Overview of the Mikado Project


This space is dedicated to the findings on the many United States’ adaptations of The Mikado, while showcasing a mere fraction of Dr. Harold Kanthor’s collection. Below is the Rare Book Department’s finding aid for Dr. Kanthor’s extensive Gilbert and Sullivan collection.

The project focuses on Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, The Mikado, which first appeared at the Savoy theater in London on March 14th, 1885. This project tracks specific adaptations of the Gilbert and Sullivan original that have performed across the United States (there are countless other international adaptations that would make substantive research for a longer project). The following adaptations are to be the project’s focus: The Swing Mikado, The Hot Mikado, Hot Mikado, The Black Mikado, The McAdo, and The Mikado: Reclaimed.

The project is focused on how each of the selected adaptations interact with the racism and cultural appropriation that is an integral and problematic aspect of the original The Mikado. It will explore how various different versions of The Mikado have been altered, often in an attempt to be less culturally insensitive, though this was not the only cause for adaptation (some versions were simply new, and innovative ways to interact with the original material). The project is centered around public and critic receptions of numerous adaptations.

Link to finding aid for Dr. Kanthor’s collection here.