Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mikado Madness!

The Mikado with Milwaukee Opera Theater has been an incredible success! JillAnna Ponasik, artistic director of MOT and my co-director, and I worked with the cast to devise the new arrangements for the score and stage. We filled the stage with percussion instruments, and re-imagined the entire score with drums, gongs, trombones, guitars, and toy pianos. We tweaked the script and Jason Powell, our amazing Ko-Ko, updated a few of the songs. We jumped deep end into this crazy concept and had a blast creating it. We very much hoped that the audiences would come on board and enjoy it as much as we did.

It turns out that they did, and more! We have had packed houses and flattering reviews, and we could not be more thrilled with the response.

Steve Spice from Shepard Express compliments "Even those who are not enamored of Gilbert and Sullivan’s brand of Anglophile musical theater may find Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s new production of The Mikado, which literally leaps beyond the stage at Next Act Theater, a complete delight from beginning to end. The 1885 comic tour de force is hailed as a harbinger of modern musical theater, but this new production takes a much needed poke at the traditional English approach to light opera."

Elaine Schmidt from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  states "The veritable yard sale of musical instruments and noisemakers strewn across the set ofMilwaukee Opera Theatre's"The Mikado" might give the audience a clue that tradition has been left at home. If not, perhaps the rubber chickens will do the trick. MOT, playing in the Next Act Theatre space under the stage direction of Jill Anna Ponasik and Catie O'Donnell, has created a delightful evening of, well, what does one call it, experimental operetta?"

Paul Kosidowski from Milwaukee Magazine  says "the cast of MOT’s fizzy production have no problem asserting that lineage. Using a variety of way-out instruments–including toy pianos and trombones—and a loose, improv-ish acting style, they’ve created a show that is nothing like your grandfather’s Mikado, but is still gloriously true to W.S. Gilbert’s comic spirit."

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