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HMS Pinafore, 2017
HMS Pinafore, 2017

HMS Pinafore



HMS Pinafore returned for its tenth time to the Young Vic stage. The show is particularly notable because it was performed in 1977, the year that the Gilman Summer Theatre became the Young Victorian Theatre Company. 2017 was also the 40th anniversary of Brian S. Goodman as the company's General Manager.

Selected Media

Recorded July 22, 2017

Audio: Act I, Sir Joseph's Entrance
Audio: Act I, Audacious Tar
Audio: Act II, Never Mind the Why and Wherefore
Audio: Act II, Finale

Selected Images

Final dress rehearsal, July 13, 2017

See more photos in our Facebook album

Show Synopsis

Act I

The British warship H.M.S. Pinafore is at anchor off Portsmouth. The sailors are on the quarterdeck, proudly "cleaning brasswork, splicing rope, etc."

Little Buttercup, a Portsmouth "bumboat woman" (dockside vendor) – who is the "rosiest, roundest, and reddest beauty in all Spithead" – comes on board to sell her wares to the crew. She hints that she may be hiding a dark secret under her "gay and frivolous exterior." Ralph Rackstraw, "the smartest lad in all the fleet", enters, declaring his love for the Captain's daughter, Josephine. His fellow sailors (excepting Dick Deadeye, the grim and ugly realist of the crew) offer their sympathies, but they can give Ralph little hope that his love will ever be returned.

The gentlemanly and popular Captain Corcoran greets his "gallant crew" and compliments them on their politeness, saying that he returns the favor by never ("well, hardly ever") using bad language, such as "a big, big D" ["Damme"]. After the sailors leave, the Captain confesses to Little Buttercup that Josephine is reluctant to consider a marriage proposal from Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Buttercup says that she knows how it feels to love in vain. As she leaves, the Captain remarks that she is "a plump and pleasing person."

Josephine enters and reveals to her father that she loves a humble sailor in his crew, but she assures him that she is a dutiful daughter and will never reveal her love to this sailor.

Sir Joseph comes on board, accompanied by his "admiring crowd of sisters, cousins and aunts." He recounts how he rose from humble beginnings to be "ruler of the Queen's Navee" through persistence, although he has no naval qualifications. He then delivers a humiliating lesson in etiquette, telling the Captain that he must always say "if you please" after giving an order; for "A British sailor is any man's equal" – excepting Sir Joseph's. Sir Joseph has composed a song to illustrate that point, and he gives a copy of it to Ralph.

Elated by Sir Joseph's views on equality, Ralph decides that he will declare his love to Josephine. This delights all his shipmates except Dick Deadeye, who contends that "when people have to obey other people's orders, equality's out of the question." Shocked by his words, the other sailors force Dick to listen to Sir Joseph's song before they exit, leaving Ralph alone on deck.

Josephine now enters, and Ralph confesses his love in terms surprisingly and floridly eloquent for a "common sailor." Josephine is touched, but although she has found Sir Joseph's attentions nauseating, she knows that it is her duty to marry Sir Joseph instead of Ralph. Disguising her true feelings, she "haughtily rejects" Ralph's "proffered love."

Ralph summons his shipmates (Sir Joseph's female relatives also arrive) and tells them that he is bent on suicide. The crew expresses sympathy, except for Dick, who provides a stark counterpoint of dissent. Ralph puts a pistol to his head, but as he is about to pull the trigger, Josephine enters, admitting that she loves him after all. Ralph and Josephine plan to sneak ashore to elope that night. Dick Deadeye warns them to "forbear, nor carry out the scheme you've planned", reminding them of the disparity of their ranks ("She is a lady – you, a foremast hand!"), but the joyous ship's company ignores him.

Act II

Later that night, under a full moon, Captain Corcoran reviews his concerns: his "kindly crew" seems to ignore him, his daughter "to a tar is partial,"and Sir Joseph has threatened a court-martial.

Little Buttercup, listening to him sing, offers sympathy. He tells her that, if it were not for the difference in their social standing, he would have returned her affection. Stung by this rejection, she warns him that things are not all as they seem and that "a change" is in store for him, but he does not understand her cryptic warning.

