The Mikado

As Malka Key describes herself in the song below, she is indeed a “synopsist,” having created a wonderful tradition of beginning the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s Last Gasp Cast Bash’s alternate lyric concert with synopsis of the operetta the company has just produced to the tune of one of the songs from the show … entirely from memory!

Malka performed her synopsis of the company’s 2019 production of The Mikado to the tune of “As Some Day It May Happen,” otherwise known as the “Little List” song!

As it annually happens that I summarize a show,
I’m called a synopsist. I’m called a synopsist.
When I put events in order so they scan and rhyme and flow,
Some details do get missed, but you can get the gist.
Start with Franki-Poo, the king’s son, who’s disguised as a trombone,
And Co Co, an ex-tailor, who has now become well known.
He was put in jail for flirting, which in Ti-Tea-Pu’s a crime.
Released and then promoted, he explains with pantomime
As Lord High Executioner he now controls the list
Of who would not be missed – of who would not be missed.

You start to get the gist– he’s got a little list
And they’ll none of ’em be missed –
they’ll none of ’em be missed.

We find Franki-Poo in love with Tum-Tum, but they’re both engaged
To lovers who insist that they do not resist.
She’s stuck as ward of Co Co, who becomes at once enraged,
And Franki-Poo’s dismissed – he’s forcefully dismissed.
Then the other problem’s Franki Poo himself is also tied
To Katy Shaw, a lady from the court who’d be his bride.
And then Co Co gets a letter from their ruler who inveighs
That the lack of executions must be fixed in thirty days,
So he strikes a deal with Franki: “Marry Tum, and then assist
By going on the list – the top of Co Co’s list.”

I’m sure you get the gist – he’ll head up Co Co’s list.
But we know that he’d be missed –
by Tum Tum he’ll be missed.

So the deal is underway, but Co Co’s back to specify
Since Franki’s on the list, Tum also must enlist:
All wives whose men are executed also have to die.
On that he does insist; a point they must have missed.
Then they tell the King they’ve killed someone and he enjoys the tale.
Until they note the name’s his son’s, and punishment detail.
But Franki says if Katy Shaw knows he’s alive, he’s dead.
So Co Co talks her into wedding him in Franki’s stead.
When they all rejoin, the king gives his approval to this twist
For Katy won’t be missed; in court she won’t be missed.

This now concludes my list. Some characters were missed,
But I’m sure you got the gist –
I’m sure you got the gist.

Sung to the tune of “If You Want to Know Who We Are,” this alternate lyric song was intended to celebrate the “beverage of choice” at all of our company’s cast parties! 

It was performed for the first time at the company’s 1996 Last Gasp Cast Bash, and then again at the 2007 and 2019 parties. 

It was performed on all three occasions by the men of the chorus.

If you want to know who we are,
We are gentlemen who drink beer.
To drink from a pint-sized jar,
We will readily volunteer.

We drink it at hours late.
We drink it at half-past eight.
We purchase it in large crates.  OH!

If you think we can’t drink and sing,
You are terribly incorrect.
You don’t understand these things.
There is simply no etiquette.

Extensive research has shown,
When beer is consumed at home,
The thing we like best is foam.  FOAM!  FOAM!
The thing we like best is foam!

If you want to know who we are,
We are gentlemen who drink beer.
From pint-sized jars, we’d vol-un-teer to drink
many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many-a-beer. 
SKOL!  SKOL!  SKOL!  SKOL!

And now we’ll go and drink more beer!

Our company has a long standing tradition of cast parties or pot lucks following almost every performance.  Charged with adrenaline, the company arrives at the event and everyone eats far too much food!  This alternate lyric song, to the tune of “Three Little Maids From School,” was written in recognition of this tradition … and its consequences! 

It was first performed at the 1996 Last Gasp Cast Bash, by Amy Gunderson, Kathy Hering and Julie Parshall, again in 2007, by Betsie Feldkamp, Kristen Husby and Sarah Wind, again in 2019 by Margaret Matejcek, Sarah Mehle and Blanka Melbostad.

Three little maids with food are we,
Plump as a school-girl well can be,
Filled to the brim with MSG,
Three little maids with food!

