1945 - 1946
Town of Titipu, Japan
Nanki-Poo has fled from the court of his father, the Mikado of Japan, to escape marriage with Katisha, an elderly lady of the court. Disguised as a musician, he has fallen in love with Yum-Yum; but he has been prevented from marrying her by her guardian, Ko-Ko, who wishes to marry her himself. Ko-Ko, however, was condemned to death for flirting. Nanki-Poo learns that Ko-Ko has, instead, become Lord High Executioner, thus preventing the sentence of decapitation from being carried out and that Ko-Ko is, in fact, going to marry Yum-Yum that very afternoon. Suddenly a letter comes from the Mikado ordering Ko-Ko to execute somebody or lose his position of Lord High Executioner. He is looking for someone to execute when Nanki-Poo appears, bent upon suicide because he cannot marry Yum-Yum. By allowing Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for a month, Ko-Ko persuades Nanki-Poo to be the subject of a public execution when that month is up.
It is then discovered that the law is that when a married man is executed, his wife must be buried alive. To save Yum-Yum from that fate, Nanki-Poo cancels his agreement with Ko-Ko and plans to kill himself at once. However, to solve Ko-Ko’s problem, Nanki-Poo magnanimously offers himself for immediate decapitation, but Ko-Ko is unable to perform the act without some practice. To get out of his difficulties, Ko-Ko has Pooh-Bah make a false affidavit that Nanki-Poo has been executed, and orders Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum to immediately marry and leave the country. When the Mikado arrives, Ko-Ko produces the affidavit and describes the execution, but it transpires that the Mikado’s visit is, in fact, in search of his son. When it emerges that the person supposedly executed is really the Mikado's son, Ko-Ko and his accomplices are sentenced to a grisly fate. The only hope for them is to admit the falsehood of the affidavit and produce Nanki-Poo alive. But, as Nanki-Poo has already married Yum-Yum and so cannot marry Katisha, Katisha will surely insist on his execution. Ko-Ko is forced to solve the problem by marrying Katisha himself, thus allowing Nanki-Poo to safely re-appear.
Producer: Purvis Wood
Musical Director: H. Bramwell Bailey