The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

The Mikado 2011
Record audiences were entertained by The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin's Summer 2011 Grand Production of The 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.
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Last produced 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 Center.

Artistic 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 Orchestra, sponsors, volunteers, Society members, and enthusiastic audiences for making this year's show such a joy.

The Mikado opened in London on March 14, 1885, and ran for a record-breaking 672 performances at the Savoy Theatre. This comedy about an executioner, while set in Japan, displays wit that is very much British, albeit kimono-clad. Victorian England is the target of Gilbert's satire, thinly disguised as a strange and distant land.

Its influence on popular culture is pervasive, from “Pooh-Bah,” “Tit-Willow," “A Wandring Minstrel I” and “Three Little Maids” to the 1999 Mike Leigh film “Topsy-Turvy” which tells the story of the creation of The Mikado.

Usually 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 Mikado that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote, demonstrating why the work has proved so enduring & endearing for 125 years.
The Mikado cast and crew
See Mikado Photos / Collection 1 | Collection 2
Arthur DiBianca
nominated for B. Iden Payne Award

Congratulations 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 Apparent."

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."
Click to listen
to KMFA 89.5FM's Classical Austin. Dianne Donovan talks with Ralph MacPhail, Jr. and Jeffrey Jones-Ragona.
Mikado Playbill
Click to view Playbill
The Mikado 2011
Cast & Crew List
Media Information
Press Release (pdf)
Publicity Photo (jpeg)
Poster (pdf)
Recent Summer Productions
The Yeomen of the Guard - 2010
Iolanthe - 2009
The Pirates of Penzance - 2008
Ruddigore - 2007

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

PO Box 684542 / Austin, Texas / 78768-4542 / 512.472.4772 /

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. Visit Austin at