THE MIKADO – Opens 56th Season of The Lamplighters Music Theatre

Gilbert and Sullivan’s greatest hit plays the Yerba Buena Center
August 15th – 17th

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The Bay Area’s acclaimed Lamplighters Music Theatre opens its 56th season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s delightful tale of star-crossed lovers, THE MIKADO. Phil Lowery directs this fully-staged production with live orchestra under the direction of Baker Peeples. The Mikado (or The Town of Titipu) plays at San Francisco’s YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS Friday through Sunday, August 15th—17th. To order tickets on-line: THE MIKADO.

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W.S. GILBERT & ARTHUR SULLIVAN – THE MIKADO (or, The Town of Titipu), 1885

Arguably the most popular musical comedy in the English language, The Mikado is a playful satire set in a fanciful (and wholly imaginary) Japan. In a time when flirting is a capital offense, wandering minstrel Nanki-Poo has fallen in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum, fiancée to the recently appointed Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko. When the honored Mikado, emperor of Japan, demands the execution of Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo volunteers to take Ko-Ko’s place under the condition that he first be allowed to marry Yum-Yum, chaos, desperation, and comical mayhem ensue in classic Gilbert and Sullivan style, with impromptu marriages, forged death certificates, and the revelation of a prince in disguise.

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ROGER PIERSON – The Mikado (1997). Photos by Irene Jerome

Lamplighters Music Theatre has assembled a gifted ensemble for The Mikado, including John Brown as Nanki-Poo; Jennifer Ashworth and Elena Krell alternating in the role of Yum-Yum; Chris Uzelac as Ko-Ko; Paul Murray as Pish-Tush; and Charles Martin and Jonathan Spencer alternating in the role of Pooh-Bah. Also featured are Allyson Paris and Rebecca Marques alternating in the role of Pitti-Sing; Rose Frazier and Brett Ruona alternating in the role of Peep-Bo; Katy Daniel and Cary Rosko alternating in the role of Katisha; and Charles Martin and Ray Thackeray alternating in the role of the Mikado.

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MEGAN BELTRAN, MEGHAN CONWAY, KATHLEEN DEDERIAN – The Mikado (1997)

Director Phil Lowery returns to Lamplighters to helm THE MIKADO. Lowery has directed theatre, opera and operetta around the Bay for several years, including productions at Berkeley Opera, Pocket Opera, North Bay Opera, Altarena Playhouse, Dreamweavers, and the Drama Mamas. In 1991, he co-founded Berkeley Contemporary Opera and served as its Artistic Director for three years. With Lamplighters, Lowery directed La Perichole, A Little Night Music, and Candide, and he performed the role of King Gama in Princess Ida. He has been a proud member of the Lamplighters chorus for a halfdozen

Lamplighters’ resident music director Baker Peeples conducts THE MIKADO. One of the Bay Area’s leading lyric tenors, Peeples has sung and conducted hundreds of performances for the company, and served as music director and principal conductor for the Lamplighters’ first CD, A Song to Sing, O!, recorded at the Skywalker Sound studios. In addition to his work with Lamplighters, Peeples served as music director for Cinnabar Opera’s La Bohème, and has appeared with the San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Utah, and Sacramento Symphony orchestras, as well as the San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento Ballets, and numerous choral organizations around the Bay Area.

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THE MIKADO – D’Oyly Carte production, 1919 & MIKE DEDERIAN – The Lamplighters, 1997

To order tickets on-line:
Friday, August 15th, 8:00 PM
Saturday Matinee, August 16th, 2:00 PM
Saturday, August 16th, 8:00 PM
Sunday Matinee, August 17th, 2:00 PM

Add these items to your Gilbert & Sullivan Library:
CD – THE MIKADO. Royston Nash conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in this re-issue of the classic production under the direction of Bridget D’Oyly Carte. Featuring John Ayldon, Pauline Wales, Kenneth Sandford, Michael Rayner, Peggy Ann Jones, John Reed, Valerie Masterson, Colin Wright, John Broad, and Lyndsie Holland.
CD – THE MIKADO, 1959 TV CAST. Remastering of an amazing cast starring Groucho Marx, Robert Rounseville, Stanley Holloway, Barbara Meister, Dennis King, and Helen Traubel.
DVD – TOPYSY–TURVY (2000). The story of the creation of “The Mikado”. Mike Leigh directs this hilarious 2000 film featuring Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher, Sukie Smith, Roger Heathcott, and Wendy Nottingham.
VOCAL SCORE – THE MIKADO. Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert, music by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan; 232 pages. With vocal melody, piano accompaniment, lyrics, dialogues and stage cues.

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See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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