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The Mikado
a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA MUSICAL
by Gilbert & Sullivan

COMPANY : Theatre Arts Guild
VENUE : Georgia Perimeter College - Marvin Cole Auditorium
ID# 2677

SHOWING : February 01, 2008 - February 10, 2008

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A comic operetta with a Japanese theme but a British Victorian sensibility. A town falls into the hands of dubious men: Ko-Ko, in charge of public executions, and Pooh Bah, who has a finger in every pie. The son of the Emperor Mikado arrives, fleeing an arranged marriage to the elderly Katisha, and he falls for beautiful Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko's fiance. When the Mikado arrives, thirsty for executions, Ko-Ko thinks he has the perfect plan - until Katisha turns up, bent on revenge.


CAST & CREW LIST
Musical Director Susan J. McEwen
Procuction Manager/Lighting Designer Jennifer Jenkins
Costume/Set Design Joanna Schmink
Wig Design J. Montgomery Schuth
Accompanist Patrick Hutchinson
Chorus-Tenor Jay Aiken
Chorus-Tenor Richard Beaubien
Pooh Bah Matthew Carter
Chorus-Bass Gary Casten
Chorus-Soprano Ebony Collier
Technical Director Lizz Dorsey
Chorus-Alto Marsha Powell Forbragd
Mikado Jeffrey David Gibb
Chorus-Tenor Aaron Gotlieb
Pish Tush Kevin Harry
Chorus-Alto Cheri Kennelley
Chorus-Soprano Judit Llorens
Chorus-Bass Barna Lumpkin
Peep Bo Lindsey Martin
Nanki Poo Marc Megahee
Ko Ko Nicholas Morrett
Chorus-Alto Cathy Poley
Katisha Katie Rouse
Chorus-Bass David Stephens
Pitti Sing Ava Thibodeau
Chorus-Tenor William Houston West
Chorus-Soprano Carol Ann Wyndelts
Yum Yum Camilla Zaepfel
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Wonderful Performance
by MrsChris
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
4.5
New to this area as an adjunct professor with a background in musical theater, I was enthused to go to this performance of The Mikado. It was a wonderful way to spend a day! For a cast comprised of college students still working on formal training and community actors, this show was well done. I give credit to the costume manager for their wonderful work on the show and to the director for their choices in actors. The voices were a wonderful blend and you can see promise in many of the artists. Mikado (Jeffrey Gibb), Peep Bo (Lindsey Martin), and Yum Yum (Camilla Zaepfel) I feel were casted appropriately. The chorus did a wonderful job in this show as well and was very well rehearsed.

In regards to comments others have made on here, have you perhaps thought that these are not professional actors, therefore in no way deserve to be subjected to your banter? Perhaps you should consider sticking to reviewing American Idol instead of true young talent that which has yet to be cultivated and is still maturing. For the comments about type casting based on physical appearance could not be more true in the sense that one must always consider an actors physical build for parts. You do not see a 4’9 male casted as a prince with a 6’1 counterpart, nor do you see professionals in shows that have the appearance of teenager casted in roles of adults. You need to understand that vocal performance, acting abilities and physical stage presence will ALWAYS take priority when casting a role. Some have said that some of the voices were under trained, and you could not be more off. They have simply not matured to their full abilities yet.

The entire production of this show, from the strongest voice to the basic stage hand should be commended on the entire performance and I look forward to becoming a patron of this area and the shows that are offered. I personally would be honored to have Jeffery Gibb or Camilla Zaepfel join my school for our Opera Scenes any time they could.
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Now that's entertainment you can't get from your couch!
by zena7491
Friday, February 22, 2008
4.0
It’s obvious that the first person to review this production of The Mikado was looking for a more “classical operatic” version instead of this comedic presentation. I personally went to enjoy live comedic musical theater in the setting of British humor (not always appreciated by some) delivered by local professionals. I got exactly what I went for. Not only did the actors deliver entertainment not achieved by sitting on one’s sofa with the boob tube blasting but the production as a whole was so successful that the audience was guffawing throughout not only opening night but closing matinee as well. These actors GAVE their time, energy and effort (sans pay) to entertain everyone; even the sourpusses. And entertain they did!

