Sequim Gazette staff
The Gilbert and Sullivan tradition continues this weekend for Readers Theatre Plus with its over-the-top production of “The Mikado.”
Maestro Dewey Ehling said this is the first time for the production on their stage and covers the final portion of Gilbert and Sullivan’s big three, which includes “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”
“We hope to do all 14 of theirs eventually,” he said.
“The Mikado” opens June 21 at the Dungeness Schoolhouse and runs through June 30 with all proceeds benefiting Readers Theatre Plus, Peninsula Singers and the Museum & Arts Center in the
Accompanist Pat Marcy said the play is typical Gilbert and Sullivan.
“It’s fast-paced and funny,” she said. “It calls forth everyone’s talents and you have to be good singers with this music.”
“The Mikado” follows Nanki-Poo, played by Trent Pomeroy, the son of the royal Mikado, who arrives in Titipu, Japan, disguised as a peasant looking for Yum-Yum, played by Karen Pritchard. Disguising his identity, Nanki-Poo explains that he has fallen in love with her months before despite her being engaged to Ko-Ko, (Joel Yelland) a tailor. He has learned that Ko-Ko was found guilty of flirting, a crime punishable by death, so Nanki-Poo comes back to take his true love, Yum-Yum.
Marcy said the plot is very convoluted but that’s what makes it so fun. “It’s a good evening of entertainment,” she said.
Ehling said after working in Gilbert and Sullivan musicals for years, he finds they encompass the extremes of human behavior. But the music is what grabs his attention most.
“The patter song (fast and chock full of words) is the greatest thing they developed,” he said. “It usually consists of a whole line of notes and every note has a syllable.”
Everyone has a favorite song, Ehling said, his being the “On a tree by a river” because of its meaning tying the story together.
Marcy loves “A more humane Mikado,” particularly how Ric Munhall plays the leader. “It’s such a well-put together scene,” she said. “It’s fun and the words and music go together so well that it’s one of the highlights of the show.”
At the least, Ehling said, the music should engage viewers.
To keep Readers Theatre Plus going, this annual Gilbert and Sullivan production is particularly important, said Jim Dries, co-founder of the nonprofit.
While funds are split three ways from ticket sales at this event, Readers Theatre’s portion helps the group pay for next year’s rental space, royalties and equipment. For all six productions, they’ll also host a silent auction with more than 80 local and handmade goods, and a raffle to help their cause.
Dries said in the last year, RT+ has given nearly $30,000 to local nonprofits including $4,800 in scholarships to students in Sequim and Port Angeles.
Annually, the scholarship total has gone up because of increasing support from the community for Readers Theatre Plus, he said.
This year, more than 50 performers volunteered their time with the group.
Following the Sunday, June 30, performance, the group hosts its second Dewey Awards at 4:30 p.m. to honor performers in the past year’s productions.
Visit readerstheatreplus.com or call 797-3337.