     Cookies and cakes and pies galore.

     My favorite place is the grocery store!

     I’m still hungry … I want more!

Three little maids with food!

Three little maids with great big bellies,
Frequent the local grocer’s delis,
Craving confections filled with jellies

Three little maids with food!
Three little maids with food!

     I want lasagna filled with cheese,

     Make mine popcorn, butter please,

     I want chocolate – to hell with these!

Three little maids with food!

     Give me a piggy on a stick,

     Beef Wellington would be a hit,

     Yorkshire pudding and lots of it!

Three little maids with food!
Three little maids with food!

Three little maids who never tarry,
When eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s,
Three little maids who you can’t carry!

Three little maids with food!
Three little maids with food!

Jim Brooks wrote the following alternate lyric, to the tune of “Three Little Maids From School Are We,” in honor of another famous trio!  Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

The song was performed at the company’s 2007 production of The Mikado, by Jim Brooks, Wally Benebenek and Mark Alt, and again in 2019 by Jeff Erickson, Axl Dahl and Tom Berg.

All:

Tree little yutes from school is us,
We like to swear and fight and cuss.
We’ve just been thrown off the school bus,
Tree little yutes from school!

Moe:

I like to make the teacher mad! (giggle)

Curly:

I get a kick out of being bad! (guffaw)

Larry:

I got whupped cause they called my dad! (crying)

All:

Tree little yutes from school!

Tree little yutes, you all be wary,

Curly:

My name is Curly …

Moe:

… Moe …

Larry:

… and Larry

All:

Bound for the penitentiary,
Tree little yutes from school.
Tree little yutes from school!

Moe, pointing to Curly:

He flunked math, couldn’t find the sum!

Curly, making a fist:

I popped him cause he called me dumb!

Larry, dismissive gesture to Curly:

Pay no attention, he’s a bum!

All

Tree little yutes from school!

Moe, pointing to Curly:

Oh!  He was suspended yesterday!

Curly:

I plugged the toilets, what the hey!

Larry:

We watched the teacher float away!

All:

Tree little yutes from school,
Tree little yutes from school!

Tree little yutes, you all be wary,

Curly:

My name is Curly …

Moe:

… Moe …

Larry:

…and Larry!

All

Bound for the penitentiary,
Tree little yutes from school,
Tree little yutes from school!

Jim Brooks wrote another alternate lyric to the tune of “Three Little Maids From School Are We,” for the company’s 2019 Last Gasp Cast Bash, in which he pointed out that not all “little maids” who get into schools, including Ivy League schools, don’t necessarily deserve to be there!

The song was performed by Margaret Matejcek, Sarah Mehle and Blanka Melbostad.

Three Little Maids

Three little maids from school are we,
We cannot ace the ACT,
We earned no grades above a C,
Three little maids from school!

Yum-Yum

My Mom’s rich, and she’s had good luck!

Peep-Bo

Mine is from Yale and she gives big bucks!

Pitti-Sing

Me? Hockey star, now what’s a puck?

Three Little Maids

Three little maids from school!

Three little maids who did not earn it,
Given great knowledge, did not learn it,
Going to ivy leagues, now dern it!

Three little maids from school!
Three little maids from school!

Yum-Yum

My ACT grew by 17.

Peep-Bo

Mom’s half a mil, oh, it bribed the dean,

Pitti-Sing

My head was photoshopped real clean!

Three Little Maids

Three little maids from school!

Yum-Yum

Now freshman Math, so what’s base 8?

Peep-Bo

Students are snooty and I don’t rate.

Pitti-Sing

I can’t play hockey ‘cause I don’t skate.

Three Little Maids

Three little maids from school!
Three little maids from school!

Three little maids who did not earn it,
Given great knowledge, did not learn it,
Dropped out of ivy leagues, now dern it!

Three little maids from school!
Three little maids from school!

“Three Little Maids From School Are We” was a very popular tune at our company’s 2019 Last Gasp Cast Bash! In yet another alternate lyric song, Mary Gregory, Shawn Holt and Rhea Sullivan, wrote and sang of their experience as the most senior members of the women’s chorus.

