Local theater group, Community Theater of Howell

In 1985 a small group of citizens from the Howell community gathered in a basement with the idea of forming a community theater group in Howell. From this gathering, the Mid-Michigan Performing Arts Company (MMPAC) and its subsidiary groups, The Howell Community Theatre (HCT), and the Confederation of Intergalactically Talented Youth (CITY) were formed. In 1989, MMPAC became officially a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage and foster many aspects of the performing arts. With a tremendous growth in membership, volunteer base, and audience size, the group re-organized in 1991 as The Community Theatre of Howell.

The Community Theatre of Howell’s mission is to foster and encourage the study of and public appreciation for the performing arts. They offer quality productions to the community each year, usually including two youth productions, many programs and workshops in various theatrical disciplines, and a two-week summer camp for youth. CTH prides themselves on family entertainment and provides a structured cultural experience for everyone involved. The stage provides invaluable opportunities for youth, offering them a positive experience that improves self-esteem, confidence and cooperative skills.

The Community Theatre of Howell opened its doors with The Lion in Winter opening in the spring of 1986. In the spring of 1994, CTH records were broken with sellout crowds of 500 plus for Fiddler on the Roof, and in the Spring of 1996 had, again, sellout crowds in a production of The Wizard of Oz, with a cast of 106, including 70 munchkins. In the spring of 1997, the Community Theatre of Howell produced Annie which featured 36 orphans in a cast of 90,  instead of your typical cast of 30-40. Guests were on their feet after every performance; these are memories that the 70 munchkins and 36 orphans will never forget. CTH has also partnered with the Howell Schools when presenting such classics as Our Town (winter 1996), Miracle Worker (winter 2000) and To Kill a Mockinbird (winter 2002). This offered high school students a reduced ticket price for class credit and an opportunity to be exposed to the performing arts.

Since 1996, Community Theatre of Howell has offered dozens of workshops to the community Over the past 19 years, they have grown exponentially, becoming the largest theatre organization in Livingston County with over 800 members and over 200 season ticket holders.

In 1996, our 4 Y.O.U (For Youth Opportunities Unlimited) subsidiary was established (replacing C.I.T.Y.) and in 2004 was replaced by the CTH Youth Theatre. These programs have been very successful and over 200 children participate annually. In 1996 their first 2-week summer camp started and has been a continued success each summer since. The focus of the opportunities for youth has always been on the process, not the performance. CTH continues to have over 100 youth attend camp to learn various aspects of the on stage experience.

Maria Usher of Maria’s School of Dance has been an active member of CTH since 1999.  She has also served on the board of directors.  Maria has had the honor of Co-Directing “Honk” The Musical, and has been lead choreographer for  Anne of Green Gables, Cinderella, Singin’ In The Rain, Joseph and The Technicolor Dream Coat (2002), Honk, Sound of Music, The King and I, 42nd Street, Oliver (2005), Carousel, The Wizard of Oz (2007), The Music Man, A Wonderful Life, and White Christmas.  She has also choreographed the youth shows, Alice In Wonderland Jr., The Little Mermaid Jr., and Into The Woods Jr. (Dec. 2013).  For many years Maria has been the choreographer for the Summer Youth Camp.  Since 2011, she has taken on the role of camp director as well.   Sharing her love of dance and theater, she hopes to help enrich her family and communities.

For more information you can visit CTH’s website:  http://www.cththeatre.org/#.