Jamie Offenbach
    Joshua Kohl
  • KOKO:
    Curt Olds
    John Mount
    Leon Williams
  • YUM-YUM:
    Sarah Asmar
    Victoria Livengood
    Tim Shaindlin
    Henry Akina

A year before the action of this opera begins, Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado of Japan, fled his father’s imperial court to escape marriage with Katisha, an elderly lady. Disguised as a traveling musician, he met and fell in love with Yum-Yum, the young ward of Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor in the town of Titipu. Yum-Yum, however, was already betrothed to her guardian, and Nanki-Poo left Titipu in despair.


The show opens in the town of Titipu where the chorus of nobles are joined by Nanki-Poo, disguised as a second trombone, who is looking for Yum-Yum, the ward of Ko-Ko. A noble lord named Pish-Tush asks what Nanki-Poo’s business is with Yum-Yum, and learns that the minstrel had seen the girl a year ago when he was a member of the town band, and they had fallen in love. But Yum-Yum was betrothed to her guardian Ko-Ko, ‘a cheap tailor.’ However on learning that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for flirting, the minstrel has hurried back to try to claim Yum-Yum. Unfortunately on his return he finds that far from being dead, Ko-Ko has in fact been let out on bail, and appointed Lord High Executioner. There is worse to come as Pooh-Bah, who holds every major office of state, informs Nanki-Poo that Yum-Yum and Ko-Ko are to be married that very day.

Yum-Yum and her sisters, Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo, appear with their schoolfellows. When Yum-Yum finally catches sight of Nanki-Poo he reveals that he is the son of the Mikado, and when they are alone, she admits she does not love her guardian. The two lovers realize that their cause is hopeless, and Yum-Yum leaves Nanki-Poo who then tries to kill himself. Meanwhile, Ko-Ko has received a letter from the Mikado, who threatens to abolish the post of Lord High Executioner and reduce Titipu to the rank of a village unless a beheading takes place within a month. On seeing Nanki-Poo about to ‘terminate an unendurable existence,’ Ko-Ko points out that suicide is a capital offence, and offers to do the job professionally. Nanki-Poo agrees, on the condition that he can marry Yum-Yum and enjoy one month of married life before he is beheaded. After the execution Ko-Ko will then be able to marry the widowed Yum-Yum. Amidst the celebrations, in storms Katisha, having tracked down the object of her affections, Nanki-Poo, and threatens to reveal his true identity. She is outshouted by a chorus of Japanese syllables: ” O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!” (one of the many possible translations of which is “So surprised, we hiccup! Bah!”) . But the town dwellers are not to be deterred and ‘joy reigns everywhere around.’


Act Two opens with Yum-Yum being prepared for her wedding. But soon the awful fact is out that under the Mikado’s law the widow of a beheaded man must be buried alive. This places Nanki-Poo in a dilemma: if he holds Yum-Yum to this marriage, she dies a hideous death, and if he releases her she must marry Ko-Ko at once. The marriage is off, and Nanki-Poo determines to do away with himself that afternoon unless Ko-Ko will kill him at once. But it turns out that Ko-Ko can’t kill anything. To make matters worse, the Mikado and his suite are approaching the town and will arrive in ten minutes. In desperation Ko-Ko arranges to draw up an affidavit of Nanki-Poo’s execution.

The Mikado arrives with Katisha who makes much of being his daughter-in-law elect. When Ko-Ko presents his certificate of execution, the Mikado reads it and says, ‘My poor fellow, in your anxiety to carry out my wishes you have beheaded the heir to the throne of Japan!’ Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah find Nanki-Poo and beg him to present himself, alive, to his father, thereby absolving them of his death. But Nanki-Poo, now married to Yum-Yum, is afraid of Katisha’s wrath. Unless Ko-Ko will agree to marry the old hag himself, he and Yum-Yum will leave on their honeymoon at once. Katisha, meanwhile, is mourning the death of Nanki-Poo, and when Ko-Ko tries to woo her, she is at first reluctant, but he wins the formidable lady with a pack of flattering lies and a sad, lovelorn song.

Katisha adds her powerful pleas to the Mikado for everyone to be pardoned. The Mikado, a bit bewildered by it all nonetheless pronounces that ‘Nothing could possibly be more satisfactory!’

Forbidden love... Deception... Comedy? Only at the Opera!

Set in Japan, this satire on English mores of the time weaves the two cultures seamlessly together with humorous lyrics and elaborate plot twists.

Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, flees his home to avoid an arranged marriage to an older woman only to find himself falling in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum, who is also betrothed… to her guardian, Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner!!!

Will Nanki-Poo find love or face the wrath of the Mikado for defying his order? Find out in Gilbert and Sullivan’s romp through the mythical and nonsensical fantasy world of The Mikado.

Performance Schedule

  • June 13, Friday, 8:00pm
  • June 14, Saturday, 8:00pm
  • June 15, Sunday, 4:00pm
  • June 20, Friday, 8:00pm
  • June 21, Saturday, 2:00pm
  • June 22, Sunday, 4:00pm

All performances at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Sung in English with English text projected above the stage.




    Orchestra Level
  • AA - $125
  • OR/OL - $90
  • A - $90
  • B - $63
  • C - $47
  • D - $34
  • Seating Chart

    Balcony Level
  • AA - $125
  • A - $90
  • B - $63
  • C - $47

Get Tickets

  • Call the Box Office:
    (808) 596-7858 or 1-800-836-7372
  • Call the Main Office: (808) 596-7372
  • Or Buy Tickets Here:
  • Buy Tickets Online

Pre-Show Features

Pre-Performance Lanai Lecture:
  • Show Day
    at the Ward Lanai, Blaisdell Concert Hall
    1st lecture: 30 minutes before curtain
    2nd lecture: 60 minutes before curtain
In-Depth Preview Lectures:

Stay tuned for updates on lecture schedules

Meet the Stars


Jamie Offenbach

Jamie J.Offenbach presented an unusual visual picture as a rail-thin Mikado, but his rich, resonant voice belied the appearance of his frame. Commentators have often pointed out the sadistic nature of many of Gilbert’s jokes, and Offenbach brought out this aspect of the character with relish.”

Honolulu Star Advertiser


Joshua Kohl

Joshua Kohl was a brazen Nanki-Poo, with an excellent lyric tenor voice.

The KC Independent


Sarah Asmar

Sarah Asmar was a delight as Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), with a clear chime-like soprano that danced up and down the scales in “Poor Wandering One.” Her performance sparkled with wit.

Idaho Statesman


Curt Olds

In the role of Ko-Ko Curt Olds’ clear diction and comic timing made the dialogue lively and humorous, while he sacrificed nothing in the integrity of his singing.

Honolulu Star Advertiser