Sitzprobe!

Written by Michaela Kane

Here we arrrrrr a mere week from Load-In for The Pirates of Penzance! This
weekend we had one of my favorite events of G&S: Sitzprobe! Where the cast and
orchestra come together for the first time to sing through the entirety of the
semester’s operetta. From the Overture to the Finale, we all had a great time singing
through classics such as “Modern Major General” and “With Cat-Like Tread.” Thanks
to our lovely music director, Mateo Lincoln ’19, it was all fun and matter patters!
The evening also featured our multi-talented board members Aaron Slipper ’18 and
Arianna Paz ’19, who continue to wow us with their musical ability. Not to mention,
the lovely co-producer and part-time flutist in the orchestra, Richard Tong ’19!
Our production is truly beginning to make waves as we get ever closer to opening
night, so be sure to not mistakenly wait leap years to get your tickets for The Pirates
of Penzance!

Click here for our show dates. We can’t wait to cast off with all of you onboard!

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Pour, O Pour the Pirate Sherry!

The summer heat finally seems to be on its way out (knock on wood), the leaves are beginning to turn golden-orange, and another fall HRG&SP production has begun! Our designers are hard at work creating costumes and a set, our musicians are busily learning their parts, and the production staff is spreading the word. This week though, the Players took a break from rehearsals and build sessions to celebrate our annual Wine and Cheese event, bringing together casts and crews from The Mikado, The Sorcerer, and this fall’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. Wine and cheese was enjoyed, esoteric puns made (and enjoyed by some, I guess), and old friends reunited after a summer away.

The party is over, but we’re all enjoying everything the fall brings—new members into the G&S family, all the challenges of mounting the most famous of Gilbert & Sullivan’s collaborations, and the anticipation of sharing that project with you.

Getting Ready for a Spring of Sorcery!

By Barra A. Peak

As our 60th Anniversary year draws to a close, we look forward to the beginning of another 60 years of HRG&SP!  What better way to kick off this new beginning than with The Sorcerer—Gilbert and Sullivan’s earliest surviving full-length collaboration?

The Sorcerer tells the story of the high-class Alexis’s fumbled attempts to make love “level all ranks” with the assistance of the sorcery and potions of J.W. Wells. Will Alexis’ ideals prevail, or will all return to the status quo after the hijinks that ensue? Unique in many respects from the rest of the G&S canon, The Sorcerer is essentially a mockery of classical opera, twisting its plot and musical tropes for comedic effect. “Novelty shows” of this type would become the basis for modern musical theatre.

We hope to see you next spring for HRG&SP’s 122nd production! Show dates are March 24-April 2. More information about specific performances and receptions will be coming soon!

 

With Joyous Shout

By Richard Tong

The curtains closed on our production of The Mikado a month ago, and since then things have been much quieter at HRG&SP. This post-show lull—too early to rehearse the next show, too late enjoy the fruits of the last—is precious to us in a number of ways. As well as allowing our sleeping patterns to return to a relatively respectable pattern and providing a much needed respite to catch up on neglected school work, this period of calm gives us time to take stock and reflect on The Mikado. Continue reading “With Joyous Shout”

Post-Show Rest and Looking Forward!

By Alexander J. Raun

 
After living in the theater for tech weeks and the run of The Mikado, the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players have spent the past week resting and catching up on a semester’s worth of school. However, with the closing of one show comes the opening of the next, and we have started initial preparations for The Sorcerer, which will take place in the spring semester! The dates for the show include the weekends of March 24th and March 31st, 2017. We hope to see you there!
Additionally, despite our week of rest, we somehow couldn’t resist the stage, and on Saturday, November 12th, we performed a few G&S numbers in the Hasty Pudding Theatricals annual Fall Variety Show! The songs came from HMS Pinafore, Ruddigore, and The Mikado. Performers in the HPT Fall show included Aaron Slipper ’18, Arianna Paz ’19, Richard Tong ’19, Jake Corvino ’19, Sydney Mukasa ’18, and Alex Raun ’17. Thank you to all who came out to support us, and we hope to perform in the show again next year!

Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ

Written by Ashley Zhou ’17 and Kat C. Zhou ’17

We distributed this document at the box office during the run of the show. Some of the responses to the FAQ have been revised slightly in order to clarify and enrich my original answers, which were written in haste before opening. 

