Teen Musical Theater of Oregon puts on full-scale musicals

Medford, Ore. – A cast of about 65 actors ages 12 to 19 just finished putting on The Music Man when we caught up with Cailey McCandless, who’s the program director at Teen Musical Theater of Oregon (TMTO).

“It went really, really well,” McCandless said, adding that the company isn’t getting much rest. “We are already working on The Little Mermaid for spring. It will run for two weeks in March.”

McCandless is the only fulltime staff member for TMTO – everyone else is a volunteer. The theater group was “adopted” by Craterian Performances in Medford about 15 years ago, and the performance art auditorium has been its home ever since. TMTO recently received some grant funding from Avista.

“We work with youth as young as eight, but most of our actors are between 12 and 19 years old,” McCandless said. “In the summer we offer camps and performing arts classes. We are a small but mighty team.”

TMTO’s mission is to provide a professional experience for aspiring youth actors in the Medford area – while producing family friendly, high quality and affordable entertainment.

McCandless said she’s always been involved with theater, and originally planned to work with adults, but after spending some time with the youth theater she was hooked.

“There is just something so rewarding about getting a bunch of teenagers to work together,” McCandless said. “It’s incredibly invigorating to work with young people.”

Every show offers a large variety of roles – not everyone gets to play leading role – but the beauty of a theater production is that every little part matters.

“We always say that there are no small parts, only small actors,” McCandless said.

She loves watching the young thespians grow more confident as they get more productions under their belts. The collaborative nature of a theater performance teaches youth to work together.

“The number one thing we see youth gain in our program is confidence and their ability to collaborate,” McCandless said. “Everyone is accountable for their part of the production – they have to do it at the exact right moment of time, for the magic to really happen.”

At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people’s lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. The foundation is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp., and does not receive funding from Avista Utilities’ customers through rates. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.

Learn more about Teen Musical Theater of Oregon.

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