The easy part of this review is the costumes and stage. The costumes and wigs were beautiful and the stage perfect for smooth transition between scenes for the actors. Sally Robertson did a fabulous job culling the auditioning artists to pick the right group for what she had in mind; casting the right people perfectly. Her decision to ad current information to the dialogue developed yet another surprising layer of humor to the production as does a good, carefully used condiment. It helped keep the audience connected to the production. Susan McEwen’s tireless energy was apparent in the orchestral delivery. Even though the horn section was weak at first, they pulled it together for the closing matinee.

Camilla Zaepfel WAS Yum-Yum as Nick Morrett WAS Ko-Ko and Katie Rouse WAS Katisha. Their unique, professional touches enhanced the character development of their respective performed personalities. Jeffrey Gibb’s obvious operatic experience sometimes gave him difficulty in the delivery of simple lines but he evolved and was magnificent in his closing performance. Matthew Carter’s incredible comedic timing was sheer perfection in his portrayal of Pooh-Bah which can only come from innate talent honed by years of experience. Lindsey Martin’s albeit limited appearance was refreshing and energetic. Ava Thibodeau’s rich mezzo soprano voice enhanced the scenes deliciously. Her facial expressions were the “exclamation mark” to all the comedy taking place on the stage around her and I found myself guffawing in delight at her understanding of her part. Kevin Harry was not only added “eye candy” to the stage but “ear candy” as well. His touches of his own brand of dramatic comedy were well timed and successful. Marcus Megahee’s duets with Camilla were a delightful, convincing blend which left me swooning at their combined talent. Last but not least, Aaron Gotlieb’s quiet, black, background comedic relief was fabulous. His was timing impeccable and became something to look forward to in the upcoming scenes.

After going opening night, I emailed about 50 of my friends to encourage them to get off their couches and come witness an amazing production of live, musical theater. I got back about 25 emails thanking me for my recommendation. After all, it is the “lay person” who digs into their pockets and comprises the majority of the viewing audience and should be the target for entertainment. This production encourages me to renew my love of theater by attending more performances – both musical and non. Thanks guys!
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Pity to be invisible by LowlyChorusMember
Speaking from the chorus, it is a shame that you did not hear or notice us enough to make a statement regarding the ensemble. Sure it's great to be a lead, and I have been one many times. However, this time I was invited to join the chorus and did.

It was very difficult to be in the chorus in this show, hardly a walk-on role. We worked just as hard, attended more rehearsals and did basically everything the leads did, and your reaction ... er, um, ... no comment. Hell, even the set, costumes and wigs got a plug from you. (They were top-notch and Joanna and Monty were great to work with, BTW.)

You were right on target with your comments about Susan McEwen. Susan is an incredible MD. She is a professional and knows her stuff. I learned much from her. (I'm surprised you did not mention her work with the singers, though.)

Anyway, I'm glad you came and even returned to see us, even if it wasn't due to my efforts.
chorusline by zena7491
No mention of the hard work by the chorus was an error I realized only after submitting my comments. As a chorus member myself of yesteryear, I understand the importance of every member of a cast. My only real concern was to remind the reading public that performances like these are vital to a community on many levels.
What are they teaching these kids?
by tenorino05
Friday, February 22, 2008
1.0
It has to be said. I'm sorry for sounding so negative, but I'm trying to find constructive ways to say things. Frankly, I'm not sorry about what I have to say. I do feel sorry for the students that participated in this production. I thought very long and hard about what to say about TAG's production of The Mikado. In summation, I felt that this was a valiant yet feeble attempt at classic music literature.

Before I begin giving my humble opinion, I am not about degrading a performance by any means. However, TAG list themselves as an Education Theatrical institution. Frankly, I find it appalling that Susan J. McEwen and Sally Robertson consider any part of this production educational.

