From left: Adam Ousley as Nanki-Poo, Erika Refitt as Yum-Yum and Andrew Haff as Lord High Executioner, Ko-Ko
What has legendary music, infectious laughter, wow costuming and makeup, spectacular scenery and a kimono kickline? The May 2-4 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Mikado at Manchester University.
The curtain rises on the Cordier Auditorium stage on the North Manchester campus at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 4.
The vocals and orchestration of this classic satire celebrate the breadth of musical talent at Manchester University and its neighboring communities. The Mikado is a collaboration of MU’s Department of Music, Opera Workshop and Manchester Symphony Orchestra.
“We have a magnificent cast ranging in age from high school sophomores to senior citizens,” said Director Debra Lynn, professor of music. The cast includes a half-dozen alumni as well as current MU students, faculty and staff members. “I'm quite proud of the inter-generational aspect of this particular show,” added Lynn. “It is proof that one is never too old or too young take on an opera role!”
The comedy plays out in Imperial Japan, satirizing British politics and institutions in a story of two young lovers in a town where flirting is punishable by death. Ironically, Yum-Yum, the fiancé of the Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko actually is in love with Nanki-Poo, a wandering minstrel. The ruler of Japan – the Mikado – orders that someone be beheaded for such disgraceful disregard for the law.
Conducting the Manchester Symphony Orchestra in its 75th year is Scott Humphries, assistant professor of music. With more than 60 amateur and professional musicians from the community and University, the MSO is a frequent collaborator in campus musicals.
The Mikado also displays spectacular costuming, makeup and scenery, including an elaborate Japanese cherry blossom tree created by Jena Oke and Jeff Diesburg of the MU Art Department. Sara Gable of North Manchester is doing the makeup, costuming and wigs.
Tickets are $10 for adults, available at the door. There is no charge to students under 18, MU students and employees. Reservations are not necessary, but are available on the MSO website: www.manchestersymphonyorchestra.com.
The Mikado: Tarek Al-Zoughbi, junior economics major from South Bend
Lord High Executioner, Ko-Ko: Andrew Haff ’08 from North Manchester, Ind., social studies teacher for Woodside Middle School, Southwest Allen County Schools
Yum-Yum: Erika Reffitt, junior music major from Twelve Mile, Ind.
Nanki-Poo: Adam Ousley, sophomore music major from Columbia City, Ind.
Pooh-Bah: Bennett Ritchie, sophomore art major from Richmond, Ind.
Katisha: Kelly Iler, senior applied voice major from Kouts, Ind.
Pitti-Sing: Katherine Allen ’08 Haff, from North Manchester, MU staff accountant
Peep-Bo: Caitlin Kessler, senior biology-chemistry major from Kokomo, Ind.
Pish-Tush: Michael Rueff, sophomore music major from Indianapolis
High School students: Emily Lynn, Lauren Myers, Ayla Rosen and Chloe Steele of Manchester High School and Jeremy Nevil of Northfield High School.
Manchester University students: RaeAnne Schoeffler, Josh Dold and Grant Ebert
Manchester University alumni: Megan Bucher ’11, Robert Bucher ’07, Leslie Butterbaugh ’09, Bev Eichenberry ’69, Paul Fry-Miller ’75 and Julie Garber ’79.
Manchester University faculty: Mark Huntington and Michael Slavkin
Community: Lauren Milspaugh