SAN JOSE, CA — Children’s Musical Theater San Jose (CMT San Jose) — a nationally-acclaimed theater company honored 11 times by the NEA, and the oldest operating performing arts organization in San Jose — has announced its 51st season of shows. Each year, it presents a series of ten top-rated, contemporary musicals — a diverse range including popular titles, inspiring stories and bold choices — in four distinct divisions: Junior Talents (ages 6-9), Rising Stars (ages 10-14), Mainstage (ages 14-20) and Marquee Productions (which feature a cast of CMT alumni and working actors from the Bay Area). All shows are presented at the historic Montgomery Theater in downtown San Jose.
“Season 51 offers a lot of new work not previously seen in the Bay Area other than as a national tour,” said CMT San Jose Artistic Director Kevin Hauge. “Mamma Mia! [pictured] is a new production for our Marquee division — working actors and alumni — but, in fact, all three CMT levels will debut new works for our audience. The Mainstage production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder and our Rising Stars production of Broadway’s Elf the Musical will also have their initial runs at CMT. Bringing fresh work to the Bay Area is part of our goal, as is fresh talent. From childhood, many of our performers have performed in dozens of shows, gaining experience through application and a variety of classes in the Arts, and then gone on to excel professionally.”
One such alum, Broadway actor Alex Brightman — nominated for a Tony for School of Rock and now starring in the new musical Beetlejuice — reflected on his CMT experience: “I have had, by my own gauge, a pretty decent career thus far. And I can trace a direct line from where I am now to where it all began. Where I learned every piece of what makes up my core. Where I learned to be a happy actor, part of one of the best communities in the world. I am a smart and honest performer… because of CMT. I’m fortunate to have a community of people that will always be there to support each other in our success and challenges in life.”
CMT San Jose was the first youth arts organization to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. That initial recognition has been followed by an unprecedented ten additional NEA grants, a distinction no other youth arts organization in the country can claim. CMT remains 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 commitment to never turn a child away, regardless of financial or physical limitations. What distinguishes CMT from all other similar theater organizations is their commitment to the highest quality of a production and inclusivity — every child who auditions for CMT participates.
The lineup for the 51st Season features:
Elf The Musical (November 9-18, 2018) Based on the beloved 2003 film, this uproarious comedy follows Buddy the Elf on the journey to find his own identity. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and learn some truths about himself. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the “Naughty” list, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help all of New York remember the meaning of Christmas. (RS)
Mamma Mia! (November 30 – December 9, 2018) A CMT premiere, this sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island as ABBA’s hits tell of a young woman’s search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to find her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited twenty years ago. The storytelling magic of these timeless ABBA songs propels this high-spirited, feel-good tale of love, laughter and friendship, (MP)
Disney’s Aladdin Jr. (February 21-24, 2019) Discover a whole new world with this adaptation of the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and the 2014 hit Broadway show. Aladdin, a “diamond in the rough” street rat, is down on his luck until he discovers a magic lamp—and the genie with the power to grant three wishes. Wanting to earn the respect of the Princess Jasmine, Aladdin embarks on an adventure that tests his moral character, until he finally learns that his true worth lies deep within him. (RS)
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (March 1-10, 2019) When the low-born Monty Navarro learns that he’s eighth in line for a family fortune, he figures his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight—and so he sets off down a ghoulish path. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught, and become the ninth Earl of Highhurst? And, what of love? Because murder isn’t the only thing on Monty’s mind. (MS)
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (April 19-28, 2019) A wandering enchantress transforms a cruel and vain prince into a hideous Beast; the only way to reverse the powerful spell is to “learn to love and be loved.” If the Beast doesn’t learn his lesson in time, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the stage version includes classic songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice. (MP)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (May 2-5, 2019) The irresistible story of a 12-year-old boy growing up in the heartland of America, his greatest exploits are plucked from the book and brought to life on the stage. Filled with foot-stomping, toe-tapping songs by Don Schlitz, with a book by Ken Ludwig, this musical adventure is a tale of thrilling escapes, comedy and inspiration for the whole family. (RS)
Chicago (May 10-19, 2019) Set in the “Windy City” during the Jazz Age, two rivals are locked up in Cook County Jail. Nightclub star Velma and driven chorus girl Roxie are both serving time for murder. Velma enlists the help of prison matron Mama Morton and slick lawyer Billy Flynn, who turn Velma’s incarceration into a murder-of-the-week media frenzy — thus, preparing the world for a splashy showbiz comeback. But Roxie’s got a few tricks up her own sleeve. Chicago has music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. (MS)
Anything Goes (July 12-20, 2019) is a 1934 musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter that introduced hit songs “Anything Goes,” ‘You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” The story centers on madcap antics aboard an ocean liner sailing from New York to London with a comically colorful assemblage of passengers. (RS)
Legally Blonde The Musical (July 26-August 4, 2019) Based on the popular movie of the same name, the story follows Elle as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. When her boyfriend Warner dumps her to “get serious” at Harvard, Elle is determined to get him back and ingeniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. She struggles with peers, professors and her ex; but with the support of some new friends, she realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. (MS)
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach (Aug 9-12, 2019) When James is sent by his cruel and conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that launches a journey of enormous proportions. This is an adventure musical for the whole family, featuring a wickedly tuneful score by the Tony Award-nominated team of Pasek and Paul (A Christmas Story the Musical), and a curiously quirky book by Timothy Allen McDonald (Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka). (JT)
(JT=Junior Talents, RS= Rising Stars, MS= Mainstage, MP=Marquee productions)