Easter weekend - and our local TV stations always show “Ben-Hur” and the “Ten Commandments”. The latter features Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Brynner also starred in “The King and I” on Broadway - taking part in over 4,000 performances.
Has anyone performed in more Broadway performances than that?
I can’t answer your question about number of performances, but I do want to say that I was privileged to see Yul Brynner perform the role of the King, when “The King and I” came through Toronto in about 1984 or 1985. He was old, and not in the best of health, but he gave it his all, and turned in a great performance.
Yul Brynner died of lung cancer on October 10, 1985, at New York Hospital at the age of 65. His last performance, a few months before his death, marked the 4,625th time he had played the role of the King.
The guy was 68 years old and had been in the show for 23 years.
My guess is that the quality of his performances had started to deteriorate drastically.
Probably he was getting too old to carry on, things weren’t going to improve, he ignored suggestions that he might like to retire, and so they eased him out while trying not to hurt his feelings too much. Just a reasonable assumption.
Ditto, same time, in San Jose. One article said he insisted the backstage areas be carpeted before signing the roadshow contract. Although, as King, he had slippers on, most of the rest of the court were barefooted and he wanted them comfortable when they were not onstage.
Me three. I saw him on that tour when it came through San Antonio. In fact, after I saw him once, I went back later in the week and saw him again, though I could ill afford the tickets. Sat in about the 10th row both times. I figured I wouldn’t get another chance and I was right. He died the following year. He was fantastic, with incredible charisma and stage presence.