Children’s Musical Theater Opens New Creative Arts Center

SAN JOSEChildren’s Musical Theater San Jose (CMT), the nationally-acclaimed theater company honored 12 times by the National Endowment for the Arts and the oldest operating performing arts organization in San Jose, announced the opening of its new Creative Arts Center. Known for providing the highest quality theater arts programs to its widely diverse community, the CMT Creative Arts Center features 25,000 sq. ft. of space housing five rehearsal studios, set shop, costume shop, props and set storage, and collaborative staff space all under one roof. This new space will ensure a safe space for youth performers, parent volunteers, full-scale production workshops, master classes, and educational programs.

“For years we have lived and breathed the philosophy of not just making lemonade out of life’s lemons, but making a delicious lemon pie and teaching our children how to make one themselves,” said CMT San Jose Artistic Director Kevin Hauge. “We have had many such lemons throughout our incredible 53-year run at CMT, none of which like this past one that affected us and our community in so many ways. I am so proud that we can now say that we—our organization, our children, and our community—didn’t just survive this past year but are coming out of it stronger, more resilient and more vivacious than ever, and this new cutting-edge arts center is the living proof of that.”

Located at 1545 Parkmoor Ave. in San Jose, the new CMT Creative Arts Center is in close proximity to CMT’s previous space for maximum convenience for students and families. The updated state-of-the-art SMART sound system, theatrical lighting, and contemporary dance floor provides opportunities for daytime and after school classes and production workshops for all ages and skill levels. The new building accommodates complimentary parking for hundreds of participants, supporters, and community members.

“My family has benefited greatly from CMT, and now with the New CMT Creative Arts Center, our children will have a world class facility to learn, create, and dream big as they go back to their second home,” said CMT Board Member Erez Yereslove. “For over 53 years, CMT has provided the superior theater arts training to youth in the region—our community is so fortunate to have this theater arts treasure right in our backyard.”

During this unprecedented year of 2020–2021, CMT’s community has invested in the future of the organization. By June of 2020, 50% of the $2.2 million capital campaign goal was secured through individual gifts, foundation support, and grants, including from the City of San Jose and County Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, the Board of Directors, Co-Chairs, Executive Director, Artistic Director, and staff continued to manage and operate CMT. No one could have foreseen what would occur beginning in March 2020: COVID-19, quarantine, economic uncertainty, and transformational social changes. Through it all, CMT has shown by the dedication of its community of donors, staff, and alumni that theater arts matter to this community and a state-of-the-art Creative Arts Center will be a perfect blending of the history of an iconic community organization and the innovation that makes the San Francisco Bay Area shine. As of January 30, 2020, CMT has raised a full $2 million and are 96% of the way to the $2.2 million goal.

Adds Hauge: “It was particularly enriching to me and the staff to be able to continue working with the kids in the past year via video. But I’m beyond excited to see all the talented children again in person in the new center. We have worked hard with so many people on our board and beyond to make the new home easy for young people to navigate, for parents to thrive, and for enabling the best experience for our performers. This is a milestone moment for this organization, and I’m privileged to have led it towards its bright future.”

For more information on Children’s Musical Theater San Jose, visit www.cmtsj.org.

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ABOUT CHILDREN’S MUSICAL THEATER SAN JOSE
Since 1968, CMT San Jose has been an integral part of the South Bay arts community, over 50,000 young people have participated in their programs. Each season, CMT casts over 1200 performers and performs for 40,000 audience members, including 8,000 young people at Student Matinees. Now in its 53rd season, CMT remains committed to train and educate today’s youth through musical theater, to set and achieve high artistic and personal goals, and to inspire them to become exemplary artists, patrons and citizens of tomorrow. Inclusiveness and quality are the two touchstones of CMT’s vision and the organization is committed to offer access to the arts for all youth in our community through an equitable lens. CMT is dedicated to providing the highest possible caliber of musical and theatrical training to children from ages 4 to 20, spanning all abilities and stands behind its promise to never turn a child away, regardless of financial or physical limitations.

ABOUT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR KEVIN HAUGE
In his 25th season as Artistic Director at CMT San Jose, Kevin has led the nation’s premier theater company for youth in taking on increasingly challenging and professional-quality productions. His innovative approach to productions includes incorporating modern techniques and technology, culminating in 12 separate awards of recognition for artistic excellence from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2018, Kevin received an honorable mention from the American Theater Wing as part of their Tony Award for Education. Kevin has also been honored by Silicon Valley Creates receiving their 2016 Legacy Laureate Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and Community Impact. A recipient of the prestigious Lin Wright Special Recognition Award by the American Alliance for Theater and Education, he’s been the guest speaker at the International Association of Theater Educators Conference in Washington D.C., and the Education and Technology conference in New York City. Kevin has collaborated on productions in a variety of venues all over the world. He’s staged ice shows, magic shows, musical revues, industrial shows, corporate parties, television specials and book musicals for a variety of companies, including Tropworld (Atlantic City), Harrah’s (Reno), Six Flags Parks (nationwide), and Royal Viking Cruise Lines (worldwide). Some of the unique productions Kevin has worked on include You’re in the Movies (MGM Grand) in Las Vegas, World of Wonders (Everland) in Seoul, South Korea, and a special Easter Celebration (The White House) in Washington D.C. Kevin has appeared several times as a guest artist with the San Jose Symphony, and has served on the Exhibits Committee at the Tech Museum of Innovation.

ABOUT MANAGING DIRECTOR DANA ZELL
Now in her sixth year as Managing Director, Dana brings with her more than twenty years of theatrical management and marketing experience. Previous clients include the Broadway touring production of Wicked, Disney Theatrical Productions (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aida), Broadway touring productions of Hairspray and Contact, The Roundabout Theatre Company, and the Vineyard Theatre. She also served as Marketing Director for CMT from 2003 to 2005 and Director of Strategy from 2014-2015. Dana holds a BA in Communications from University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Theater Management from Brooklyn College. She recently joined the leadership forum Strategies for Learning with Georgetown University and serves on the board of Team San Jose. Dana is a CMT alumna, has served on artistic staff for the organization, and is now a proud parent of CMT performers.