McAdo Feedback Report

I think we should produce the show. The Scottish version is charming, novel, and seems to reinvent the show very effectively, rectifying the issues with the Japanese setting. The work very organically fits a Scottish setting with minimal changes.

This looks like a fun production. If you decide to go with Scottish accents, the truer the accent the less intelligible it is to American English speakers! I found myself wishing at times that the libretto projection that was visible in some of the scenes was visible in all of them.

On a tangential note, I saw the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players production of the Mikado last month. Their production presented the Mikado as Gilbert's fever dream - so they wrapped the production with a brief introduction in which Gilbert is knocked out and has the dream and a bit at the finale where Gilbert wakes up. Apart from that, the production was largely unchanged. It was a great production, but I didn't understand why anyone who objected to the original would find it any less offensive. I much preferred the version we presented in 2020/2022. The cast was mic'd in the NYGSP production, but no libretto projection (though they sold librettos for $5).

Seemed to work well. Costumes were very good, and ours would have to be good, too. Wasn't sure about the Scottish accents -- that'd be a lot of work to get right, and may not be necessary (compared with trying, and doing it not-quite-right). I liked the supertitles (though I've not been encouraging before, when Malka has brought up the idea). A few word tweaks would also be needed.

A fictional Scotland is a creative solution to the criticism of yellowface or Japanese stereotypes – and makes a more consistent story than the previous (Rick Shiomi) version.

Loved: Incorporation of Scottish dance moves, procession of costumes and clans during the overture as helpful orientation to the change (but nix on including extraneous plot elements).

- Clever use of “Scots Wha Hae” for “Miya sama” lyrics.

Problems: Scottish accent – would need an accent coach and additional time. It’s a challenge to the performers and sometimes makes the lyrics harder to understand (as in this production).

Good costuming is essential and could be expensive. (Obviously, the kilted pirates in the recent GSVLOC PIRATES production didn’t have to look well-dressed.) For this, we would need kilts at the right length and fullness, as well as full Highland dress (jackets, sporrans, etc.) for at least some of the characters. (Of course, expensive MIKADO costumes have been done before . . .)

Libretto changes: Surtitles are always helpful with G&S, but these were mostly out of video view. I was Pleased to see how little of the text was altered. I couldn’t hear the new “vase and jar” words, but the dancing marionettes were okay. I’m reassured to know that Joe has already fixed the missing rhyme in the “train of little lasses."

P.S. Our own Mary K was terrific!


I thought it worked well. Yes, I think we should do it.

"The Mikado" parodies Grand Opera that takes place in exotic locations and other time periods ("Nabucco", "Magic Flute", "Orpheus in the Underworld"). Placing the action in the UK kills that. But you all know this. Audience members of a certain age probably close their eyes and imagine the productions they grew up with or listened to in recordings. Music is still great.

My preference: perform this production, or similar, only if the Board and the group felt it would generate needed revenue. Otherwise, put further productions of "The Mikado" on hold but continue to discuss.

PS. The original contained offensive language which was deleted decades ago. It can be heard in early recordings and seen in early print editions, some of which are still available.


I don't think we should do this production this fall.

My primary concern is that the Austin company emphasized in the preparation materials they shared with us last spring the importance of proactive community engagement regarding the production. To my knowledge, we have not done any of this up to this point, and doing it after we have already decided to do the production will make anyone we talk to feel like they do not have the opportunity to express an opinion that will be used meaningfully, because the production is a foregone conclusion. The company and board have been consumed with this season's productions, so I can imagine why we have not done this yet, but the fact remains that we have not. We can borrow Austin's concept, but we can't borrow their community outreach. We did get some very negative feedback about the McAdo in the course of soliciting input on Utopia, and without doing further community engagement, there is no way to know whether that represents a broad feeling shared by many in our community, or the opinions of an unrepresentative few. If people want to do this production, we should consider doing it again at a future time when we can have a discussion informed by broader input.

A secondary reason I don't think we should do this production right now is that doing all the "big three" shows in a row doesn't seem like a strategically good plan for spreading out the shows that are the most popular. I understand the desire to do Pinafore and Pirates to kickstart the idea of a fall production, but at some point (basically this year or next year), to be sustainable, the fall slot has to stand on its own feet.

A reason mentioned at the annual meeting that people wanted to do this production now was to be early adopters of a new concept, but I truly think we are a local company with a local audience, and vanishingly few people will care if some other company in another state has done it before us.

If the company does vote to do this production:

I do have a little bit of concern about the dialect. I think it is integral to the realization of the concept, but our company has historically had a pretty chill approach to accents (which I have no problem with), and we would need to make sure we have the dialect coach and the time allotted within the rehearsal process so that we didn't end up with jarringly bad accents. This is a long show as it is, so finding that time may be hard. I agree with those in comments already submitted that this could be the show to give supertitles a try in some format, since accurate Scottish accents would not be the easiest for our audience to understand, and I have heard feedback from audience members in past productions that they have had trouble even with our fairly mild transatlantic accents that we usually use.

