The King and I was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with musicals, and as I learned more about their history I heard lots of people mourn the advent of amplification. Miles Kreuger, a musical theater historian I interviewed for my college radio show, talked longingly about hearing Gertrude Lawrence (REFERENCE ICON) Gertrude Lawrence was a star of London and Broadway musicals in the 1930s and 1940s. in the original production of The King and I. She had a small voice, he said, so everybody quieted down and actually listened. If Gertrude Lawrence could be heard, he said, anyone can be heard without a microphone.