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The Mikado

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Gary Slavin
February 4, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director/Choreographer.

What is your show about?
A Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and often considered their very best work, The Mikado follows the unusual events which unfold when the son of Japan's Mikado, in disguise, falls in Love with a beautiful maid whom he cannot marry because she is engaged to the Lord High Executioner, who cannot execute anyone because he doesn't know how, but the Mikado is on his way demanding that an execution happen, and the formidable Katisha, to whom the Mikado's son was promised in marriage, arrives unexpectedly,determined to have her way, which leads to singing, dancing, lying, jokes and potential boiling in oil.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
In high school. It was the first place I ever felt entirely at home, in a mix of interesting, creative, fabulous beauties, freaks, strangers, misfits and TALENT and I knew it was safe there. And then I realized that it's a mutual experience, like a circular reference in an equation: the more we give to the audience, the more we get back, and the more we get back, the more we have to give. It serves everyone involved, and allows everyone to have an imagination, without which the daily routine is just that.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
is both an outstandingly fun evening at the theater and a charitable endeavor benefiting people other than our organization. The Blue Hill Troupe (www.bht.org) gives all of its net proceeds to a NYC based charity every year, nearly three million dollars at last counting. (This year the GO Project, www.goprojectnyc.org)So not only do we entertain, with great singers and a full orchestra in a fully staged acoustic production in gorgeous theater, we are using our collective and wildly diverse talents to make the world a better place. Beyond that, The Mikado is a laugh riot with stunningly beautiful music and we are....how shall I say this?....not slaves to tradition. If you think you don't like Gilbert and Sullivan, you haven't seen us. AND you can deduct any ticket cost over $20 from your taxes! It's win-win-win!

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
We have a female character who is portrayed as less than attractive, and she is made the object of some dislike and ridicule because the plot says so. But she has a heart, and wants what she wants very much, even if her methods of obtaining it are questionable. And, in the second act, she shares her heart in a gorgeous, simple aria. I Love that this seemingly unattractive character reveals so much heart and honest sadness. We've all been there, we've all been the person shut out, the one who didn't get asked to the dance, the one who was entirely misunderstood for things beyond our control, and our two actors in this piece illuminate this character beautifully. (AND THEN there's the way the show opens!!! Totally worth seeing - I Love a good theater surprise.)

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
Bugs Bunny, definitely. He's my hero. He could do/be/say anything, and get away with it - and remain Lovable throughout,and was never ever a bad guy, and was unfailingly funny. Mischievous, yes, bad, no. That's the show in a nutshell.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I'd hire the best, most collaborative actors, singers, dancers, musicians, directors and designers and guarantee them an artistic home (including a consistent living wage!) and then see what great work we could make.