The Mikado is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas. The plot of The Mikado is pure fictional nonsense but was intended as a satire of English society, especially regarding cruelty beneath the finest manners and at the highest levels of society along with the idiocy of some of the laws passed by the British Parliament. The backstory involves the Mikado (the Emperor of Japan) telling his young son he must marry the much older, unpopular Katisha or be executed. The son leaves the court and assumes the identity of Nanki-Poo, a wandering minstrel, and goes to search for his true love, Yum-Yum, in the Japanese village of Titipu.
Ko-Ko (a commoner whose profession is a tailor) is Yum-Yum’s guardian and intends to marry her. But he is caught flirting (a capital offense) and thus is condemned to die. Instead of decapitating him, the Titipu authorities free Ko-Ko and proclaim him Lord High Executioner. The local nobles demand that he can’t order an execution until he has cut off his head, figuring that to be an impossible procedure. So the story progresses until the Mikado insists on execution, which Ko-Ko manages to avoid with many twists and turns in the story line.
In the beginning, we are introduced to the Nobles of Japan, and the story moves forward to its ultimate and foregone conclusion. Not to spoil the story, but in the end, all live happily ever after (for the most part).
“To my knowledge, this is the first time this operetta has been performed in this area,” said Director Michael Hughes. “Many who come may know the three most popular songs: A Wandering Minstrel I, Three Little Maids Are We, and Tit Willow.”
Hughes went on to note that The Mikado is an operetta, a form of music theater that is rarely written today. “An argument might be made that Les Miserable is an operetta and even Sweeney Todd, but that may be a stretch. Certainly, operetta is more closely related to musical theater than true opera, in that it is lighter in tone and includes more dialogue and comedy than opera,” he said. “However, operetta does, as a rule, demand a higher vocal standard, and is written in a more classical style than musical shows.”
Tickets will be sold at the door and are $15 for adults, $7 for students and children, and $7 for seniors (60+) on the Sunday matinee.