in the 1860s to teach the royal children about Western culture. Gertrude Lawrence played Anna, and the then-unknown Yul Brynner was the king. The new production makes French critics search for superlatives and Parisians fight for tickets.