IN TUNE: Hilarious hijinks at the symphony

We have a fantastic concert coming up on Friday, Oct. 27 at Bethel Auditorium in Crown Point that you will not want to miss. I can 100 percent guarantee that you will have the best time ever!

It is the rollicking, laugh-filled masterpiece of Gilbert and Sullivan — “The Mikado.” 

As we all know, this is the comic-farce that pokes fun at the ridiculous House of Lords, the system of government, the idiocy and inequities of the laws and the corruption that was going on in late 19th century Victorian England. However, Gilbert and Sullivan had to disguise what they were addressing so they dressed it up in a Japanese setting with an all powerful, nutcase of a Mikado and his equally nutty lords.

In the 1880s, this was the first time that Japanese ambassadors had traveled to England and brought with them examples of the culture of Japan. The British were of course fascinated by this: the kabuki theatre, the Japanese tea ceremony, the way of dressing, the way of walking, the way of doing hair and makeup, the ways of addressing each other … all of it.

Sullivan was exposed to this by his wife and it was in this way that he came upon the plan to do this comedy using Japanese characters.

By the way, at the 6:15 p.m. pre-concert talk at Bethel, I will be discussing the Oscar-winning movie, “Topsy-Turvy,” which shows the seminal moments of Sullivan’s idea, the rehearsal process at the time and some of the period performances that ensued.

The cast is astonishing. You will remember Alisa Jordheim, who wowed you in our Rodgers and Hammerstein concert last season. (When you meet her afterward, you can call her Peanut … that is my nickname for her. She will laugh.) She plays Yum-Yum, the young lady that Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko both love. Alisa, after she leaves us, will next sing at the Paris opera.

Our “Mikado,” Ted Pickell, is the most hilarious Mikado that I am sure I will ever have the pleasure of working with. He shared with me that before he became a singer he really spent his time doing acting and as a child was in many theatre pieces. This Mikado-dude is really a blast!

David Govertsen and Sam Handley are both recent alums of the world famous Lyric Opera Ryan Center in Chicago. Sam plays Pish-Tush a snooty lord of the land. David plays Pooh-Bah, whose title is “the lord high everything else.”

You get my point about this piece making fun of government — especially the Victorian government of 1885.

And of course the entire Symphony Chorus will be there. The chorus men will be commanding us to, “behold the lord high executioner!” as Ko-Ko makes his appearance.

(Poor Ko-Ko, he used to be a poor tailor, thrown in jail for no reason at all, and now upon release he must behead almost everyone — including HIMSELF, as he too, has committed the crime of flirting!)

And the ladies of the chorus will be chiming in at the end of the famous, chirping the song “Three Little Maids from School.”

It is a concert version, but we have costumes and wigs and makeup — and of course a big sword to cut everyone’s head off with, eh?

I hope that you will join us for this truly hilarious evening.

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