Branden Noel Thomas as The Mikado

Hot Mikado is indeed Hot!♨️   Hot Mikado was staged initially in 1939.  It was adapted from the original 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan The Mikado.  But no detailed material from that production could be found.  So David H. Bell and Rob Bowman, created this 1939 production which was produced at the Ford Theatre in Washington D. C.    Now we are fortunate to have the production team at San Francisco’s 42nd Moon bring Hot Mikado to San Francisco’s Gateway Theatre with Jeffrey Polk as director and choreographer and Dave Dobrusky  as co-music director with John Gallo. 

(L to R) Jon-David Randle as Pish-Tush, Jean-Paul Jones as Nanki-Poo, Lucca Troutman as Yum-Yum, and Amie Shapir as Pitti-Sing.

Hot Mikado -as opposed to The Mikado with its un-PC Japanese compositions yet with clever lyrics-  is a 1940s themed musical, with Gilbert and Sullivan’s words and music with a 1940’s jazz tempo by Dobrusky and Gallo and choreography by  Jeffrey Polk.  Spot on 1940s costumes and hair styles were created by Marisely O. Cortés Fonseca and Bethany Deal.

By setting the production in the fictitious town of Titipu, Japan, far from the UK, geographically, in the 1800s, Gilbert felt able to satirize British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese.  The plot goes something like this: flirting is a crime.  If caught,  one’s head could be  cut off.  Wives- if their husbands are executed- must be buried alive with them.  A wedding between a one-time school girl love, Yum-Yum beautifully played by Lucca Troutman, and  a just-returned minstrel, Nanki-Poo (the Mikado’s [an imposing Branden Noel Thomas, who doesn’t appear till Act II] estranged son played by Jean Paul Jones ) is thwarted.  However this issue is resolved. The catch being she and Nanki-Poo can be married for only a month so she can then be free to marry a former cheap tailor of whom she was the ward,  Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner  (Jaron Vesley).  Other complexities are the return of Katisha (an outstanding Michelle Ianero) to claim Nanki-Poo.  To see how everything is resolved, come see the show! 

The singing, dancing, and acting are all top-notch.  Those in the leads are terrific: Kelly Houston as Poo bah, the Lord High Everything Else; Christine Capsuto-Shulman as Peep-Bo (another ward of Ko-Ko, also dance captain), Pish-Tush, a noble Lord (Jon-David Randle), Pitti-Sing, yet another ward of Ko-Ko (Ami Shapiro) .  Those in the ensemble- nobles, guards and servants whose dancing and singing added to the production’s lively, entertaining, and engaging- not to mention- delightful fun: Janelle La Salle, Lindsey Meyer, Michael Motroni, Vinh G. Nguyen, and Nick Rodrigues

Jaron Vesely, over-the-top as Ko-Ko, mock-romances Katisha (Michelle Ianiro). Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Hot Mikado is at the Gateway Theater, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco until October 13.  Go to, email: for more information and tickets.  Ph. 415-255-8207.