Three Little Maids

Three elder maids from the chorus are we.
Pert as our bras help us to be.
Filled to the brim with wine and coffee.
Three elder maids are we.

Shawn

Aches and pains are not any fun!

Rhea

Wrinkles and gray hair, I’ve got one.

Mary

Life is a joke that’s almost done.

Three Little Maids

Three elder maids are we!

Three elder maids Rhea, Mary and Shawn,
Wonder where their youth has gone
When they still feel like they’re 21?

Three elder maids are we.
Three elder maids are we.

Shawn

You who are young ingénues.

Rhea

With years of dancing ahead of you.

Mary

Just hang around this will be you!

Three Little Maids

Three elder maids are we!

Shawn

From three elder maids take one away.

Rhea

Two elder maids await the day.

Mary

They will be grandmas before May!

Three Little Maids

Three elder maids are we!
Three elder maids are we!

Three elder maids Rhea, Mary and Shawn,
Wonder where their youth has gone
When they still feel like they’re 21?

Three elder maids are we.
Three elder maids are we!

The following alternate lyric, sung to the tune of “Here’s a How-De-Do,” celebrates the general chaos that inevitably leads to a successful theatrical production. While some of the allusions were specific to the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s 2007 production of The Mikado, most are universal to any company’s experience overcoming the obstacles to “put on a show!”

This song was performed at the 2007 Last Gasp Cast Bash, by Sarah Wind, as Yum-Yum, Timothy James, as Nanki-Poo, and Ethan Edwards, as Ko-Ko.

Yum-Yum

Here’s a how-de-do!
Oh, what I’ve been through!
Dressing room was hardly spacious;
Changing clothes was quite vexatious —
Bruises turning blue!
Here’s a how-de-do!

Nanki-Poo

Here’s a pretty mess!
Ticket sale distress!
Audiences clamor for us —
Soon we’ll seat them with the chorus
On the stage, I guess.
Here’s a pretty mess!

Ko-Ko

Here’s a state of things!
While the chorus sings
Off-stage orchestra musicians
Try to play in cramped positions,
Jammed into the wings.
Here’s a state of things!

All Three

With a desperation strong
We seek a larger space,
But there’s always something wrong
With any other place.

Can we find something new?
We haven’t got a clue!

Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!
Here’s a pretty state of things, a pretty state of things!

Yum-Yum

Here’s a how-de-do!

Nanki-Poo

Here’s a how-de-do!

Ko-Ko

Here’s a how-de-do!

All Three

If we can’t find something new,
We haven’t, haven’t got a clue!
Here’s a pretty, pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!

The company’s 2019 production of The Mikado was “reimagined” and set in Edwardian England. Tom Berg decided to explore other possibilities and wondered what The Mikado would have been like if it had been set just a bit further north! Tom sang his alternate lyric song to the tune of “Our Great Mikado, Virtuous Man.”

Our great McAdoo, virtuous man,
When he began to rule our clan,
Resolved to try a plan whereby
Young men migh’ be less frisky.
So he decreed in words succinc’
That when the lads went ou’ to drink,
Each bartender should, wi’ a wink,
Put hashish in their whisky, their whisky,
Their whisky: pu’ hashish in their whisky.
And I expec’ you won’t deny
That he was right to ge’ them high.
And I am righ’ and you are righ’,
For marijuana mellows a guy.

And you are righ’ and we are righ’,
For marijuana mellows ou’ a guy;
He’ll watch TV while days go by;
Marijuana mellows ou’ a guy.

This clever ploy, you’ll understand,
Made boys laid back throughou’ the land,
They’d smoke some pot and munch a lot
And si’ around an’ be dumb.
But then a few lads found their gut
And said, just like tha’ Braveheart nu’, that
“They may take our lives, bu’
They’ll never take our freedom, our freedom,
Our freedom: They’ll never take our freedom!”
And so they rose and said as one:
“Of English things we mus’ have none.”
The chorus men who start Act One
Said “Screw the cricket: golf’s more fun.”

