Uncle Jamie, Valerie, Jamie, and Aunty Liz

Valerie Fong Debuts in "The King and I"

Mom and Dad Watch Proudly

(FPI) Alameda, CA. "History has a way of repeating itself," says James Fong, proud father of Valerie who recently appeared in Encinal High School's production of "The King and I." Fong and his relatives, including Albert and Tuey Lowe, gathered in Alameda in May to watch this talented five year old grace the stage as one of the King's children - her hair tied in a neat bun on top her head and her face adorned with bright-colored makeup.

Thirty five years ago, Mr. Fong, now a science teacher at St. Joseph's High School, himself appeared in the same production staged by the Music Circus in Sacramento. With such familiar tunes as "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance" the large gathering of Fongs and Kuans practically lip synced the whole show. "We know all these songs," said Linnea Fong, "because our mommy and daddy keep singing them to us." Sarah Fong quipped, "The show was....na na na na not so bad," laughing at her own inside joke.

Encinal's production was the real deal complete with professional sets (rented) and costumes. The high school kids practiced many months to get it all right. Despite lanky posture and cracking voices the evening of song and dance was as good as a $9 dollar ticket could buy you. The show reached a climax during the performance of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Little Eva being chased by Evil Simon and his "scientific" dogs was so frightening, it made Jamie, Makenzie, and Maxwell cower under their seats.

King and I Flashback...

In July1964, a photographer from the Sacramento Union newspaper visited 1175 Volz Drive to take pictures of Ruby's children appearing in the Music Circus' production of "The King and I." Have a look at the coverage as it appeared 35 years ago.
Picture Article

The Fong and Kuan delegation took up a front-row section of the school auditorium and cheered Valerie as she made her entrances, sang, and posed for the final curtain call. As Yin Yin and Ye Ye sat in the audience, they could only wonder how a musical like this could transcend so many generations. It brought back many memories of a bygone era in Sacramento. "It's a timeless masterpiece," said Yin Yin.