Sir Joseph enters and complains that Josephine has not yet agreed to marry him. The Captain speculates that she is probably dazzled by his "exalted rank" and suggests that if Sir Joseph can persuade her that "love levels all ranks,",she will accept his proposal. They withdraw, and Josephine enters, still feeling guilty about her planned elopement with Ralph and fearful of giving up her life of luxury for that of the wife of a common sailor. When Sir Joseph makes the argument that "love levels all ranks," stressing that married happiness is not inconsistent with discrepancy in rank, Sir Joseph unwittingly pleads his rival's cause, and Josephine thereupon secretly decides to marry her lower deck lover. As the Captain and Sir Joseph rejoice, Josephine reveals that she is now determined to marry Ralph.

Staying behind to exult, the Captain's happiness is short-lived, because Dick Deadeye tells him of the lovers' plans to elope. The Captain confronts Ralph and Josephine and the pair declare their mutual love, justifying their actions because "He is an Englishman!" The furious Captain responds, "To seek your captain's child in marriage – why, damme, it's too bad!" Sir Joseph and his relatives, who have overheard this oath, are shocked to hear swearing on board a ship, and Sir Joseph orders the Captain to his cabin in disgrace.

When Sir Joseph asks what had provoked the Captain's unseemly outburst, Ralph replies that it was his declaration of love for Josephine. Furious in his turn at this revelation, and ignoring Josephine's pleas, Sir Joseph has the sailor "loaded with chains" and taken to the ship's dungeon.

All seems in ruins, when Little Buttercup comes forward to reveal her long-held secret. Many years ago, when she "practiced baby-farming", she had cared for two babies, one "of low condition", the other "a regular patrician." She confesses that she "mixed those children up… and that the wellborn babe was Ralph; your Captain was the other!"

Sir Joseph realizes that Ralph should have been the Captain, and the Captain should have been Ralph, and summons both; they emerge wearing one another's uniforms: Ralph as Captain, in command of the Pinafore, and Corcoran as a common sailor!

Since Sir Joseph's marriage with Josephine is now "out of the question" in his eyes ("love levels all ranks ... to a considerable extent, but it does not level them as much as that"), he yields her to Captain Rackstraw. The former Captain's now-humble social rank leaves him free to marry Buttercup.

Sir Joseph settles for his cousin Hebe, and all ends in general rejoicing.

Cast Bios

Joshua Hughes
Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty

Lauded as "a lush, rich baritone" (TheatreBloom) with "a brilliant vocal range," (DC Metro Theater Arts) Joshua Hughes has performed in opera, operetta, and theatre ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan to Mozart to Shakespeare.

Currently based in Dallas, TX, Hughes recently performed in Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Dallas Bach Society, Mame (Junior Babcock) with Lyric Stage, and The Winter’s Tale (Antigonus and Florizel) with Barebones Shakespeare Company.

Hughes last performed with Young Victorian Theatre Company in their 2016 summer production of Iolanthe (Lord Chancellor) and previously appeared in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Ambrogio) with Lyric Opera Baltimore, Ruddigore (Robin) with Victorian Lyric Opera Company, and Così fan tutte (Guglielmo) with Bethesda Summer Music Festival.

Peabody Opera credits include Street Scene (Harry Easter), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Pasha Selim), Hansel and Gretel (Father), Charpentier’s La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers, and Cendrillon. Other credits include Die Zauberflöte, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, La Bohème, and A Little Night Music with Opera in the Ozarks, and Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost (Marco and Magistrate) with Bay View Music Festival.

Hughes hails from Smithville, MO and graduated with a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University where he studied with William Sharp. Hughes received his Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma City University where he studied with Jeffrey Picón.

Jeffrey Williams
Captain Corcoran, Commander of HMS Pinafore

Jeffrey Williams, baritone, has been hailed by Baltimore Sun, as "very likable, a winning performance sung with much confidence, phrasing everything stylishly," and Miami Herald as possessing a "commanding, sizable, effortless, manly baritone" and by Opera News as a "versatile, fearless performer."

He has portrayed Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Marschner’s Lord Ruthven in Der Vampyr, Lionel in the Philadelphia premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, Mozart’s Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Tchaikovsky’s Prince Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, Mozart’s Figaro, many of Gilbert & Sullivan’s baritones and others.

