As he takes the role of Pooh-Bah in the Augusta University Opera Initiative’s production of The Mikado, Greg Goodwin feels he’s come full-circle.
“I graduated from here in 1987, and in 2018, I’m back on this stage doing Gilbert and Sullivan,” said Goodwin, whose Augusta University theater roots germinated from seeds planted by former professor Bill Toole.
“Bill Toole had just come from New York, and he was big into Gilbert and Sullivan,” he said. “I felt I needed to do this as a tribute to him.”
Another of Toole’s students was Michael Budd, who is also returning to the AU stage to perform the role of Ko-Ko.
Goodwin and Budd performed together during their undergraduate years.
Goodwin said he’s honored to be part of the production, which is under the direction of Carroll Freeman, a former member of the New York City Opera. Freeman has also sung with the Houston Grand Opera, Baltimore Opera, San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Atlanta Opera, New Orleans Opera, Minnesota Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Pacific and Kentucky Opera.
Freeman is currently the Valeria Adams Distinguished Professor in Opera at Georgia State University.
The Mikado is set in a mythical village in Japan, and Goodwin describes the comic plot as “Monty Python meets opera.”
Under a humorous Asian guise, Gilbert and Sullivan actually poked fun at Britain’s hierarchy of the day, Goodwin said. The characters would’ve been obvious to those in the audience.
Goodwin said these nuances of the production have been brought out to the students, and he appreciates the learning aspect about the production.
The Mikado will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the university’s Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre.
Tickets are $5-$15. For more details, visit augusta.universitytickets.com.