Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic opera, "H.M.S. Pinafore," opens with the ship anchored in a British harbor and its sailors hard at work, scrubbing the decks for an expected, high-ranking visitor.
The Young Victorian Theatre Company, which is staging "Pinafore" July 13-21, has sailed into a new harbor, too, moving from its longtime home, the Centennial Hall theater at Bryn Mawr School, to the Sinex Theater at Roland Park Country School.
And like the crew of the Pinafore, Young Vic, as the company is known, is busy adapting to its new home for its own close-up when important real-life visitors, theatergoers, arrive for the company's 43rd season next week.
"It's a matter of getting familiar with the innards of the place," said Young Vic publicist Mike Lurie.
Last year, Young Vic, which specializes in Gilbert and Sullivan operas, had to leave Bryn Mawr, its home since 1989, because the school was expanding its summer theater workshop. The theater troupe went out with a bang, staging "The Mikado," one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best-known operas.
Now, Young Vic is christening its new home with "Pinafore," another classic.
"The energy has been great," said General Manager Brian Goodman, who considers the theater a major upgrade over Bryn Mawr's in size, acoustics and amenities such as elevators and air conditioning. "It has given the whole company a shot in the arm."
'They're excited about sound quality and newness," Lurie said.
The 425-seat Sinex Theater is deeper, too, with wider wings and an orchestra pit. A row of seats was removed, so that a "pit wall" could be built between the pit and the orchestra, Goodman said.
"After 43 years, it's really nice to have an orchestra pit," he said, adding, "This building has acoustics like an opera house."
The orchestra pit helps balance the sound — and for audiences, "the focus is on the stage, not on the orchestra," said Young Vic conductor Phillip Collister, a music professor at Towson University.
Sinex has its own dressing rooms, whereas past casts used a classroom at Bryn Mawr.
This year's cast has taken notice.
"Good acoustics," said Jenni Bank, 28, a Young Vic veteran with a big voice, who plays the role of Little Buttercup, a dockside vendor.
"It looks like a real theater," said Stage Manager James Harp.
The change in venue has not hurt Young Vic's business; in fact, "Ticket sales appear to be up," Goodman said.
Student in the chorus
Roland Park Country School is excited, too.
"Their set is in and it is spectacular," said Nancy Mugele, a school spokeswoman.
She said the school is providing security for the shows and that its External Programs office "has been instrumental in seeing to all of the details."