One: Gilbert and Sullivan is NOT musical theatre. It is operetta. It is as different as night and day. It is never appropriate to masquerade operetta as early musical theatre. From what I read in the bios of the cast, many of the students were vocal performance majors. For that, I can forgive TAG for doing an operetta. However, leave operetta to Opera Workshops and Opera Theatre programs. When doing an operetta, cast legitimate classically trained singers. I hated that I heard some contemporary pop-style musical theatre voices, but it wasn't the singer's fault so much the direction that allowed that to occur.

Two (and this will sound redundant at first): The Mikado is an operetta; not a musical. There should be NO amplification used. If you do not have young voices that are mature enough to sing over an orchestra, don't perform the show. If you do not have young voices that are mature enough to sing over an orchestra, use a double-piano reduction. The beauty of operetta and opera is that the listener can hear the beauty of the voice. I find it very hard to enjoy the naturally occurring sounds when it's being run through a sound system. This isn't RENT. The amplification did not help the horrendous diction throughout the show. This cast could not sing classically in the English language. Any attempts at a neutral or British accent was muddled. I'm pretty sure this was due to a lack of coaching. There is nothing pretty about the retroflex r sound when it is not even followed by an ending consonant. Inexcusable Ms. McEwen!

Three: I felt that many of the voices were miscast throughout the cast. Both the community members and the students did an excellent job for what they were given. However, I felt that many people were misused or underutilized. The highlights of the show were Nicholas Morrett, Katie rouse, and Jeffrey David Gibb. However, I felt they were singing innappropriate roles for they voice types. Mr. Gibb has a splendid baritone voice, but G&S is not something that should be forced into his repetoire. While Katie Rouse did a wonderful job in a comedic role, she is clearly not a contralto as the role of Katisha is. Whose idea was it to cast a soubrette in that role?? Bravo to Nicholas Morrett for a job well done. Though he gave a fantastic performance, I worried for his voice throughout the production because his "tweener" voice didn't really settle into any of the baritone roles or the tenor roles. Also, I felt that Peep-Bo and Yum Yum were miscast. Within the famed trio number from The Mikado, it always seemed misbalanced. I get the feeling that there was a little physical type casting involved between the two sopranos. Non-traditional casting has long been apart of classical music. It seems misleading from an educational standpoint to cast that way when it doesn't necessarily happen in the major houses in the United States or Europe.

On the more positive side, I was visually stimulated by the set and costuming. It's a very traditional take on The Mikado, and it is always gorgeous to see. I did not, however, understand why lyrics were changed in various numbers throughout the show. If G&S is going to be modernized for any reason at all, the entire production should reflect that. Never would I have expected something as horrifying as hearing Britney Spears' name in the middle of an aria. On a side note, I found that the social commentary on her to be in bad taste. She is a real person with real problems to deal with...and her name was exploited for a cheap laugh. Unbelievable!!!

Don't get me wrong! This show was entertaining, but it seemed doomed from the start. TAG needs to consider what they are teaching and to whom they are teaching when they plan their seasons. I cannot say this enough; those students cannot learn anything if it is not catered to their needs. For the talent that was in the show, TAG should have been performing Rodgers & Hammerstein or Lerner & Loewe. And given how the production was produced, TAG should have done Godspell or Pippin. If there is a next time, I'm going to bring a fake student ID so that I don't have to pay so much to watch students get miseducated by irresponsible teachers.

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A little education is by bellsplayer
a dangerous thing. A little more could be enlightening.

Gilbert preferred actors who could sing in his productions. He also slipped in new pop culture references in later performances.

Gilbert and Sullivan is not Romberg.

JD
Topical References by Dedalus
And, it's a tradition to fill "I've Got a Little List" with contemporary references. Even the venerable Stratford Festival felt the need to refer to Leona Helmsley, Rubik's Cube, and the entire audience.

Not only that, but let's not forget that Joe Papp put on "Pirates of Penzance" with pop singers, not opera stars, and made it work.

