Port Washington’s Claudia Arroyo Featured In A New-Look ‘Mikado’

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Claudia Arroyo. (Photo copyright 2022. Courtesy Claudia Arroyo and The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

Port Washington resident Claudia Arroyo will be featured in The Mikado: A Long Island Fantasy, a new approach to the classic comic opera, presented by the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island in East Meadow, Commack, Port Washington, Manhattan and Huntington.
The Light Opera Company is one of Long Island’s oldest cultural institutions, celebrating its 68th season; Arroyo is in her fourth year with the company, and also serves on the company’s executive board. In this production, she sings in the chorus as one of a group of students who attend a prestigious academy in a far-off realm called … Long Island?
Directed by Tony Tambasco, with music directed by Stuart Watarz, this all-new Mikado recasts the most famous of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas to be set on Long Island’s Gold Coast in the 1920s, the era of Prohibition, the flappers, silent movies and The Great Gatsby.
“I have attempted to recover the spirit of Gilbert & Sullivan’s intentions with a production that holds a mirror up to the present day, while also engaging in light-hearted fairy-tale-telling,” Tambasco said. “Setting The Mikado on a fantasy Long Island of 100 years ago allows us to activate the ‘Gatsby’ mythology that is a part of the cultural heritage of Long Island in the service of telling Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic fairy tale of a community overcoming the nonsensical cruelty imposed on its people.”
The score for The Mikado is packed with famous songs, including the lovely ballad “The Sun, Whose Rays Are All Ablaze,” the rattling patter song “I’ve Got a Little List,” the ingenious trio “I Am So Proud” and the wistful “Titwillow.” The story is a merry farce that’s as funny now as it was in 1885, when the show premiered, and virtually defines the idea of “fun for the whole family.”
The cast includes more than a dozen of the company’s finest singers and dancers, more than meeting the challenge of The Mikado. Richard Risi plays Nanki-Poo, the wandering minstrel who’s secretly the son of the all-powerful Mikado. Sabrina Lopez is Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo’s secret love, with Michael John Ruggiere as her guardian Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. Tamara Shyngle and Delaney R. Page play Yum-Yum’s schoolmates Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo, with Kenneth Kopolovicz as the pompous Pooh-Bah and Jorden Breslow as the wily Pish-Tush. Patricia Gallagher plays the fearsome aristocrat Katisha, who claims Nanki-Poo in marriage and won’t take no for an answer.
The Mikado is a Gilbert & Sullivan opera unlike any other, satirizing English society through a lens that consisted of Japan in the original production and 1920s Long Island in the current show. It’s the most popular comic opera ever written, the only one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas popular even in non-English-speaking countries and the first ever to be made into a movie, in 1939. It has been a hit on Broadway as The Hot Mikado (1939), and has even had a movie—Topsy Turvy (1999)—made about its creation. It remains arguably the most popular work of music theater ever.
The Mikado: A Long Island Fantasy will be presented on Saturday, June 25, at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at the Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington; on Sunday, June 26, at the Riverside Theatre in Manhattan, at 3 p.m.; and on Sunday, July 3, at Heckscher Park in Huntington, at 8 p.m. Admission is free. For further information or to reserve tickets, visit www.gaslocoli.org

—Submitted by The Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island

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