A Brief Historical Note

The history of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, as with so many beloved Victorian cultural artifacts, is a history of imperialism: Western imperial powers’ thirst for dominance in an economic system they saw as a zero-sum game, the ever-growing urgency to find more trading partners, the dehumanization of non-white peoples as justification for conquest couched in paternalistic rhetoric of civilizing missions and Christianization. Of Commodore Matthew Perry docking gunboats in Tokyo Bay and calling the result of his actions, even to this day, an “opening,” as if to read choice into Japan’s forced entry into Western-controlled systems of trade and to turn away from the violence of that historical moment. Of the political upheaval of the Meiji Restoration, a direct response to this act of U.S. imperialism, and the economic consequences of the new government on Japanese people, many of whom emigrated, in the first large-scale Japanese migration to the U.S., to find opportunities on the West Coast or in Hawai’i, itself under the rule of white settler colonists.

Continue reading “Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ”

Mikado Opening

Written by Kat C. Zhou ’17

Beware this is a long post! See section headers to find specific content.

This has been a whirlwind process, one that has even hit national news! I wanted to use this blog post to share some of my thoughts on what the show does, and what it might continue to think about for the future. I hope also to include voices (reactions from both longtime G&S fans and students on campus) besides my own in this post.

I spent time looking through the Crimson archives to see if I could find information on previous HRG&SP production of The Mikado. I believe that there have been 12 production of The Mikado in HRG&SP history, and as far as I can see, this is the first non-yellowface production (loosely categorizing the anime Mikado of 1997 as a form of yellowface), making the fall 2016 production of The Mikado a historically unprecedented one!

It is a paradox (a paradox!) to live in the present, surrounded by reminders of history, knowing that the present is constantly slipping away into the past. What might it mean to forget and to remember? This is a central question that has haunted me throughout the entire production process of The Mikado, and it is a question to continue to grapple with even after we have opened, even years from now.

Continue reading “Mikado Opening”

Warming up for The Mikado

By Elena Sokoloski

The orchestra is warming up, the lights are coming on, and the actors can be heard warming up backstage.. tech week is underway! Backstage, the floor Horner Room is protected by a paint-speckled tarp as our paint team is working on the final touches on The Mikado hotel, orchestra members are marking the last of the cuts and transitions into their music, and in front of it all, our fearless stage and music directors are bringing it all together.

Programming outside the theater is also ramping up. We began last semester with a series of community conversations held both as a thermometer for student opinions towards our decision to stage the Mikado, and as an opportunity for members of the Harvard community to give their input on our staging of the show. This semester’s programming kicked off with a screening of the Mikado Project, and will be continuing in the following weeks with a series of teach-ins, talkbacks, and community discussions of the Mikado and its complicated racial history.

We’re in the final stretch of show prep, and look forward to sharing our hard work – both onstage and offstage – soon!

Mikado Load-In

By Michaela Kane
The Las Vegas Mikado hotel and casino is readying itself for its grand opening on October 28! The talented staff from all departments of HRG&SP have been tirelessly working in preparation for our Load-In Sunday. After The Scottish Play left the historic Agassiz theater, we swooped in and finished setting up larger set pieces, began painting some lovely Japanese screens, and set up all of the onstage lights. Time has been of the essence, so all of cast and staff will be working together in the coming weeks to paint the stage, build platforms, and get the stage set up and ready for business. With the dynamic trio: set designer Elizabeth Pattyn, light designer Kathleen Zhou ’16, and technical director Sabrina Yates ’19, we had an incredibly efficient and productive Load In, and we look forward to the weeks of tech ahead!
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Mikado Rehearsal Update!

By Arianna Paz

The fall weather is growing colder, which means we are getting closer and closer to the opening night of this fall’s production of The Mikado! The cast, staff, and orchestra have been busily rehearsing and preparing to bring Las Vegas to the Agassiz Stage in this creative setting for Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta.

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In most recent rehearsal news, sitzprobe was this past Sunday night!  The cast and orchestra finally got to rehearse together for the first time under the guidance of this fall’s music director, Sydney Mukasa.  The two groups sounded wonderful together, and the rehearsal went incredibly smoothly.  Stage director Zachary Mallory even joined in on the fun when he grabbed a score and sang along.  It was truly a treat to see that the hard work of both the cast and orchestra has really been paying off!

As rehearsals continue, both groups will be perfecting the patter songs until the curtain rises on October 28th!