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Our History

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of San José (GSSSJ) was founded in 1972 as a result of a notice placed in the local newspapers by John P. Healy, Jr. He called for a meeting of persons interested in works of the Victorian music era while still in his early 20s. At the tender age of 17 years he founded San José Children's Musical Theater. A small but enthusiastic turnout decided that we wanted to be a producing company and a board of directors was elected. The late Michel Stein was elected as the president.


The first production was The Pirates of Penzance. The assembled cast was a mixed bag: some of the cast members were adults and others were drawn from the San José Children's Musical Theater. The leading role of Major General Stanley was portrayed by a talented 14-year old who aged half a century with makeup, and a 12-year old policeman arrested a 55-year old pirate. The late Ruth Stein, Michel's wife and a life-long Gilbert and Sullivan buff, sang in the chorus. She was, from the beginning, a prominent member and visionary for GSSSJ.


During the first five years, GSSSJ grew from a small, but passionate group of about forty talented volunteer doctors, engineers and housewives to a close-knit theatrical company, playing to sold-out houses. By the end of this period we were now mounting two to three productions per year, had money in the bank, sets, lights, costumes, props, a technical crew, directors, musicians, designers, and a loyal audience. And in the 1980's, we began to expand our repertoire to include light opera and lyrical musicals by other composers ~ -and became known as Lyric Theatre of San Jose, still with the same commitment to bringing the delights of light opera to the people of the Santa Clara Valley.


Long time Lyric performer and director Mark Blattel has compiled a searchable index of Lyric Theatre shows. On it you can find out who all the actors, musicians, stage personnel, and directors were going back to our 1973 production of The Pirates of Penzance.

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