Music: Stockyard Savoyard

A rambunctious Mikado is set in modern-day Japan

The elderly lady was so shaken she had difficulty keeping hold of her stainless-steel walker as she made her way around the stage entrance of Chicago's Lyric Opera last week. A musician friend spotted her and inquired how she had enjoyed this new, undeniably upstart production of The Mikado. "Well," she said, mustering her best backstage diplomacy, "it certainly must be fun to do." "Oh, yeah," he agreed. "It's crazy!"

Certainly it must have seemed so to the startled senior citizen, to Gilbert and Sullivan traditionalists—Can there be such a thing as a Gilbert and...

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