audiences were entertained by The Gilbert & Sullivan
Society of Austin's Summer
Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu. Nine performances,
running June 9-19, captivated Austin - as our cast,
orchestra, and crew once again created a G&S classic. See photos| Watch videos
by the Society in 2005, The
Mikado proved once again why it has
delighted audiences for more than a century, and
is arguably the
most popular comic
opera ever written. Performances
were held at the Travis High School Performing Arts
Director Ralph MacPhail, Jr. and Musical Director
Jeffrey Jones-Ragona presented an unforgettable Gilbert & Sullivan
classic, a quintessential satire of human
nature that reveals both Gilbert and Sullivan
at the height of their creative geniuses.
The Gilbert & Sullivan
Society of Austin thanks all the performers, the
Gillman Light Opera
volunteers, Society members, and enthusiastic audiences
for making this year's show such a joy.
Mikado opened in London on March
14, 1885, and ran for a
record-breaking 672 performances at the
This comedy about an executioner, while set in
Japan, displays wit that is very much British,
Victorian England is the target of Gilbert's
thinly disguised as a strange and distant land.
influence on popular culture is pervasive, from “Pooh-Bah,” “Tit-Willow," “A
Wandring Minstrel I” and “Three Little
the 1999 Mike Leigh film “Topsy-Turvy” which
tells the story of the creation of The Mikado.
regarded as Gilbert & Sullivan's
masterpiece, The Mikado has
been translated into other languages and adapted
more than any other of their works. Austin will,
however, continue its tradition of offering The
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote, demonstrating why
the work has proved so enduring & endearing
to Arthur DiBianca for his 2011 B. Iden Payne Award nomination
as Outstanding Lead Actor in Music Theater. This important
recognition was well deserved for Arthur's nuanced
and superbly entertaining performance as Ko-Ko. Click
here to see the complete list of nominations.
The B. Iden Payne Awards ceremony was held October
24th at the State Theatre. results
Nanki-Poo, a wandering minstrel, has come to the town of Titipu
in search of Yum-Yum, a girl with whom he has fallen in love.
Ko-Ko, her guardian, had been condemned to death under the Mikado's
law against flirting, but has since been appointed Lord High
Executioner, on the assumption that he will be unwilling to enforce
a law of which he himself must be the first victim. While Ko-Ko
plans to marry Yum-Yum himself, Nanki-Poo woos the beautiful
girl. Yum-Yum returns his affection, but she is unwilling to
defy her guardian.
Meanwhile, Ko-Ko learns that his post is to be abolished by the
Mikado for non-performance of duty. His search for a victim is
interrupted by the appearance of the despondent Nanki-Poo, bent
on suicide. The two men strike a deal that Nanki-Poo may marry
Yum-Yum, if he will agree to become Ko-Ko's first victim at the
end of a month.
The general rejoicing that follows this announcement is halted
by the arrival of Katisha, an elderly lady of the Mikado's court.
Thwarted in her efforts to claim Nanki-Poo as her lover, she
attempts to reveal his true identity, but the entire town shouts
her down as the act ends.
Act II finds Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo preparing for their wedding.
But Ko-Ko produces a surprise: he's discovered that "by
the Mikado's law, when a married man is beheaded, his wife is
buried alive"! Yum-Yum is having second thoughts when the
approach of the Mikado himself is announced. Ko-Ko panics and
decides that a dead body will not be needed if the proper papers
are produced. He sends Nanki-Poo away to marry Yum-Yum and prepares
an "affidavit" of Nanki-Poo's execution.
The Mikado is delighted to receive the news until he sees the
name of the victim. Ko-Ko now learns for the first time that
Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado. Along with Pooh-Bah and Pitti-Sing,
who have acted as witnesses to the fake execution, Ko-Ko is sentenced
to be boiled in oil for "compassing the death of the Heir
When Ko-Ko goes to Nanki-Poo for help, the minstrel explains
that he originally disguised himself in order to escape Katisha's
attentions, and he has no intention of being anything but "dead" until
she is married to someone else. To save his own neck, Ko-Ko woos
and wins the lady in record time. When the Mikado returns from
lunch to find his son still alive, and Ko-Ko married to Katisha,
he declares that "nothing could possibly be more satisfactory."
to listen to KMFA 89.5FM's Classical Austin.
Dianne Donovan talks with Ralph MacPhail, Jr. and Jeffrey
This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
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