Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Hot Mikado

When looking for a swinging night at the theater, you can't do much better than Hot Mikado. Now playing at Ford's Theatre, this colorful production has a lot to boast about, including a robust score, lively choreography, and a very talented cast.

Hot Mikado is a parody of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado. Set in Japan, the show features the inhabitants of a village called Titi-Pu. A wandering musician named Nanki-Poo enters the scene, looking for his true love, Yum-Yum. Unfortunately for Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum is about to marry her ward, Ko-Ko. What transpires is a rowdy tale that combines Gilbert and Sullivan's timeless style with a heavy dose of swing and blues.

This is not the first time Ford's Theatre has presented Hot Mikado. The piece had its world premiere at the historic theater in 1986 and a later run in 1994. David H. Bell has returned as the show's director and manages to make this new production feel fresh. Mr. Bell also adapted the book and lyrics, both of which are skillfully constructed. The music, adapted and supervised by Rob Bowman, flows beautifully from one style to the next.

Jonathan Sharp and the ensemble of Hot Mikado

Set Designer Daniel Proett reprises his role as well. Mr. Proett has designed a deceptively simple set. Partnered with Lighting Designer Diane Ferry Williams, the pair successfully captures the spirit of the show. Costume Designer Mariann Verheyen is making her debut at Ford's Theater. Her 1940s inspired costumes just scream "cool."

There are several Broadway veterans in this cast. Ted L. Levy (Thou Shalt Not) oozes charm as the Mikado. His superb dance number is a true crowd pleaser. Another Broadway alum, Jonathan Sharp (The Rocky Horror Show), provides a Pish-Tush with great moves and terrific comic timing. Kelli Rabke is a bit cutesy in her depiction of Yum-Yum but it seems to work for the character. David Ayers is sweet as the lovelorn Nanki-Poo. Both Chandra Currelley as Katisha and LaParee Young as Pooh-Bah tear up the stage with their soulful voices. But the biggest standout in this group is Ross Lehman. Yet another Broadway veteran (The Tempest, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Mr. Lehman repeats his Helen Hayes Award winning role of Ko-Ko with knee-slapping hilarity. His performance of "Tit-Willow" is not to be missed.

Hot Mikado is flashy and fun. It will especially appeal to those who have a fondness for traditional musical comedy. This one is definitely must-see. You can catch Hot Mikado at Ford's Theatre through June 16th.

Ford's Theatre
Hot Mikado
March 13th - June 16th
Book and Lyrics Adapted by David H. Bell
Music Adapted and Supervised by Rob Bowman
Directed and Choreographed by David H. Bell
511 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Ticket Information: 202-347-4833 or

Cast List
Ko-Ko: Ross Lehman
Mikado: Ted L. Levy
Nanki-Poo: David Ayers
Peep-Bo: Ryan Michelle Bathé
Katisha: Chandra Currelley
Yum-Yum: Kelli Rabke
Pish-Tush: Jonathan Sharp
Pitti-Sing: Denise Summerford
Pooh-Bah: LaParee Young

The Ensemble
Bryan Crawford
Randy A. Davis
Craig D'Amico
Kurt Domoney
Mamie Duncan-Gibbs
Pauline Locsin Kanter
Sean McKnight (Associate Choreographer/Swing)
Erich McMillan-McCall
Carolyn Ockert
Gina Philistine (Swing)
Denton Tarver

Photo: Stan Barouh

-- Tracy Lyon

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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