Regional Theater of the Week: Columbus Children's Theatre in Columbus, OH, the largest theatre site on the Internet, is excited to announce a new feature to its comprehensive regional coverage - the Featured Regional Theater of the Week! Each week, BWW will introduce its readers to a regional theater located in one of our (over 130!) coverage cities. By exploring these different venues, their history and showcasing the production seasons, BWW continues its commitment to expand our presence in communities and cities across the United States.

This Week's Featured Regional Theater: Columbus Children's Theatre in Columbus, Ohio

In 1963, Columbus Junior Theatre of the Arts (CJT) was founded by Sis Bloom and Edie Mae Herrel to offer classes in theatre arts and production experiences for children throughout central Ohio. Classes were first taught in a space on West Broad Street and later moved to Trinity Episcopal Church before a building was purchased on Main Street in l966 to house all aspects of the operation.

In 1970, CJT took over the Junior League Adult Trouping Company that visited schools in central Ohio. During the fist year, two shows were offered and performed by volunteers. By 1983, the Child Writing Project was launched with the Columbus Public Schools. The first Professional touring company was hired and the repertory was expanded to four shows.

In 1984, Academy added week long summer camps and enrollment doubled. The following year, CJT moved to 504 N. Park Street. A finished performance space was created in the Park St. facility with 99 seats.

In 1990, William Goldsmith introduced the CJT Children's Theatre Series of four plays for children and their families performed by local actors. The series used age-specific casting, with adults in adult roles and children in youth roles. The CJT Academy began offering satellite classes in several communities in Central Ohio.

CJT received a $10,000 grant in 1991 and by 1992, CJT increased the number of performances in the Children's Theatre Series to 21 over 3 wks. A year later, Children's Theatre series added 2 extra productions annually, making it a total of 6.

The 1993 Young Adult Production Company which toured at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, included many actors who pursued successful careers:

Josh Radnor (Broadway, TV - How I Met Your Mother), Michael Milligan (Broadway), David Ayers (Broadway), Dan Maceyak (National Tours,) Kristen Reitter (National Tours).

Other notable alumni include:

After more improvements and renovations, the CJT changed the name to Columbus Children's Theatre (CCT) and moved to two new buildings: The former CATCO theatre, and a 2nd facility for offices/studio on Dublin Ave.

CCT later partnered with Opera Columbus and moved their offices and studio to 177 E. Naghten St. location.

The Limited Companies redesigned the front of the Park St. Theatre and also become a Resident Company of the newly renovated Lincoln Theatre, performing The Wizard of Oz - the first major production in the Lincoln. CCT continues to produce at least one major production a year at the Lincoln.

With a budget now exceeding $1,000,000, CCT marks its 50th anniversary and embarks upon strategic planning process and organizational restructuring to set the stage for the beginning of the next fifty years including plans to build a new state-of-the-Art Theatre space.

Join CCT as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary on September 22, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre. The evening of celebration will feature performances by some of CCT's most accomplished alumni, including Josh Radnor, star of How I Met Your Mother. In addition to these polished performers, they will take a look at how far they've come and where they are heading as they are entertained in song by some of CCT's current actors, including the casts of Shrek The Musical and Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.

CCT's current 2013/2014 season includes: Disney's The Little Mermaid, Jr (Summer Bonus Show), Shrek The Musical, Bunnicula, Junie B. In Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, The Princess and the Pea, Arthur and the Magic Sword, Freckleface Strawberry The Musical, The Wizard of Oz, and Hansel and Gretel.

This year, CCT's Summer Youth Performance Conservatory, The Little Mermaid, Jr., has the unique opportunity to travel to Atlanta to participate in the Junior Theatre Festival. Fundraising efforts are underway to raise $7,500 to offset the cost of the trip. Watch the YouTube video below and make a dontation here. The fundraising deadline is August 31, 2013.

To learn more about the Columbus Children's Theatre (CCT) or to purchase tickets or make a donation, visit:

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From This Author Christina Mancuso