Williams has been a Nashville Opera Mary Ragland Young Artist and a Seagle Music Colony Young Artist. He has taken part in the NATS Intern Program, SongFest, Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Middlebury College’s Deutsch für Sänger Programm, and for many years was associated with the John Duffy Composers Institute in conjunction with the Virginia Arts Festival in Norfolk, Virginia, premiering operatic works of living composers. He appears on two world premiere recordings, both with Albany Records – Thomas Sleeper’s series of operas Einstein’s Inconsistency and Michael Dellaira’s The Death of Webern.

Williams has received numerous awards including an Arleen Auger Memorial Fund Study Grant, the Cynthia Vernardakis Award at the Orpheus National Voice Competition, the Baltimore Music Club Prize in Performance, and the George Castelle Award in Voice.

In 2014, he advanced to the Regional Auditions in Memphis, TN, after winning the Middle/East Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is currently the Mid-South Regional Governor of National Opera Association (NOA), and is affiliated with American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

In addition to being Assistant Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, Williams maintains an active performance schedule. In the 2016-2017 season, he performed with Nashville Opera, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Bach in Baltimore, and in many other concert/recital appearances across the country.

John Kaneklides
Ralph Rackstraw

Hailed by Opera News as "the very picture of youthful optimism and potential," John Kaneklides is quickly establishing himself as a celebrated tenor of his time.

This season, he will return to St. Petersburg Opera to make his role debut in the title role of Les Contes d'Hoffmann. He will also star as Villiers, The Duke of Buckingham in the highly anticipated New York premier of Carlisle Floyd’s, The Prince of Players and reprise the role of Rodolfo in La Bohème with the Arts Festival Boca. Additionally, Kaneklides will be a featured soloist with the Opera Orchestra of New York, Opera Experience Southeast, and several concerts throughout the USA.

In past seasons, he has earned notable acclaim for his portrayals of Alfredo in La traviata, Nemorino in L'elisire d'amore, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo in La bohème, Jeník in The Bartered Bride, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Cassio in Otello, Pong in Turandot, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Laurie in Little Women, and Micah in Floyd’s Slow Dusk. Kaneklides is also making a name for himself in classic musical theatre roles such as Henrik in A Little Night Music and Tony in Westside Story.

Last season Broadway World noted his portrayal of Lt. Joseph was, "chillingly real," "simply brilliant," and "whenever he sings his voice makes the audience melt."

A decorated award-winner, Kaneklides has received honors from the Metropolitan Opera, the Orpheus National Competition, the Opera Guild of Charlotte, the International Liederkranz Foundation, and the Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition.

A native of Charlotte, NC, Kaneklides has sung from coast to coast, including engagements in Hawaii, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Carolina, and Carnegie Hall.

Christopher Hartung
Dick Deadeye

Christopher Hartung has just completed his first year as a transfer student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studies with Dr. Stanley Cornett. This past year Mr. Hartung was seen with the Peabody Opera Department in their production of Le Nozze di Figaro in the role of Dr. Bartolo and as the Figaro cover.

He previously performed the role with the Amalfi Coast Music Institute this past summer. Before attending Peabody, Mr. Hartung attended the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University where he studied with Dr. Lawrence Indik. While at Temple University he had the opportunities to partake in the Boyer Opera Theatre’s productions of La finta Giardiniera and The Merry Widow.

Outside of Temple, he was honored to be in the production of Lenard Bernstein’s MASS with Yannik Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is also a regular young artist with the Berk’s Opera Company where he most recently sang the role of Lodovico in Verdi’s Otello with Metropolitan Soprano Jennifer Check. Mr. Hartung has also sung the Bass solos for the Brahms Requiem and Handel’s Messiah over the past year. Mr. Hartung is eager to see where his career path will take him and is beyond grateful for the blessings God has sent his way.

Ross Tamaccio
Bill Bobstay

Ross Tamaccio is a baritone currently based in Baltimore, Maryland. His recent performances include Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Peabody Opera, Papageno in the Peabody Outreach program of The Magic Flute, and Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone with Loudoun Lyric Opera.

