We are starting our 21st year with the annual summer musical. This year’s presentation is Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado; or The Town of Titipu. The show will run July 22 – August 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30 in KMC’s Kilauea Theater. Come and enjoy the cool climate of Volcano on a hot summer night and see the glow of the volcano from the steps of the Kilauea Theater and the brilliant stars in a very dark sky.
Appearing in the production are Dick Hershberger as The Mikado, Stephen Bond as Nanki-Poo- his son, Joel Kelley as Koko the Lord High Executioner, Saul Rollason as Pooh-Bah the Lord High Everything Else, and Ben McMillan as Pish-Tush. They will be joined by Elizabeth Young as Yum-Yum, Ariana Kelley as Pitti-Sing and Sherie McMillan as Peep-Bo and Lori DeMello as Katisha. There is a chorus of school girls, noblemen and guards that includes Arlene Araki, Everly Arceo, Kendall Haddock, Kathy Mulliken, Katie Mulliken, Dawn Pelletier, Cadence McMillan, Sean McMillan and Tobias McMillan. Familiar tunes include “I’ve Got a Little List”, ”Three Little Maids from School”, and “A Wand’ring Minstrel, I”. The show is being directed by Suzi Bond. Walter Greenwood is the music director and will conduct the live orchestra. The set design is by Jonathan Sudler and Helie Rock is coordinating the costumes. Melanie Oldfather is the Vocal Coach.
As with all Gilbert and Sullivan the primary theme is duty and respect. It is about following through with commitments made and being responsible for the consequences. They are just set in different places; A pirate cove, a ship, a castle, and in this case, Japan. That and taking aim at society and its foibles. Gilbert used foreign or fictional locales in several operas to soften the impact of his pointed satire of British institutions. When The Mikado was composed in 1885, Londoners had been enthusiastic about all things Japanese since the opening of Japan to the West in the mid-1850s. It shows the limited knowledge of Japan and all of East Asia as it claims to be set in Japan, but the names of the characters and places are more Chinese-like. It shows how ignorant of other races the English (white people) were and to some aspect still are. The Mikado takes a swipe at 1880s English society and institutions while disguising it as foreign policies. It is surprising how some of the themes in the show resonate with current events.
Tickets for the performances are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors over 60 and students and $12 for children 12 and under. Tickets go on sale on July 1st at Kilauea General Store in Volcano, Kea’auNatural Foods, Basically Books and The Most Irresistible Shop in downtown Hilo. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information or to make reservations call 982-7344 or email . KDEN will be following all Covid safety protocols; face masks will be required, distanced seating, and contact tracing.