Southern California opera company Pacific Opera Project (POP) will present its ninth production at The Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica – Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.”
Performances will be held on various days and times today through Sept. 22.
POP takes this updated classic and transports it from the days of Japanese royalty in elaborate silk kimonos to gritty, modern-day Harajuku costume.
For the uninitiated, Harajuku refers to a particular area of Tokyo that spawned the wild mix of colors and styles that have become famous in current film and television depictions of young people in Tokyo.
Colors, patterns, garment types, and piercings abound to give this beloved classic a POP-worthy twist.
Never a company to do what people might expect, POP is sure to surprise even Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados who know the entire score by heart with its unique take on what was originally a thinly veiled skewering of then-current British nobility and politics.
Lyrics originally written to take a jab at people who may even have been in the audience will – in the grand tradition – be revamped to poke fun at modern people.
Since the costumes are inspired by such a mix-and-match ethos, POP has decided that instead of segregating the casts from each other entirely, the performance on Sept. 20 will feature a grab-bag performance, with a cast chosen at random, just to make things interesting.
With such an embarrassment of talent, it is only natural to want to see what happens with the new energy of an unpredicted combination of artists.
POP has once again assembled a stunning array of gifted performers for this production. Creative team, Josh Shaw (production design and stage direction) and Stephen Karr (musical direction), come together once again to head a cast of mostly homegrown talent featuring some POP veterans and many newcomers – all hailing from greater Los Angeles or San Diego. The focus on local talent doesn’t diminish the stunning array of theaters where the artists have appeared, including the Glimmerglass Festival, Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Palm Beach Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera Southern Illinois Music Festival and Union Avenue Opera, to name just a few.
The talent onstage will be accompanied by POP’s outstanding chamber ensemble.
In both casts, Matthew Ian Welch plays the Mikado himself, while his disguised son Nanki-Poo is portrayed by Kyle Patterson and Matthew Miles on alternating nights.
The Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko is played by James Schindler and E. Scott Levin, while Timothy Campbell and Phil Meyer share Pooh-Bah, the Lord High Everything Else.
The role of Nanki-Poo’s lover, Yum-Yum, features two newcomers to POP, Samantha Geraci-Yee and current reigning Miss Culver City, Katy Tang.
The two other little maids from school are Julia Aks and Jessica Mamey as Pitti-Sing and Elizabeth Rigby Jones and Aubrey Scarr as Peep-Bo.
In yet another twist which may surprise people who have seen it before, Pish-Tush will be played as conjoined twins – Daniel Cheng and Joseph von Bühler will be joined at the hip for all nine shows. Also appearing in every show of the run is Adelaide Sinclair as Katisha, a role she has performed throughout the United States over 200 times.
With such an amazing array of veteran and emerging talent, there is sure to be something in this performance for seasoned opera-goers and newcomers alike.
General admission $30; Students/seniors: $20. Performances will be held Sept. 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22. Sunday performances are at 4 pm, all others at 8 pm.
The Miles Memorial Playhouse is located at 1104 Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica.
For more information, call 323.739.6122 or visit www.pacificoperaproject.com.