With the sole exception of The Pirates of Penzance, which Broadway embraced, productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas are rarely attempted by large-scale theater companies. It seems to be a misguided sort of status judgment; why Seattle Opera deems Die Fledermaus and The Daughter of the Regiment worthy of its attention, and not, say, The Yeomen of the Guard—which boasts music equal in quality and an inarguably superior book—baffles. But leaving the G&S canon in the hands of true believers has its benefits, as anyone can attest who’s seen a show by the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society—which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month with a new look at The Mikado, the show that inaugurated the company’s not-so-brief career in 1954. Associate producer Kim Douglass, who takes over next season as the Society’s artistic director (only the fourth in its history) emphasizes that its productions have always been communal efforts by a dedicated core, most of whom wear several hats. “For instance,” she says, “our master carpenter and our board president both sing in the chorus as well. Our sound designer/engineer is also our production photographer... I not only took on some production tasks this season, but I also did some pinch-hitting as rehearsal accompanist, conductor, stage manager, and wardrobe assistant.”
Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 800-838-3006, pattersong.org. $16–$40. Opens July 11. 7:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Ends July 26.