Children’s Musical Theater San Jose (CMT) was founded in 1968, by John P. Healy, Jr., a 17-year-old musical theater performer who dreamed of a theater company where every young person who auditioned would have the opportunity to perform onstage..
Healy, with support from his parents and community leaders, created Cabrini Community Theater. Thirty-five children and teenagers from Healy’s neighborhood, including his younger siblings, appeared onstage in a production of Robin Hood, written and directed by Healy. The group performed at a local church, with parents pitching in to build sets, sew costumes and take tickets. A full story about our company's beginnings are here via Mr. Healy's obituary.
Within a couple of years, as word of the company’s unique casting policy spread, the group had mushroomed to more than 300 performers from all over the city, and the company changed its name to San Jose Children’s Musical Theater. In the late 1970s, the company offered its first summer Conservatory of Performing Arts classes, establishing itself not only as a performing outlet, but also a first-class training organization.
In 1996, the company hired Kevin R. Hauge as its first full-time Artistic Director. Hauge, who had directed productions here as a college student a decade earlier, now had an established entertainment company producing large, multimedia musical productions for theme parks, cruise ships and special events. Under his direction, the company began to successfully produce more sophisticated, technically demanding shows that are usually undertaken only by large regional and professional theater companies. The company also began to play a larger role in the community, venturing into local schools, providing excellent, affordable performing arts curriculum, and online, establishing one of the first and most successful internet-based theater programs in the world.
Today, CMT is the largest theatrical performing and training organization of its kind in the nation. CMT has received ten National Endowment for the Arts grants, was the first non-Equity theater company in the nation chosen to produce Miss Saigon and Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, and continues to gain exclusive rights to produce West Coast premiere productions including the 48th season's production of Sister Act and Billy Elliot in 2016.
Now in its 49th season, CMT is known nationwide for the unique policy of casting every child who auditions. To do this, both the lead and ensemble roles of all productions are double-cast. Through its variety of programs – classes, summer camps, audition workshops for performance-age children’s, productions and school shows – CMT reaches over 40,000 youth and their families each year.