The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 24, 2012

Jo Ellis: Gilbert and Sullivan musical coming to Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — You know how some songs or scraps of songs stick with you, showing up at odd times and tweaking old memories? That has happened to me with one of the songs from “The Mikado.”

More years ago than I care to remember, I was in a musical parody skit that used the song “Three Little Maids” from “The Mikado” to raise money for a charitable event. The words and the music (at least from the first couple of lines) have never left my mind, and I find myself humming the tune often.

So be forewarned that the music in Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Mikado” may stick with you for a long, long time. It is interesting to me that the lyrics by W.S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan, for the operatic comedy’s debut in 1885, have remained popular and relevant to this age, 127 years later.

The comic opera in two acts has been translated into numerous languages. Gilbert and Sullivan wrote the libretto and music at a time when interest in Japanese culture was at its height in Britain. It was the ninth of 14 productions written by the famed duo for the Savoy Theatre in London.

By locating the opera in what seemed like an exotic locale, Gilbert was allowed to satirize British politics and institutions indirectly, and raise questions about the irony and ridiculousness of some laws and government agencies in Victorian England.

Director Shanti Navarre said the local production will stick largely to the traditional version, with only a couple of modern references thrown in. Navarre made the majority of the costumes, but had some help with the obis and belts.

The cast features Richard Merriman II as the Mikado, Kevin Nolte as Nanki-Poo, John Tsangaris as Ko-Ko, Daniel Burkett as Pooh-Bah, Trent Bauer as Pish-Tush, Roberta Shilane as Katisha, Julia Oney as Wi-Ting, and Jennifer Brothers as Pe-Koe. The Three Little Maids are Cheyla Navarre as Yum-Yum, Olivia Donell as Pitti-Sing and Deborah Stevens as Peep-Bo.

The play opens Thursday, with 6 p.m. dinner shows continuing Friday and Saturday and a matinee performance at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

The same schedule will be repeated the following week, Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 8.

Admission is $25 for adults; $22 for seniors over 55 and youths 13-18; $13 for children 6-12; and free for children 5 and under. Reservations may be made by calling the theater at 417-358-9665, or online at

“Three little maids from school are we,

pert as a school-girl well can be,

filled to the brim with girlish glee ...”

Darn it, there I go again.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email

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