By KAREN LUNDE
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts brings two critically acclaimed shows to the mainstage this spring, and each will deliver entertainment and humor in its own unique way. One is an updated, inclusive take on a classic comic opera, the other a surprising twist on a biblical being in the form of a standup production one really must see to believe, no matter what faith might demand.
In April, The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (NYGASP) promise to fill Washington Center theater-goers to the brim with as much glee as three little maids from school, via The Mikado. The Mikado is a classic comic opera that debuted in London in 1885. Set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu, the opera features an eccentric, hilarious cast of characters. At its heart lies the love story of a beautiful schoolgirl who falls for a wandering minstrel despite her unfortunate engagement to the town executioner. This production, however, treats The Mikado differently. It came about as a collaborative effort between NYGASP and the Asian-American, theatrical community in New York. That cooperative effort stands as a present-day example of how to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within classic works of theater.
“We’re excited to bring back the reputable New York Gilbert and Sullivan players with the classic Mikado title,” said Jill Barnes, executive director of The Washington Center, “but with a more culturally sensitive reimagining of the tale. … This is a huge cast of characters. The choreography and costumes are colorful and fill the stage. The Gilbert and Sullivan humor will have you entertained and in stitches, while you simultaneously start to look at the world around you with new eyes.”
On May 4, God is coming back to Olympia — more specifically, God as portrayed by award-winning Canadian comedian Mike Delamont, clad in a floral power suit. The show marks Delamont’s return to The Washington Center stage. Olympia loved Delamont’s first deity-inspired comedy act, God Is a Scottish Drag Queen. Now he’s delivering the sequel, God Is a Scottish Drag Queen 2: The Second Coming. “I laughed for 10 minutes straight during last year’s God Is a Scottish Drag Queen,” said Barnes, “and I wasn’t the only one. Bringing The Second Coming wasn’t a tough decision at all.” In the hilarious sequel, a smartly dressed God takes on everything from the platypus to Pocahontas with trademark, snarky wit.
“These are two very different shows,” said Barnes. “If you look at the season lineup, you’ll see that there truly is something for everyone. I’ll be the first to say that not every show is for everyone, but we do have something for everyone.”
God Is a Scottish Drag Queen 2: The Second Coming
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
Mikado: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10
God: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4