Children’s Musical Theater San Jose 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.
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. Children who had performed with the company in its early years, some now parents themselves and many pursuing professional careers in the arts, began to return to the company as supporters and staff members.
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.
The company continues to cast every child who auditions and to rely heavily on its dedicated volunteer force, but it now also has an artistic staff of trained theater professionals guiding each production and a professional administrative staff.
In 2001, with its audience base and performers coming from all over the greater Bay Area and online programs serving students and teachers worldwide, the company changed its name again to Children’s Musical Theater San Jose.
Though San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, will always be home to Children’s Musical Theater, we look forward to sharing our work, our mission and our philosophy beyond the Bay Area.