The Mikado: A Long Island Fantasy, a new approach to the classic comic opera, will appear for one night only in Commack when the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island brings its 2022 production of the beloved show to Suffolk Y-JCC on June 17.
Directed by Tony Tambasco and with the orchestra conducted by music director Stuart Watarz, this all-new Mikado recasts the most famous of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas to be set on Long Island’s Gold Coast in the 1920s, the era of Prohibition, the flappers, silent movies and The Great Gatsby.
“I have attempted to recover the spirit of Gilbert & Sullivan’s intentions with a production that holds a mirror up to the present day, while also engaging in light-hearted fairy-tale-telling,” Tambasco said.
“Setting The Mikado on a fantasy Long Island of 100 years ago allows us to activate the `Gatsby’ mythology that is a part of the cultural heritage of Long Island in the service of telling Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic fairy tale of a community overcoming the nonsensical cruelty imposed on its people.”
The score is packed with famous songs, including the lovely ballad “The Sun, Whose Rats Are All Ablaze,” the rattling patter song “I’ve Got a Little List,” the ingenious trio “I Am So Proud” and the wistful “Titwillow.” The story is a merry farce that’s as funny now as it was in 1885 when the show premiered, and virtually defines the idea of “fun for the whole family.”
The cast includes more than a dozen of the company’s finest singers and dancers, more than meeting the challenge of the production.
Richard Risi plays Nanki-Poo, the wandering minstrel who’s secretly the son of the all-powerful Mikado (Lloyd Baum). Sabrina Lopez is Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo’s secret love, with Michael John Ruggiere as her guardian Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. Tamara Shyngle and Delaney R. Page play Yum-Yum’s schoolmates Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo, with Kenneth Kopolovicz as the pompous Pooh-Bah and Jordan Breslow as the wily Pish-Tush. Patricia Gallagher plays the fearsome aristocrat Katisha, who claims Nanki-Poo in marriage and won’t take “No” as an answer.
The most popular comic opera ever written, the only one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas popular even in non-English-speaking countries and the first ever to be made into a movie, the show has been a hit on Broadway as The Hot Mikado (1939), and has even had a movie—“Topsy Turvy” (1999)—made about its creation. It remains arguably the most popular work of music theater ever.
The Mikado: A Long Island Fantasy will be presented on Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. at Suffolk Y/JCC, 74 Hauppauge Road in Commack. Admission is $30, seniors and students $25. For further information, call 516-619-7415 or visit www.gaslocoli.org.