April 13, 2004 > American High School Gets Hot for Mikado
American High School Gets Hot for Mikado
by Susana Nu&241;ez
The acclaimed operetta, The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan has been revamped by American High School. With twenty-four major musical numbers, the piece is very high-energy and entertaining but the AHS Drama Department, headed by Lisa Brunolli, is sure to give audiences a great performance. After the success of the more solemn Brighton Beach last fall, a more happy-go-lucky route seems only fitting. What better musical to mark the end of the year than The Mikado, or as the Drama Department has re-titled it, "Hot Mikado."
The story of The Mikado revolves around Nanki-Poo, a young man who has banished himself from the town of Titipu. He has fallen in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum, yet she is engaged to her guardian, the tailor Ko-Ko. When Nanki-Poo hears that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for the vile act of flirting, he quickly returns to Titipu. To his dismay, he finds that Ko-Ko has been granted a reprieve and even promoted to Lord High Executioner.
In an attempt to slow down the number of deaths by execution, city fathers come to the conclusion that since Ko-Ko was next in line to be executed, no one else may be executed until he cuts off his own head. The Mikado steps in after seeing the shortage of deaths and decrees that if no executions take place within the time of one month, the status of Titipu will be reduced to that of a village.
Ko-Ko vows to find a substitute to take his place and, to his good fortune, discovers Nanki-Poo's love for his fiancˇ Yum-Yum. He decides to use this to his advantage and offers Nanki-Poo a month of lavish living along with Yum-Yum in exchange for his head at the end of the month. Nanki-Poo agrees to these conditions. However, after Nanki-Poo marries Yum-Yum, he discovers a law that states that an executed man's wife must be buried alive with his corpse!
After dozens of hopefuls tried out for the musical, a talented cast was finally chosen. Jason Pak will be performing the role of Nanki-Poo, with his Yum-Yum played by April Labson. Yum-Yum's sisters will be played by Nicole Ogata, Peep-Bo, and Marissa Navarro, Pitti-Sing. Ko-Ko will be played by Tony Franco, the Mikado by Tim Saenz, and finally Heather English will be Katisha. A few of the actors are veterans, along with much of the Technical Crew. The Student Director of the film, Desiree DiFranco, will be working alongside Veronica So, the Costume and Set Designer, as well as the Lighting Designers Jesse Dymond and Marika Kent.
Lisa Brunolli stated, "The cast is amazing; the most talented and unselfish group of individuals that I've worked with in a long time. The audience that comes to see it will feel the family vibe. They're a group of kids that understand what theatre is all about."
The musical is rated G and opens on April 29 at 3:30pm and continues from April 30-May 8 at 7pm. Ticket prices for students is $5, $7 for general admission, and $8 reserved. Call (510) 796-1776 ext. 57702 for tickets and information.