American Musical Theater History Writing Assignment 1
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado
Most would agree to say that two is better than one. William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are by any means no exception to this. Gilbert, a playwright, and Sullivan, a composer, combined their talents to make the dream team of musical theatre. Together they have made some of the greatest and sophisticated musicals the world will ever see. The best of their shows are still being performed today, one of which is their famous musical, The Mikado. The Mikado is a comical musical which poked fun at a few aspects of England’s culture at the time. It quickly became popular among both the British and Americans. It eventually became popular in many other countries, which was an extraordinary feat at the time. Gilbert and Sullivan have an interesting history before coming together to make their great works such as The Mikado. Before William Gilbert started writing, he was an attorney. On the side he would write poems which led to a series of his illustrated comical poems getting published by a few popular British magazines. This eventually opened the door to his career as a playwright. During the time Gilbert was starting his writing career, Arthur Sullivan was already making waves as a serious composer. He knew this was what he wanted to do with his life and for good reason. He was a great composer who could make a song to fit any mood. Sullivan was already making a great deal of money with his works and felt very comfortable, but both he and Gilbert could never have foreseen what was next to come. In the 1860’s John Hillingshead, the owner of the Gaiety Theatre hired Gilbert to write and Sullivan to compose their first work together titled Thepsis. In the crowd at the showing of Thepsis was aspiring producer Richard D'Oyly Carte and saw something in the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. He eventually contacts them to write a curtain raiser which...