In addition to his work in opera, Ross is a devoted ensemble singer and sings regularly with The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., as well as The Bridge Ensemble, a sixteen member professional choir that specializes in renaissance polyphony as well as twenty-first century choral music. Ross is attending Peabody Conservatory and is a student of Stanley Cornett.

Lorenzo Zapata
Bob Becket

Lorenzo Zapata, bass-baritone, is based in Baltimore and recently performed Bartolo in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Silvano in Cavalli’s Calisto with Peabody Opera. He has performed at Peabody in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and with the BSO and Angela Meade in a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. From North Carolina, he has performed in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffman, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. He currently studies under Dr. Steven Rainbolt at Peabody.

Gabrielle DeMers

Soprano Gabrielle DeMers performs regularly with The Lyric Opera Baltimore where she made her role debut as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly under the baton of Maestro Steven White. Gabrielle recently performed Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with OperaAACC. For her Mimi in La Boheme with HUBOpera, DC Metro Arts wrote that she was “sweetly demure as ingénue seamstress Mimi...'Donde Lieta'...was heart-breaking and left most of the audience in tears." She also performs with The Young Victorian Theater Company where she sang Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Phyllis in Iolanthe, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers, where Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun singled her out as “a dynamo as Gianetta, with her bright, hearty soprano." Gabrielle is thrilled to return to Young Vic to reprise the role of Josephine in Pinafore!

Ms. DeMers has received awards and scholarships from music organizations including Annapolis Opera, the Baltimore Music Club, National Federation of Music Clubs, and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Gabrielle also appears as the soloist for the song "Noche Sagrada" for the album Universidad Navidena, produced by EMI.

Gabrielle received her Master of Music in Opera Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park. As a member of the Maryland Opera Studio, she sang the title role of Sandrina in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera and Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Southern California where she sang Betty in the west-coast premiere of Lowell Liebermann and J.D. McClatchy’s Miss Lonelyhearts and Nerone in Handel’s Agrippina.

Gabrielle has been featured in concerts and recitals around the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area.

Melissa Mino

Melissa Mino is a versatile and engaging performer seen and heard in opera, oratorio, operetta, and in concert. She recently made her Washington National Opera debut singing the Dew Fairy in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Her concert engagements have included Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with American Ballet Theatre at the Kennedy Center, the Brahms’ Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria at the National Cathedral, Haydn’s Creation with the Sylvan Chorale, and a return to the Kennedy Center to perform Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise as an opening act for Lea Salonga, Darren Criss and others for Phillippines Typhoon relief. A proponent of new American opera, she sang the role of Sylvia in A Game of Hearts at OPERA America, the title role in Maurice Wright’s Galatea Reset in Philadelphia, and performed in Lost Childhood at Strathmore with the National Philharmonic. In 2014, Melissa covered the role of Rosalba in Washington National Opera’s production of Florencia en el Amazonas.

With Young Vic, Melissa has performed as Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Yum Yum in The Mikado, and Casilda in The Gondoliers. Other opera roles include Mozart’s Despina, Zerlina, Pamina, the Vixen in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Monica in Menotti’s The Medium. She continued her training as an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera and at the CoOPERAtive Program. Melissa was recently awarded the John Douglas Memorial Award at Temple University for alumni achievement in opera, and was a national finalist and overall 3rd prize winner in the Classical Singer competition.

Increasingly in demand for recitals and concert work, Melissa has been a soloist with the McLean Orchestra, Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Fairfax Symphony and Central Maryland Chorale. She is a repeat guest artist at numerous embassies in DC for events such as Italian National Day and the Maserati 100th anniversary. She also worked with Elan artists as the featured soprano for the opening of Hermès Paris in DC at City Center. She resides in Arlington, VA with her husband Colin and baby girl Hadley. She also maintains an active private studio. She received her M.M. degree from Temple University and her B.M. degree with a concentration in music education and French, summa cum laude, from Bucknell University.

Claire Iverson
Cousin Hebe

Claire Iverson is excited to be making a return to the Young Vic stage with this production of HMS Pinafore after singing with the chorus of The Gondoliers in 2014.

She recently completed her first year of undergraduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory, where she studies voice under the tutelage of Ah Young Hong, and at Johns Hopkins University, where she is majoring in International Studies with a focus in French and political science.

She frequently sings at local churches, and most recently sang for the Baltimore Bar Foundation’s Spaghetti Opera fundraising event.