We chorus men who star’ Act One
Said “Screw the cricke’: golf is way more fun.”
To hell wi’ cricke’: golf’s more fun;
Golf is really, really fun!

And then to make the show more Scotch,
We changed some other things a notch:
We dressed the men in kilts, an’ then
We added bagpipes somewha’.
The lovers wi’ their hearts aflame,
We matched them wi’ a Sco’ish game,
By giving each a golfing name:
They’re Shanki-Poo an’ Putt-Putt, an’ Putt-Putt,
And Putt-Putt: They’re Shanki-Poo an’ Putt-Putt!
And we are righ,’ I think you’ll say,
To change things in a Sco’ish way.
So we eat haggis after ev’ry extra weeken’ matinee!

So we eat haggis after ev’ry extra, extra weeken’ matinee!
We made the pizza go away,
Now it’s Haggis wi’ the ma-…-tinee!

Alternate lyric songs are not the only offering at the company’s Last Gasp Cast Bash concert. Orchestra members have presented humorous musical interludes, while others have done “guess the gesture in the show” or “who said this backstage or on stage?” contests. Occasionally, we’ve also had humorous alternate readings such as the one that Jonah Heuer wrote, for our 2019 Last Gasp Cast Bash concert, reimagining the scene in which Pooh Bah and Nanki-Poo meet for the first time, to become a scene between Anthony Rohr, as The Tenor, and Axl Dahl, as The Bass.

Axl:

Why, look at the cast list! Anthony has been cast as the leading man. That’s the highest role a cast member can attain.

Anthony:

It is. Our logical directors, seeing no difference between my tenor voice and the voice of an angel have made the commendable decision to cast me in another leading role.

Axl:

(sarcastically) But how good of you (for I know you are a tenor of the usual disposition) to condescend to tell all of this to me, a mere bass.

Anthony:

Don’t mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive tenor. You will understand this when I tell you that I can belt all the way to a high D. Consequently, my Tenor-Pride is something inconceivable. I can’t help it. I was born better than everyone else. But I strive to make this known to all, and magnify my pride continually. When all the other actors resigned in a body because they weren’t willing to put up with me, did I not unhesitatingly accept all their roles at once?

Axl:

And the solos attached to them? You did.

Anthony:

It is consequently my duty to sing – quite capably – as Leading Man, Leading Lady, Supporting Character, Comic Relief, Father Figure, Antagonist, Understudy to Myself, and Chorus, both male and female.

Axl:

And it gets you credit.

Anthony:

But I don’t stop at that. I dine with crew members for the opportunity to talk about myself. I dance at cheap suburban cast parties for the chance to show off. And I accept refreshments from any hand, however lowly. Even from a bass.

Axl:

(gives Anthony a disgusted look and walks away.)

Kelly Danger made her first offering to the Last Gasp Cast Bash alternate lyric concert in 2019, with a song celebrating women’ empowerment in a world still prone patriarchal traditions.

This song was sung to the tune of “Comes a Train of Little Ladies,” by the women’s chorus.

Come some liberated ladies
No mere Nancy’s on some knee
Though a little bit afraid we’re,
Smashing up patriarchy!

Piercing fragile white men’s bubble
With this little song
When the status quo is rubble
We’ll have proved we’re strong!

Are you seriously explaining?
That won’t get you laid.
Mansplaining won’t ever get you la-a-aid.
We’re all tired of your complaining
It’s so overplayed!

It’s so hard to be a man these days it’s so overplayed
It’s so hard to be a man these days it’s so overplayed
It’s so overplayed!

Schoolgirls you, eighteen and under,
Stand your ground and fight like we,
And we wonder, how we wonder,
We wonder, how we wonder,
What on Earth the world can be, what on Earth the world can be!

In the following alternate lyric song, Jo Pasternack reminded us all of how much the cast depends on our Costume Mistress to keep us all from becoming “things of shreds and patches” on stage! The song was sung to the tune of “The Sun Whose Rays,” by Margaret Matejcek, at the company’s 2019 Last Gasp Cast Bash.

