The Mikado
The Mikado
Libretto by W. S. Gilbert | Music by Arthur Sullivan | Orchestration by Peter Murray
Gilbert and Sullivan are the undisputed masters of comic operetta and the proud parents of the modern musical. That their works are more in demand today than when they were created over a century ago is ample proof of their lasting brilliance. The hapless lovers in THE MIKADO are mercilessly buffeted by social restrictions, legal inconsistencies, judicial inequities, government stupidities, and that's just the first act! Poor dears - it would be absolutely tragic if it weren't so hysterically funny.
Participate in the R&H Online Community.Leave comments or talk with other fans in the forum!

About The Show

History for The Mikado

Production Info


Create/Order Merch for The Mikado

To request the rights to make merchandise for this show email brian.sherman@rnh.com.

Fan Info:

News for The Mikado

Trivia for The Mikado

In 1885, THE MIKADO opened at the Savoy Theatre in London where it ran for 672 performances.
The birthday of W.S. Gilbert, born 1836. Gilbert was the lyricist for the partnership Gilbert & Sullivan, renowned for comic operas including H.M.S. PINAFORE, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and THE MIKADO.
In 1842 Arthur Sullivan was born; the composer collaborated with partner W.S. Gilbert on iconic comic operas including THE MIKADO, H.M.S. PINAFORE, and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE.

 Press for The Mikado

  • Quotes
"Glorious music." — Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, January 01, 1995
"The Gilbert and Sullivan repertory is catnip to the stage addict with a nimble tongue." — Bernard Holland, The New York Times, January 01, 2006

Musical Numbers for The Mikado

Song #
Song Name
Character Name
Play
Other Versions

Widely agreed to be Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpiece, THE MIKADO is said to be the most popular operetta ever written. Its inspiration, immortalized in the film Topsy-Turvy, has become legend: W.S. Gilbert was pacing his study, racking his brain for a new idea, when suddenly, a crash startled him out of his thoughts. He turned around, and there on his desk was an ancient Japanese sword. It had been mounted on the wall for years as a decoration, but now Gilbert looked upon it as though seeing it for the first time. A sign! He decided to write his next show about Japan.

Of course, like so many legends, this one is of very uncertain origin. Still, the real story of THE MIKADO's creation is as arresting as fiction. It was the summer of 1884, and the partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan seemed to be nearing an unhappy end: as their latest show, PRINCESS IDA, flopped at the box office, the two men were fighting over creative differences. Gilbert wanted to write a new show about a magic pill that transformed the identity of whoever swallowed it; Sullivan, on the other hand, was fed up altogether with the comic-opera genre, which he felt was inane and unworthy of his talents. Their producer, Richard D'Oyly Carte, pleaded with them to patch things up, if for no other reason than a contractual obligation to write a new show. But it was difficult for Gilbert and Sullivan to collaborate when they weren't even on speaking terms.

Gilbert later said that he was inspired by the decorative samurai sword on his wall; whether or not it literally fell, his idea nonetheless landed with a resounding bang. To everyone's relief, Sullivan loved Gilbert's story for THE MIKADO, since he found it to be more logical and character-driven than their other operas. He was also excited to try composing in a new, Japanese-influenced style, and he researched enthusiastically; he even added to the score a real Japanese war chant, “Miya Sama, Miaya Sama,” which he had learned from a former British diplomat to Tokyo. Fortunately for Gilbert and Sullivan, England was in the midst of a surge of interest in Japan, which had first opened up to Western trade only 30 years before. There even happened to be an entire Japanese exhibition in Knightbridge, which Gilbert eagerly used for research.

The failure of PRINCESS IDA put Gilbert and Sullivan under higher pressure than ever to produce a hit. Their star George Grossmith, who played Ko-Ko, was so anxious that he took injections of drugs; Gilbert wanted to cut the Mikado's only song and had to be persuaded not to. For luck, Gilbert had Grossmith make his first entrance wielding that old samurai sword that started it all.

THE MIKADO opened at London’s Savoy Theatre on March 14, 1885, after which Sullivan wrote in his diary: “Seven encores were taken. Never during the whole of my experience have I assisted at such an enthusiastic first night as greeted this delightful work.” Hardly daring to hope, he saw “every sign of a real success.”

Indeed, the show was an instant hit: it had the longest run of any Savoy opera (672 performances), as well as the quickest revival (17 months after the first run closed). It was a triumphant return to form for Gilbert and Sullivan. THE MIKADO was so popular that it had five separate companies touring North America simultaneously; one evening in 1886, there were 170 performances being performed in the United States alone. Piracy and unauthorized productions became such a problem that D’Oyly Carte took to holding secret rehearsals in other countries!

Today, THE MIKADO is a beloved classic. The role of Ko-Ko has been played by Groucho Marx, Eric Idle, and Dudley Moore; the name of the character Pooh-Bah has even entered the cultural lexicon as its own word, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person holding many offices or positions” or “a person in high position or of great influence.”The show continues to be the most frequently performed Gilbert and Sullivan show, with the highest number of recordings.

