Who will be on Ko-Ko's list?
One thing's for sure. With Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta "The Mikado," which Opera Omaha is staging Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the Orpheum, some local names will be included.
Ko-Ko, a former tailor promoted to become the Lord-High Executioner, must perform one execution per day or he'll lose his job — and his head. The wandering minstrel Nanki-Poo is a likely candidate, since his sweetheart Yum-Yum is engaged to someone else.
Before Ko-Ko works his way through his list, though, the Mikado, exalted ruler of Japan, will have something to say.
The show's blend of charm, silliness and gentle satire of British institutions is what has kept it the most popular of Gilbert & Sullivan's 14 operettas since it opened in 1885.
For Opera Omaha, the cast features Brian-Mark Conover as Ko-Ko, William Ferguson as Nanki-Poo, Sarah Lawrence as Yum-Yum, and Kevin Short as the Mikado. Also featured: Melissa Parks as Katisha, Terry Hodges as Pooh-Bah, Kirk Vaughn Robinson as Pish Tush, Jodi Frisbie Reese as Peep-Bo and Leanne Hill Carlson as Pitti-Sing.
"I just love the wit. And the rhythm," stage director Dorothy Danner said of "The Mikado," which she has directed many times. "I never tire of it. And the show always changes, depending on the chemistry among the characters."
Stewart Robinson returns to Omaha to conduct the Omaha Symphony and the Opera Omaha Chorus. Scenery is courtesy of Opera New Jersey, and costumes are from Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee and the Utah Symphony & Opera.
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