Department of Music Presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Mikado’

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 12, 2011 — The Southeast Missouri State University Department of Music will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado” Jan. 22-23 at the River Campus.

The comic opera is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 and 3 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

“The Mikado,” with its witty, wacky plot and sparkling music, will feature guest artist and Gilbert & Sullivan specialist, Frederick Reeder, as the Mikado.  Acclaimed as “a singing actor of genius, whose impeccable enunciation and bravado match the proper stuffiness and silliness that these roles demand, Reeder will rule the court of Titipu as star-crossed courtiers, noblemen, and the Lord High Executioner, make their way through love triangles, mistaken identity, patter songs and the general silliness that has made this English operetta a favorite for generations.

The plot tells the story of Nanki-Poo, the heir to the throne of Japan. Nanki-Poo, disguised as a wandering minstrel, arrives in the town of Titipu in search of his beloved Yum-Yum. He learns that she is betrothed to her guardian Ko-Ko, and that the two are to be married that very day. Meanwhile, Ko-Ko has received a letter from the Mikado, who threatens to abolish Ko-Ko’s post of Lord High Executioner and reduce the town’s status unless a beheading takes place within a month. Upon finding Nanki-Poo about to kill himself since he can’t marry Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko offers to do the job professionally. Nanki-Poo agrees, on the condition that he be allowed to marry Yum-Yum and enjoy one month of married life before his execution.

Amidst the ensuing celebration, the elderly hag Katisha appears, claiming Nanki-Poo in marriage and threatening to reveal his true identity. To make matters worse, the young lovers learn that by the Mikado’s law, the widow of a beheaded man must be buried alive.

“How can all of this possibly be resolved with a happy ending?” asks Director Tim Schmidt, assistant professor of music at Southeast. “Come see the show to find the answer.”

Chris Goeke, chair of the Department of Music, is conducting the performance. Leslie Jones, associate professor of music, is assisting with music preparation.

Reeder, performing the role of The Mikado, received training for the classical stage at The Drama Studio in London, England.  He has made his career mainly on the musical stage, both as actor and director, and has become well known for his characterizations in the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan.  Reeder has performed regularly with the Cleveland Opera, playing the “patter” part in Gilbert & Sullivan productions, as well as numerous other character roles in opera, light opera and musical comedy. He has toured with New York City Opera, appeared at Carnegie Hall and with the Cleveland Orchestra. He also has staged and performed Gilbert & Sullivan productions for the Grant Park Festival in Chicago.

Reeder toured Europe with the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita.” He also participated in the National Tour of the 35th Anniversary Production of “My Fair Lady.” He spent five years as principal comic baritone with the Ohio Light Opera, playing roles in more than 300 performances.

He has delighted audiences throughout the country with his Pops Concert “The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan,” performing with orchestras in many cities. As guest-artist, Reeder has worked as resident actor and director with university music and theatre departments, conducting workshops and master-classes.

TicketsTickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at MetroTix.com, keyword “Mikado” or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.