Arts & Culture

A New Leader Takes Over the Young Vic

Brian Goodman—longtime general manager of Roland Park's summer musical theater group—turns over the reins to his daughter, Fallon.
—Photography by Christopher Myers

According to family legend, even before Fallon Goodman was born, she was a fan of Baltimore’s Young Victorian Theatre Company, the Roland Park-based summer musical theater group known to many as the “Young Vic.”

Her dad, Brian Goodman, has served as the company’s general manager for nearly five decades and, as he recalls it, “My wife was pregnant, and she told me that as soon as the overture music started, Fallon started kicking in her stomach.”

From that day on, Fallon was always in the theater—and it wasn’t long until she joined the cast. “I was eight,” says Fallon, now 31, of her first production. “That’s about the age when you start to cement real memories, so really, for as long as I can remember, I have always been enmeshed in the world of Young Vic.”

And what a world it is. Each summer, accomplished professional singers, accompanied by a full orchestra, join a troupe of amateur chorus members to create a fully staged and costumed production by Gilbert and Sullivan—the revered 19th-century duo whose comic operas are packed with satire, hijinks, and gorgeous musical moments.

Young Vic’s origin story stretches all the way back to the 1970s, when a group of Gilman School theater kids thought it might be fun to keep the good times going over the summer. And over the past half-century, Brian Goodman, one of the earliest members, has nurtured the company’s growth from a student organization to the independent company it is today.

“I thought, how hard could it be?” chuckles Brian about those early days. “But it’s time to turn the reins over.”

And poised to grab them is, of course, his daughter, Fallon. This month’s production of Ruddigore on July 14-21 marks her fourth season as assistant general manager. As the leader-designate, she will face some challenges her dad did not, such as—to borrow an industry term—the “graying of audiences.” As loyal fans get older, attracting new audiences requires additional resources and strategic creativity.

Fortunately, the latter is a strong suit for this plucky company and its rising leader, whose vision includes new marketing tactics and even rethinking its repertoire.

“With the sheer amount of what people can consume now on the internet and social media, you have to be dynamic and interesting to keep people’s attention,” says Fallon. “G&S was really the bridge from opera to musical theater. For me, that was really a democratization of this higher-brow art form, to make it more accessible to the masses. I think eventually we could expand beyond performing just G&S to do shows that are still relatable for everyone, as long as our focus always remains engaging with our audience and society.”