Owen casts each of the roles perfectly, getting the best out of everyone. He uses a small chorus which helps you to understand Gilbert's witty lyrics and devises many comic, farcical scenes invoking much laughter. Steve gets a fantastic sound from the entire cast especially in the intricate harmonies of the trios, quartets and the separate male and female choruses and duets. The soloists excel in their various numbers. The two keyboard players, Paul Feyer andd John Pike do excellently with this huge score. Lisa's choreography reminds you of "The King & I" with its Oriental flavor including the numerous fan dances. The courtroom and garden of Titipu unit set design is by Harry Feiner and the numerous and gorgeous costumes are by Solveig Pflueger. The splendid lighting which makes the set look beautiful is by Marty Vreeland and Rychard Curtiss is the stage manager who keeps his large cast moving on and offstage smoothly during the whole show.
Warren Kelley is fantastic as Ko-Ko. He is dressed as a court jester and reminds you of Danny Kaye with his wacky line deliveries and rubbery legs while he is acting and dancing. His facial expressions and comic timing are brilliant, too. One of his comic solos "Titwillow" is hilarious as woos the ugliest woman in town, Katisha played perfectly by Joan Shepard. Katisha wants to marry Nanki-Poo and is an evil and rotten person. Joan enters the stage dressed almost like Brunhilde, grabs her breast to show her lust for her missing young lover. (One of the most hilarious moments in the show.) Joan and Warren are a hoot, stealing many scenes they are in.
The star-crossed lovers are wonderfully played by Kristopher Lowe and Adina Verson. Kristopher's magnificent tenor voice soars off the scale in his many songs including "Wandering Minstrel, I" and "The Flowers in Spring, Tra La". Adina's soprano is lovely in all her songs including "Three Maids" with her sisters and her solo "The Sun whose rays are all ablaze" where she sings about how glorious she is. The dragoon of the show is Poo Bah played perfectly by Michael McCoy. His role is a corrupt government official combined into one person to show how bribery will get you places. His bass/baritone voice is very powerful and delightful to listen to in his solos and in the harmony sections of various numbers, too. Jenn Thompson is Pitti-Sing and Sarah Cooney is Peep-Bo, Yum-Yum's sisters. They have gorgeous voices in "Three Little Maids" and "Braid The Hair" and handle their comic roles beautifully. Evan Thompson plays the high ruler of Japan, the Mikado. His solo "A More Humane Mikado" shows the falsehood of the head of state's belief in archaic laws of the land. David Hamilton as Pish-Tush leads the male chorus in "Our Great Mikado" with his strong singing voice. The fantastic chorus includes Michael Cartwright, Raymond Churchill, Sean Hopkins, Corey Johnson, Adam Riccio, Lisa Ann Goldsmith, Renee Molnar-Haines, Tara Michelle Newinsky, Lauren Schroeder and Vira Slywotzky. So for one of the best renditions of this 220 year old show, be sure to catch River Rep's "The Mikado" at the air conditioned Ivoryton Playhouse, before time runs out.