At its basic level, G&S is makes a silliness a virtue, and there's nothing like too much reverence to really sink a production ...
Hmmm by Sonnet
I did not see this production. But this reviewer makes quite a few "I am an expert and this is how it's supposed to be done" statements that simply are not accurate. Here are a few:

1) "No amplfication should be used" because this is operetta. Clearly, the reviewer is not aware of the large number of professional G&S companies that use amplification. If this theatre was an accoustically pristine opera house, then perhaps there might be a mild argument that TAG "should" have followed the operatic tradition. But it isn't, and to insist that TAG made a major stylistic error in chosing to use amplification is ridiculous. Maybe the sound quality and/or diction were poor - I don't know. But don't jump on them for doing exactly what professional G&S companies do.

2) "I get the feeling that there was a little physical type casting involved between the two sopranos. Non-traditional casting has long been apart of classical music. It seems misleading from an educational standpoint to cast that way when it doesn't necessarily happen in the major houses in the United States or Europe."

The reviewer's statements are from another decade. These days, you have to have "the package" for opera and operetta, too.

3) The reviewer's complaints about the lyric changes/"modernization" reflect his lack of understanding that this is one of the accepted, expected conventions of G&S. Again, maybe the lyric changes weren't funny - I don't know. But don't berate TAG for utilzing the convention - knowledgeable G&S fans in the audience would have been disappointed if they HADN'T done so.

Sonnet
General Regards.. by musicalyrica
I must admit that I agree more with tenorino on this note. I'm NOT a fan of PERSONAL microphones. I think general stage mics are fine for such a young production and the particular hall. It's fantastic that there is a pit orchestra but adjust the orchestra according to the voices please!! The orchestra is there to help support the singers!

I think the most common misconception with G & S is whether to keep it the way it was written or to modernize it. I would have to agree that many people abuse this and re-write many of the lyrics. I believe in sticking to the original but know that if decide to make changes, they MUST BE GOOD and very convincing! If there are this many mixed comments, then obviously the IDEA was there but it didn't carry through as well. Trial and error, correct?

YES, many productions of this have been successful and YES, people do sing with microphones but you know that you are taking a chance when you MICROPHONE in an OPERETTA and change lyrics, what did you expect? Learn and keep on going, keep singing and hold your head up high.
Not quite what I expected, but still very pleasant and funny
by musicalyrica
Monday, February 18, 2008
2.0
This production had many positive things, but the negative out weighs the production as a whole.

The costumes, set and props were absolutely fantastic. The colors showed beautifully on stage and offered great contrast between the characters. The blocking was OK. I believe that the blocking was not convincing enough; people were moving because they were "told" to do so, not because they wanted to naturally.

There are many, MANY things to say about the individual singing. In the trio of sisters, Camilla Zaepfel (Yum Yum) did OK. She came across as a new person to the game and seemed slightly lost or uncomfortable with what she was doing. The singing was pleasant, but motions need to have more direction. Lindsey Martin (Peep-Bo) did not sing as much, but was strong when she did sing. Acting was fairly strong. Ava Thibodeau (Pitti-Sing) had quite a singing role and did fairly well, but showed that she was "counting" or otherwise seemed distracted. Katie Rouse (Katisha) seemed to be the veteran and I could feel that she knew more about what to do vocally and stagewise. Great performance from her.

Jeffrey David Gibb (Mikado) did a fantastic job in both singing and acting. Some parts almost felt too over the top, but after all, it is G & S. Nicholas Morrett (Ko Ko) did not have quite as strong of a voice, but the singing was very good and the acting was very enjoyable. Both men seem to be on top of their game. In general, most of the men in the production seemed on top of their game except for Marc Megahee (Nanki Poo). The singing was NOT strong, nor was the acting. Has potential for singing, but the role is too big for him now. I could have done without his singing for the evening.

Though the production started out strong (Great set, great chorus number & trio), everything that evening seemed to go downhill. Biggest disappointment was the fact that each character had a personal MICROPHONE. Understood that many of the members were students or community amateurs, the sound quality was annoying and made me want to leave the show at intermission. Next time, use general stage mics instead of personal mics for audience sake.

