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A Gilbert & Sullivan showdown: ‘Wild West Mikado’ plays at Sequim’s Olympic Theatre Arts
“With a twist” may be a good phrase to sum up Readers Theatre Plus and Peninsula Singers’ latest production of another Gilbert and Sullivan classic.
The stage group brings back “The Mikado” but this time with gun fights, southern accents and a country western score as the “Wild West Mikado” by Wes Finlay and Don Weller.
Shows begin June 20 in Olympic Theatre Arts’ Gathering Hall, 414 N. Sequim Ave., and go through June 29. The show has moved from Sequim Prairie Grange and previously purchased tickets will be honored.
The adaptation by Wes Finlay is the first official adaptation since “Hot Mikado” in 1939.
Assistant director Carol Swarbrick Dries said Finlay found an orchestrator (Don Weller) who used the same notes and chords from each song in “The Mikado” but re-orchestrated them to country western tunes.
“There are gun fights instead of sword fights and it pretty much takes place all in a saloon,” Swarbrick Dries said.
The story, aside from the setting, remains the same as its original play. A mysterious stranger, Frankie Poo, played by Trent Pomeroy, arrives in Titipu and shares how he fell in love several months prior with Yum-Yum, played by Karen Pritchard. Frankie Poo learns she’s committed to Ko-Ko, played by Joel Yelland, but is found guilty of flirting, which is punishable by death so Frankie Poo seeks to reclaim his true love.
The three principal actors return from “The Mikado” a year ago, which Swarbrick Dries said has been a quick transition for them to learn the tunes and their lines.
She said last year’s shows had an “extraordinary reception,” too.
Swarbrick Dries has been in touch with Finlay and he plans to attend the opening night production on June 20.
“We’re excited and nervous,” she said.
A few other theaters are looking to do productions, she said, but since they’ve been in contact for a while, they are one of the first to produce it in some time.
Those on the fence about attending, Swarbrick Dries said Finlay summed it up well saying said “Wild West Mikado” is “Gilbert and Sullivan for people who don’t like Gilbert and Sullivan.”
Dewey Ehling returns to direct music for the shows along with stage direction from Swarbrick Dries, Janice Parks as musical assistant director and Pat Marcy as accompanist.
The remainder of the cast includes Ric Munhall, John Silver, Carl Honore, Valerie Lape, Bonnie Christianson, Linda Grubb, Pat Owens, Arie Vlaardingerbroeck, Ron Corrado, Milton Patrie, Marilyn Carlson, Dorothy Hensey, Karla Morgan, Elizabeth Perez and Carole Welk.
During the show, Readers Theatre Plus holds its silent auction as its major fundraiser for the year and will continue through the production with the highest bidders announced after June 29.
For more information, see www.readerstheatreplus.com.
‘Wild West Mikado’
Presented by Readers Theatre Plus and Peninsula Singers
New venue: Olympic Theatre Arts’ Gathering Hall, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Showtimes: 7 p.m. June 20-21, 26-28 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22, 29
Tickets: $12 in advance at Purple Haze Lavender Store in Sequim and Odyssey Books in Port Angeles; $15 at the door if available. Silent auction each night.
More info: www.readerstheatreplus.com