The pants whose knees have lost their crease are very ripped and hole-y,
At least they’re clean, no smudges green from spilling guacamole.
Some buttons pop, to floor they drop, are brought to me for sewing,
And sagging hem, I must condemn, I keep them all from showing.

I need to mend the clothes, I cannot lie!
For every singer’s pose, both girl and guy.
I need to mend the clothes, I cannot lie!
For every actor’s pose, both girl and guy.

Observe the rip, a hanging strip, the fabric is not intact.
There’s not a place that’s lacking lace or has a nasty impact.
Needle and thread, we fix the shred, wardrobe malfunction banish,
Each rip and tear I did repair, each time I made them vanish.

I had to mend the clothes, I cannot lie!
For every singer’s pose, both girl and guy.
I had to mend the clothes, I cannot lie!
For every actor’s pose, both girl and guy.

Our 2019 production of The Mikado included a particularly peripatetic prop … a bench that was continually moved about the stage, from one scene to the next, to provide a place for cast members to sit or upon which to stand. Malka Key wrote the following tribune to the bench, to the tune of “A Wandering Minstrel, I,” which was sung by Anthony Rohr.

A wandering bench am I
It’s a nomad existence
I move with your assistance
A flitting butterfly

My shift change list is long
Through every platform ranging
Location always changing
In every other song.
In every other song.

Are you in sentimental mood?
Come sigh on me
Oh, sorrow,
On maiden’s coldness do you brood?
I’m here for thee.
Oh, sorrow, sorrow!
I’ll sit beneath your rears
As you profess your fears
While all your salty tears
My slats bedew
Oh, sorrow, sorrow!

But if patriotic sentiment is wanted,
Then move me to the edge you so can stride
For when choreography is being flaunted
I’m in the way of marching dignified.

Your choruses around the stage assemble
People jump up on me if they need some height
And you shouldn’t be concerned that I might tremble
Because my mighty bolts, my bolts are fastened tight.

We shouldn’t be concerned if benches tremble,
Tremble underfoot
Because their mighty bolts,
Their bolts are fastened tight.

A wandering bench am I
It’s a nomad existence
I move with your assistance
A flitting butterfly A flitting butterfly
Butterfly. Butterfly

Eric Pasternack … never one to shy away from politics!… wrote and sang the following alternate lyric song at the at the company’s 2019 Last Gasp Cast Bash, to the tune of “As Someday it May Happen,” the “Little List” song.

As someday it may happen that impeachment must be tried,
I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list.
Of crimes and misdemeanors, shady dealings on the side
That Robert Mueller missed. That Robert Mueller missed.
There’s the grand palatial Trump Hotel where dignitaries stay.
Paying tons and tons of money so that they can have their say.
And of course the Trump Foundation that is not a charity
But rather pays for portraits of his crass vulgarity.
And don’t forget the lies he tells on which he does subsist.
They’d none of them be missed, they’d none of them be missed.

We’ve got ‘em on our list, we’ve got ‘em on our list,
And we’re sure they won’t be missed, they’ll none of them be missed.

And how about inaugurals that buy some influence?
The tax returns all missed? The Saudi journalist?
And also immigration rules that show indifference
To people who subsist, and really can’t resist.
The nativistic ban on Muslim visitors and friends,
And everything Obama that his cabinet suspends.
The EPA director who was totally corrupt
And of course his famous temper which is likely to erupt.
The Supreme court nominee who is a well-known fed’ralist.
I’m sure he’d not be missed, I’m sure he’d not be missed.

We’ve got him on our list, we’ve got him on our list,
And we’re sure he won’t be missed, so sure he won’t be missed.

And now the fake news narrative we hear from day to day,
The New York Times he dissed. He’d like them to desist.
All funny fellows on TV at night on Saturday.
He’d like not to exist. But somehow they persist.
Apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
McConnell, Ryan, Lindsey Graham and others so inclined.
And Jared and Ivanka, Eric, Donny and the rest,
Whose clearances are granted despite issues manifest.
It’s time to talk impeachment for this bigot nepotist.
Who never would be missed, who never would be missed.

We have put him on our list, we have put him on our list,
And we’re sure he won’t be missed, he never will be missed.