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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pittsburgh Musical Theater

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Performing Arts Schools, Theater

Mission: Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PMT) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to providing quality, affordable musical theater to the Pittsburgh region, educating youth in the arts, and employing and developing local talent.

Results: Whether you are looking for performing arts classes or a night out at a local theater, Pittsburgh Musical Theater is the perfect option. For up and coming performers, we offer many different classes for acting, singing, dancing, and other theater arts. While studying with us, students are also given the opportunity to perform in our local, professional theater company to gain stage experience. Additionally, we offer many professional productions of musicals prominently featuring local talent throughout the year for our Pittsburgh community to enjoy. Our students from age 4 to 18 develop singing, acting and dancing skills in a disciplined classroom atmosphere. This not only strengthens their theater arts skills but teaches them vital life skills such as time management, socialization, and an appreciation for education. The students then test these skills in performance. The audience applause strengthens their self-confidence and positively reinforces their hard work. Specifically, PMT's Pre-College Program has served as a pathway to Broadway, feature films, and University training. Our matriculation rate is consistently in the high 90% range. Graduates have matriculated at Yale, CMU, NYU, Boston Conservatory, Florida State University, Penn State, Point Park and many others. A long-term goal of the scholarship initiative, which 65% of students depend on, is to provide PMT students more options for their chosen institution of higher education. PMT's strong pre-college training has provided opportunities for many young minds over its 28-year organizational history. The training students receive at PMT strengthen their college-readiness skills and prepare them to apply for and achieve merit-based college scholarships. Historically since 2010, over $1 million in academic and artistic university scholarship awards have been designated to PMT’s graduating classes, because of the benefits derived through the arts education received at PMT.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

PMT has been a transformational experience for my daughter; she has been studying musical theater and dance there since she was 5-years-old. Her PMT friends and the talented and passionate resident artists there are like a second family to her. While her growth and success as a performer bring her tremendous joy, we are most proud of her hard work and growth as a person that we attribute to PMT. Her poise, self-confidence, courage, growth mindset, ability to take instruction and collaborate as part of a team, and time management skills and work ethic I believe are all directly linked to her professional-caliber training at PMT. We also love her exposure to the arts and the friendships she is developing with other children and performers from diverse backgrounds from across the city. Of course I can't predict whether she'll end up in a career in musical theater, but the skills and experiences she is gaining from PMT will serve her well no matter which life path she ultimately chooses.

Nancyann L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter studied voice, acting and dance at Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PMT) from middle school through high school, including summer camps. PMT not only nurtured her talent and gave her the means to share her love of musical theater on stage, it also provided her wonderful friendships, self confidence, appreciation for and acceptance of differences in others - since students come from a variety of geographic locations and diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds, knowledge of the importance of teamwork and the vital role every member of a team plays, maturity, perseverance... and fun! The instructors assisted her in preparing for college auditions, resulting in her acceptance in multiple college musical theater programs. She always felt accepted, cared about and at home at PMT. PMT is a gem - for both musical theater training and life lessons.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter spent five amazing years training at PMT. Through those years, she made incredible friends, and had many wonderful experiences. PMT offers the opportunity to train in all aspects of musical theater, and gave my daughter a great place to grow and mature as a young adult. PMT offers their students the opportunity to perform in Conservatory productions, summer productions, community outreach productions, as well as an opportunity for students to audition for their professional shows. PMT offers training in all three disciplines of musical theater, including a pre-college program that prepares students to pursue theater in college. Beyond that, PMT provides a space for creativity and expression in a safe environment supported by the tremendous students and staff who surround them.

Client Served

Rating: 1

This company turned from amazing to a flop. Unfortunately, their casting is rigged based on who can pay the most money, and I'm glad I left for somewhere that's more...honest? Upright? Just? So unfortunate that it took a turn for the worst.

Diana61

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children have been attending PMT since they were each 5 years old. We are blessed to be a part of this amazing organization! It really is their 2nd home!

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

gemini7772

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started at Pittsburgh Musical Theater in 2009 after seeing a pre-teen production at the New Hazlett Theater and declaring that she too wanted to do that! She started in their Broadway jr program for children ages 4-7yrs and loved it from the very beginning. The teachers are kind and make the class fun for the children. They even got a chance to show off their talents in the bi-annual showcase performed by the children at The Byham Theater. How thrilling that was for the kids!

This past fall, my daughter moved up to the pre-teen program and decided to do the whole day program on Saturdays. She is there from 9:30am until 4:30pm and loves every minute. It was a very smooth transition, the teachers and staff are superb at knowing how to help the newer children navigate their classrooms and just overall deal with the changes. New this year, in addition to performing in the Showcases, my daughter got to audition for and then perform in the pre-teen show! It was so exciting, first to get to audition which was a fun, low stress event, then to rehearse and put on a show. It was an amazing experience.

My overall experience of Pittsburgh Musical theater has been tremendous. The staff are all friendly and helpful and I've also enjoyed volunteering some time in the costume shop, helping make the costumes for the shows. They don't require help, but, I really like contributing and feeling more a part of the whole process.

A+++ to PMT!