I think we should change their "gone abroad" edit back to the original spirit of the joke by naming somewhere located in Scotland, like Glasgow.

We need to not have previous Mikado production photos appearing in our company website's rotating banner photos. Just today, I texted someone a link to the company website and the preview photo that popped up was an old Mikado photo. I actually think we need to take these out of rotation regardless of whether we do this production, but in particular if we are doing it, it really undermines our consistency in marketing/conveying the concept if the first thing people see when they come to the website happens to be a traditionally-staged photo.

All (or 99%) of the good has been preserved in this re-visioned approach and all (or 99%) of the objectionable has been removed -- unless, I suppose one was Scottish and didn't like the gentle ribbing. Or someone who felt the women's roles were stereotypical, e.g. innocents or shrews; but you can't please everyone. I think this approach goes above and beyond in creating a show that honors the intent of the original and captures the fun in a way that Rick S's show entirely missed (a perfect example of how to do this wrong even if one's intentions are good). Every major G&S house is now doing new versions of The Mikado. San Francisco's illustrious company did Il Duco (note that there is a HUGE Asian-American presence in the Bay Area and this production met with NO consternation and was considered an artistic success). As for the McAdo, I can't imagine that education or outreach is required when the work has been so thoroughly transformed -- but we could do an audience talk back on a couple of performances; perhaps if any of the original Austin team comes in, we could do it when they are here? I am THRILLED to dive into this production and I hope that we see an outpouring of internal and external support. PLEASE, let's ensure we get the costumes right. This may require planning sooner than we normally do or at least ensuring that we come to an understanding of what can be done with our current resources. Hats off to Mary K. for bringing this show to the company's attention and to the board for doing their due diligence!

We should do this production. It’s charming, interesting, and works well. And I don’t think Scottish accents are necessary to pull it off. I’m not sure what would be accomplished if we put producing The Mikado on hold so we can talk about it. I don’t know what more can be done than scrubbing it of anything offensive like all the new versions do, including this one. Or if we don’t do The Mikado at all as a matter of principle even if it’s been scrubbed of anything offensive, by the same token, we should object to Gilbert & Sullivan in general and shouldn’t do ANY of their shows. It would be a shame to never do The Mikado again. The fact that you can take away the entire original context and it’s still just as good is a testament to what a worthwhile show it is.

I liked the concept of the show. I'm sure we can deal with the accent part of it (I support supertitles, but understand their difficulties) and the costumes, too.

I loved the part where they changed the music just enough in the entrance of the "Mikado" scene to make it less "Japanese" sounding and would have like those changes for the entire scene, as well as the beginning of the first act finale. The original music was a little jarring in those two spots because I was immersed in the "Scottishness" of the production. How about bagpipes?

I hope we could get Penny as our choreographer, because she is so fabulous and can make the Scottish dance work perfectly. I also feel that Randy works so hard on consonants that, despite what I said above, supertitles would be largely unnecessary. (Except for our aging audience with diminished hearing acuity.)

And yes, Mary K. was superb!

I don’t like doing the “big three” in consecutive years.

The McAdo is a clever show and I would support doing it at a later date.


We currently do not have the resources (people willing to help other than Board members) with the amount of work it takes to plan and publicize the WHY behind a Scottish version of the Mikado. Lots of people with ideas, but not enough time spent figuring out a real plan on how do we recognize the history and educate the 2024 audience today on why we are presenting this version. I hope that if we do the show, the marketing gets real. Video interviews from the directors early on might help. The discussion on the show’s history, understanding, and awareness needs to be addressed in process and shouldn’t be skirted under the rug.

I am only in favor of doing this production if it truly follows the Austin production and is produced well by us. This means, as most of us have pointed out:

- Accurate/Appropriate costuming
- Good Scots accents, which means the leads must have dialect coaching.
- Excellent and appropriate choreography that is executed well (Penny or source from a local Scottish Dance studio)

Dropping any one of these from the mix will confuse audiences. If we're going to opt for MacAdo vs. Mikado, we need to commit. Otherwise it will be a strange, half-baked idea that will not land, and may end up falling back on the sort of winking, cheap humor that infantilizes the libretto. Well executed G&S does not satirize the satire.


Honestly, I do not believe this feedback is necessary as the website is already listing the McAdo for fall 2024... so what's the point of asking when you've made up your mind?

Personally, I'm more of a "no" vote. While I understand the challenges of dated , racist material in Mikado, I think you're going to find more challenges in pushing a G&S arrangement. It is like pushing an arrangement of Beethoven or Shakespeare. If we're going to start doing arrangements, why are we not doing the recreated Thespis?

If you're looking for something different, why are we not looking at other Gilbert OR Sullivan? The Rose of Persia? Haddon Hall? The Emerald Isle? Or, why not Victor Herbert?

Lastly, has no one realized how loud bagpipes can be indoors? Since the website says we are doing it, you better figure that out.