It is hard to believe nowadays that THE MIKADO nearly didn't exist at all—that Gilbert would rather have written a different story about a magic pill, or that until the perfect idea arrived, Sullivan considered comic operas to be beneath him. Perhaps we should all be grateful for Sullivan's reluctance, for even today, it is difficult to imagine another operetta being as masterful and enduring as THE MIKADO.


Awards for The Mikado

Vocal Range of Characters:

Photos for The Mikado

// Photos

Writers Notes for The Mikado

Performance Tools for The Mikado

Playbill VIP:

MAKE YOUR OWN PLAYBILL! Playbill VIP allows you to create your very own Playbill Program. We have provided Playbill with all of the credits, song listings, musical numbers and more so that most of the work is already done for you. Just add your productions details, photos of the cast and share it with all of your friends. Learn more: www.playbillvip.com


Rental Materials for The Mikado

STANDARD

  • THE MIKADO - Orchestration Package (14 Books/16 Players)
    • 1 – FULL SCORE (CONDUCTOR)
    • 1 – FLUTE (Doubling Piccolo)
    • 1 – OBOE
    • 1 – CLARINET (Doubling A Clarinet)
    • 1 – HORN
    • 1 – TRUMPET (Optional A Trumpet)
    • 1 – TROMBONE (with F Attachment)
    • 2 – PERCUSSION (see "Materials Notes", under "Production Information")
    • 1 – VIOLIN I (Divisi)
    • 1 – VIOLIN II (Divisi)
    • 1 – VIOLA (Divisi)
    • 1 – CELLO
    • 1 – BASS
  • Rehearsal Set (22 Books)
    • 20 – Libretto-Vocal Books
    • 1 – Logo CD
    • 2 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE
    • Digital Logo

ADDITIONAL

  • Libretto/Vocal Books 10 pack
    • 10 – Libretto-Vocal Books
  • THE MIKADO - PRE-PRODUCTION PACKAGE
    • 1 – Libretto-Vocal Books
    • 1 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE

Cast Requirements for The Mikado

PRINCIPALS
4 Women
5 Men

ENSEMBLE
Singing-dancing ensemble consisting of School-Girls, Nobles, Guards and Coolies.

CHARACTERS
The Mikado of Japan
Nanki-Poo - his son, disguised as a wandering minstrel, and in love with Yum-Yum
Ko-Ko - Lord High Executioner of Titipu
Pooh-Bah - Lord High Everything Else
Pish-Tush - a noble lord
Yum-Yum - sister of Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo, Ward of Ko-Ko
Pitti-Sing - sister of Yum-Yum and Peep-Bo, Ward of Ko-Ko
Peep-Bo - sister of Yum-Yum and Pitti-Sing, Ward of Ko-Ko
Katisha - and elderly lady, in love with Nanki-Poo
Chorus of School-Girls, Nobles, Guards and Coolies

Set Requirements for The Mikado

THE MIKADO takes place in Japan.

SPECIFIC LOCATIONS
Court-yard of Ko-Ko's Official Residence
Ko-Ko's Garden

Materials Notes

ORCHESTRATION NOTE: Orchestration based on the D'Oyly Carte originals.
(2 Players) Cymbals, Bass Drum, Side Drum, Triangle, Snare Drum, Timpani (2)

Media Rights

Promotional

1. The Promotional Video shall be recorded and shown for the sole purposes of advertising your licensed production of the Play. For such a video, R&H allows theatres to film up to 10 minutes of total footage taken at either a performance or rehearsal (i.e.: 10 minutes of scripted moments.)

2. The Promotional Video may not include more than (i) 1 minute from any song or (ii) 3 minutes, in the aggregate, of footage of copyrighted material from the Play.

3. The Promotional Video may not include any sponsorship or underwriting without the prior consent of all R&H.

4. The Promotional Video must be submitted to R&H by sending the source video and video link to editor@rnh.com.

5. The Promotional Video must include the following: "Rights courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein, www.rnh.com"

6. Upon approval by R&H of the Promotional Video, you agree not to make any alterations in the approved copyrighted material used therein and you agree to obtain the prior written approval of R&H for any other use of the Promotional Video not specifically granted herein.

7. Upon termination of the Term, you shall cease to have any rights to use the Promotional Video including, without limitation, in connection with a future production of the Play, and shall immediately remove its content from any and all websites on the Internet.

8. You may not use a commercially available recording.

9. Any additional promotional rights must be approved by R&H by contactingTheatre@rnh.com.

 

*Promotional video rights can only be granted once a performance license for The Mikado has been secured. Please contact customer service if you have any questions. If you have not yet applied for The Mikado, you can do so here. LOG IN to learn more.

Archival

1. Subject to the information provided in Licensee’s application and payment of the fee as set forth in Paragraph 3 herein, Licensee shall have the right to create a single copy of the Video for internal archival, private viewing purposes at Licensee’s address only and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved.

WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine.

This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present The Mikado in order to license Archival rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.

Distribution

1. Licensee shall have the right to create the Video and to make up to one hundred (100) copies of the Video for sale at cost to its Members for internal archival, private viewing purpose at Licensee’s address and for private, home-viewing purpose by Members, and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone other than the Members (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved. WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine. This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present The Mikado in order to license Distribution rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.
Select artwork to see description. Learn About Our Artwork