I expected more talent and preparation BUT the production did show potential and promise for a few of its characters. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
in reference to acting by lachatnoir
On the whole of the three little maids, I felt the acting was great between Lindsey Martin, Ava Thibodeau and Camilla Zaepfel. Thier timing was quick and funny. As far as Ava Thibodeau's portrayal of Pitti-Sing's character, you seem to be lacking any reasearch about the character [Pitti-Sing] at all. Pitti-Sing is drawn into the mess that Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah have created in Act one & Two and is unaware of what has taken place in Act One. Pitti-Sing is thrown to the mercy of The Mikado. Did you actually pay attention to the dialogue? I feel she did an excellent job of portraying the character of Pitti-Sing and did not appear to be lost or counting. Pish.
As for microphones, as you noted earlier, it was a cast of mixed talents; some were students, some only actors, some community members, and some with big opera voices. Obviously, some needed to be microphoned. However, some definately needed to be microphoned down.
in response to lachatnoir by musicalyrica
I agree that the trio of sisters were generally strong throughout the piece, but performance is more than just dialogue and singing on cue. In this case, it is a vocal art and a physical art. OF COURSE I listened to the dialogue - the MICROPHONES were so loud how could I not? Body language is a major visual as to what a person is thinking. If a person is not 100% sure of what they are doing, many will grasp their hands on their costume, their eyes will shift, they bob their heads to the beat, ETC

I know this is a student production, and it wasn't terrible! But I felt a sense of insecurity of notes and counting from watching Pitti-Sing because of these nervous ticks. So, if you are asking me whether I was listening to the dialoque, I ask you if you were watching her performance.
mikado at georgia perimeter college
by tbone
Sunday, February 10, 2008
4.5
We attended the last performance on Sunday 2/10 and were impressed especially with Nicholas Morrett's Ko Ko. Excellent voice and acting! Ava Thibodeau's Pitti Sing was also a stand out performance, her sweet expression and clear voice made us smile. Mathew Carter as Pooh-Bah was perfect. Very entertaining afternoon for all, from 89 year old Granny to 8 year old son. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
G&S would be rolling over in their grave, but entertaining none the less
by Miss Rose Lee
Friday, February 8, 2008
3.0
This past weekend, I attended “The Mikado” at Georgia Perimeter College put on by the Atlanta Theatre Arts Guild. As a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I found myself questioning some of the choices that were made for this production. I also felt very offended by the changes of the text. While humorous at times, they were extremely inappropriate and misplaced. The blocking of the show was just O.K.

On a positive note, the set was visually pleasing while the costumes were vibrant and the wigs were stunning. (Congrats to the creative team)Yet, the singing left something to be desired. One would think that a show that is so centered around the music that the singing would be the focus of the production, but that clearly was not the case, with the exception of a few cast members.

On a positive note, stand out performances from Nicholas Morrett as Ko-Ko, Katie Rouse as Katisha, Matthew Carter as Pooh-Bah, Kevin Harry as Pish-Tush and Lindsey Martin as Peep-Bo. Obviously a vocally challenging role for Carter, his impeccable comedic timing made up for it. Although a small role, Lindsey Martin stood out in the trio and I wish I could have heard more of her beautiful voice. The strong chemistry between Katie Rouse and Nicholas Morrett combined with their phenomenal talent and soaring voices carried the show and made the last 20 minutes the most enjoyable of the production.

On a not so positive note, the roles of Nanki-Poo played by Marc Megahee and Yum-Yum played by Camilla Zeapfel were disappointing. Their voices lacked training and their overall presence onstage revealed their inexperience in performance in general, and I found myself loosing interest whenever they were onstage. The role of The Mikado played by Jeffrey David Gibb was entertaining, but I felt overwhelmed by the size of his voice and the fact that he had trouble blending in Act One when he was a nobleman. Ava Thibodeau portrayal of Pitti-Sing was misguided and she seemed lost and confused onstage. Her voice was a darker quality and I found myself not being able to understand what she was singing. In every G&S operetta, the ensemble is the foundation of the production as a whole; without them, the production founders. For the most part, their voices were weak, their overall presence onstage was awkward and the direction they were given did not seem to fit the rest of the action on stage.

Even though it seemed the negative outweighed the positive, it was entertaining none the less and it was a great night of theatre.
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