She graduated in 2016 from the Baltimore School for the Arts, where she also focused in voice performance. There, she was able to sing as a soprano soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, as Queen of the Night in scenes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and as the title role in scenes from Leo Delibes’s Lakme. She has also sung the roles of First Lady in scenes from Die Zauberflöte, Almirena in scenes from Handel’s Rinaldo, and Yum Yum in scenes from The Mikado with the High School Voice Program of the Brevard Summer Music Festival and Institute.

She enjoys performing across various genres, and has especially enjoyed portraying Cosette in Les Miserables with Children’s Playhouse of Maryland, Rapunzel in Into the Woods with Spotlighters Theatre, and most recently the Mistress in Evita with Spotlighters Theatre, for which DC Metro Theatre Arts honored her in their "Best of 2016: Best Performances in Musicals in Community Theatres in DC/MD/VA" Awards. Later this summer, she looks forward to studying at the Neil Semer Vocal Institute in Aub, Germany.

Jenni Bank
Little Buttercup

Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and grew up in Binghamton, New York. Ms. Bank performed the role of The Duchess in The American Premier of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and made her European Debut singing Chin’s Scenes From Alice in Wonderland with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. She performed this work again with the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester in Bergen and Oslo, Norway and reprised the role of The Duchess in 2015 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and at the Barbican Centre in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Bank will soon be reprising the piece in Seoul, South Korea with The Seoul Philharmonic. Ms. Bank was thrilled to return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2016 to sing the role of Firdhaus Noman in the World Premier adaptation of Salmon Rushdie’s novel Shalimar the Clown composed by Jack Perla with a libretto by Rajiv Joseph.

Following her studies in voice and opera at The Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, Ms. Bank participated in prestigious Young Artist programs at Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera New Jersey. In the summer of 2015 Ms. Bank was a member of the world-renowned Filene Young Artist Program at Wolf Trap Opera where she performed the roles of Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Samira in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Ms. Bank will return to Seattle Opera for their 2017 season to make her Main Stage debut performing Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. This season also includes her debut with Knoxville Opera as Ruth in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and a Third Lady (cover) with The Chicago Lyric Opera. Next season includes a debut with Hawaii Opera Theatre and return to The Florentine Opera to perform Third Lady in the Magic Flute.

Ms. Bank’s recent performances include Mary in Die Fliegende Holländer and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera Company, the Old Lady in Candide and Mrs. Peachum in Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera with Amarillo Opera, and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof with Ash Lawn Opera. Ms. Bank has performed Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with Opera in the Heights in Houston and recently returned to the company to sing The Witch in Hänsel und Gretel to rave reviews. The Houston Chronicle praised her “lusty singing” and Susan Boyd, a Houstonia Magazine blogger, praised her performance saying “Perhaps most memorable was Jenni Bank, the hunch-backed villain Knusperhexe who flew in on a broom in the third act and made this opera her own. She might have been baked into gingerbread cookies, but her voice is what I’m still marveling over. With a complex mezzo-soprano timbre, flush with color but technically exact, it was a surprise that Bank could also cackle and crackle her evil spells “Hocus pocus!”

A standout in both seria and buffa roles and comfortable in concert and oratorio work, Ms. Bank’s performance repertoire includes Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Frugola in Il Tabarro, La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Martha in Faust, Giulietta and La voix de la mere in Les Contess d’Hoffmann, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Petra in A Little Night Music, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, Katisha in The Mikado, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, Argento’s orchestrated Casa Guidi song cycle, and mezzo solos in the Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Bruckner Te Deum, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Additionally, Ms. Bank has been featured on public television and public radio as an up-and-coming artist and has sung a recital in her birth country of South Africa. Ms. Bank recently returned to her home town of Binghamton, New York to sing the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

Ms. Bank is a winner of the prestigious Sullivan Foundation Award and receives a continuing career grant from the foundation. She has been recognized by numerous vocal organizations and competitions, including the finals of the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition, first place in The Harold Haugh vocal competition, second place in the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, a semi-finalist in the Competizione dell’Opera in Germany, and was semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.


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The Young Victorian Theatre Company is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

The Young Victorian Theatre Company is a nonprofit professional summer repertory theatre.