NEW PALTZ -- "Joining the Cambridge University?s Gilbert & Sullivan society is possibly the single most significant event that you can perform in your entire life. On a par with such life-changing events as birth, death, & finals. No one experiences the marvelous works of Sir William Schwenk Gilbert & Sir Arthur Sullivan unaffected."
- Cambridge University G&S Society
The beloved characters of Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, Katisha, and all the rest come to life in a new production of Gilbert & Sullivan?s operetta "The Mikado" presented by the Department of Theatre Arts, SUNY New Paltz, on March 1-11, 2001.
Director Frank Kraat brings us back to England in the 1920s to create a play-within-a-play. Here is a production of The Mikado as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Cambridge University might have performed it circa 1924. Dashing lads and lovely co-eds in their proud school colors perform the roles that have entertained audiences since 1885. With just the slightest suggestion of Japanese costumes covering crisp tennis whites, the ladies and gentlemen of the Gilbert & Sullivan society offer a rousing interpretation of the most memorable and most enduring of all G&S operettas.
Synopsis of "The Mikado"
Nanki-Poo has fled from the court of his father, the Mikado of Japan, to escape marriage with the elderly and dragonistic, Katisha. He disguises himself as a musician and falls in love with the fair maiden, Yum-Yum, but they are prevented from being married by Ko-Ko, Yum-Yum?s guardian, who also wants to marry Yum-Yum.
The Mikado orders Ko-Ko, who is Lord High Executioner, to execute someone or lose his position. Nanki-Poo, who has decided to commit suicide, is persuaded by Ko-Ko to marry Yum-Yum then and be the subject for the execution at the end of one month. Katisha appears and threatens to tell all to the Mikado.
Act II opens with Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo planning their marriage. Meanwhile, Ko-Ko is horrified to discover a law stating that when a married man is executed, his wife is buried alive.
In order to prevent Yum-Yum?s imminent demise, Ko-Ko has Pooh-Bah (a corrupt and proud public official) make a false affidavit that Nanki-Poo has been executed in order to satisfy the Mikado. The Mikado arrives and Ko-Ko shows him the affidavit, but the Mikado has actually come to search for his son and to find out whom Ko-Ko has supposedly executed. Ko-Ko must admit that the affidavit is false, and prove that Nanki-Poo is alive. Since Nanki-Poo has already married Yum-Yum and cannot marry Katisha, Ko-Ko reluctantly solves the problem by offering his hand to Katisha.
The score features some of the most famous of the Gilbert and Sullivan songs including Yum-Yum and her sisters' fluttering harmonies in "Three Little Maids," Katisha's incongruous sincerity in "Hearts Do Not Break," the humorous series of public nuisances expressed in "I?ve Got A Little List," and "Tit Willow," a phony tale of dying for love.
The SUNY New Paltz production of "The Mikado" is performed March 1-3, and 8-10 at 8pm, and March 4 and 11 at 2pm. All performances are in wheelchair-accessible McKenna Theatre. Tickets are $15 general admission and $13 senior citizens and students. They are available by calling the McKenna Theatre Box Office at 845-257-3880, Monday through Friday, 10am ? 4pm. Tickets may be purchased on the phone with VISA, or MasterCard or in person with cash, check, or credit card.
Photographs of the production are available at the following web site: http://hawk.newpaltz.edu/news/images/mikado.html. - 30 -