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is in the Broadway jr's class and she loves it. The teachers are amazing and everyone is so relaxed. I've also seen many shows at the Byham and New Hazlett theater. They put on amazing performances! I'm in awe of the talent and how well the shows are put together.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter, Jenna, has been attending the Pittsburgh Musical Theater for a couple years. The Pittsburgh Musical Theater has a staff that exceeds any expectations! They are very supportive, encouraging, inspiring, and talented. There efforts show in every class they instruct as well as the performances. Students love going to class, even on Saturdays! Not only do the instructors inspire, but the students inspire each other as well. This is a great place for a child to learn about performing arts, but also to learn about themselves. Their self-confidence, self-esteem, creativity and imagination continues to grow with every class and/or performance. Through PMT, I believe that personal growth and development also improves. You can see and hear the excitement during every performance from everyone involved. This is a great place for a child to find their passion in performing arts.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMT was a part of my life from 8-18 years old. The training and experience that I received there is the reason that I am currently studying performing arts in college. Every teacher I studied with was extremely helpful, and each and everyone of them helped me move toward where I am now. PMT gave me lifelong (hopefully!) friendships, real experience in the professional world, a solid training background, and most importantly, the confidence to fight the odds and pursue my dream.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had children as a part of this program for over 13 years. They have grown and been successful. If there was no Pittsburgh Musical Theater in their life they may not have had this experience.. I grateful for their support over the years.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

In 2007, I played the role of Grizabella in PMT's CATS. I did not receive my equity card, which would have been okay, but I only got $500 for two weeks of rehearsals and the run of the show. As a single mother and professional artist, I am a little disturbed that PMT, where I grew up training to be an actress.singer.dancer, has failed as a non-profit organization to give me the opportunity to move forward in life. I am a bit unsure about the organization because when I approached Mr. Peter Smith, the director of RENT, he told me that he hadn't seen me perform in 12 years. I thought that 2007 was only two years ago? I am grateful for the teachers I had growing up with Gargaro Productions and PMT, however, I am disapointed that they are promoting as a non-profit when EQUITY Actors are being cast over Non-Equity. There is a pattern that needs to end.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Pittsburgh Musical Theater in combination with the Richard E. Raugh Conservatory is an organization that has become one of extreme importance to our family. I have two children who have been attending classes and performing with PMT for approximately 5 years. Since the very beginning, my children and my whole family have found the teachers, directors,staff, and other parents and students to be more like family than acquaintances. The discipline my children have received from their training, and performing with PMT has given them a unique opportunity to learn valuable life skills and work ethic from the very young age of seven years old. All of these things have taken place by learning and doing what they love. The joy they receive in their lives by being part of this organization if priceless. They have found friends with similar interests and goals that they have never found anywhere else before. They have gained confidence, compassion and respect for themseleves and otherrs while working with the PMT actors and directors. I, as their mother, have volunteered in numerous activities with PMT and have to admit it has brought me as much personal gratification and happiness as well as my children's. My children truly feel like they are living their dreams by being given opportunities to perform and train with PMT. It is a unique and dynamic organization unlike any other I have ever seen in the world of theater. We feel blessed to have stumbled in through the doors of PMT and become part of their family.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter has been with the program since she was 5 years old. There is nothing like this program in the area for promoting the youth to a theater arts program. All instructors have experience performing as well as teaching children and young adults. All kids are included in the audition process for any conservatory shows as well as professional shows. If awarded a role for a professional show they perform on stage with professional actors and learn the demands of performing on stage. Conservatory shows also have the same demands and all kids learn how to work and learn with their peers. The staff at PMT are also very professional and fair. The director, Colleen Petrucci of the conservatory runs the school very well and she is the "rock" of the school seeing that every aspect runs smoothly. The founding director, Ken Gargaro's passion to see that the youth are exposed to the theater is one of a kind. When anyone new comes to see a PMT production they are "blown away" at the talent that both Ken and Colleen bring to the show. I can't say enough about this program and only hope that they are rewarded for their contribution to the Pittsburgh Arts Community.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I chose to study with PMT simply because it has is the best training available for kids in Pittsburgh. I started out at PMT when I was 12 and decided to go try some other training facilities, after trying basically every other theater company in Pittsburgh, I came right back to PMT at the age of 15. The training and the experiences here are second to none. I study acting, singing, and dancing 5 days a week. I learn countless ways to improve my talents every day, and 3 times a year (at least) I get to put those new skills into action on the stage in the conservatory shows. The best part for me, though, is that I get to do all of this in a supportive environment filled with people who want to see me succeed, and that is something that you do not find everywhere. PMT is the place to be!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Many students and plenty of parents appreciate PMT for its forte – teaching kids to be outstanding performers in musical theater. Week after week, PMT kids become better dancers, better actors. They gain stage presence. They learn everything teachable about the art. But our family loves the “way cool school” for something that doesn’t appear in its brochure. My daughter was a shy 13-year-old. Because of my husband’s work, we’d moved a lot, even overseas for a few years. The last move was to Pittsburgh when she was 10, a tough age for a girl to find a place to fit in. School was hard. All the girl groups seemed to be set and there wasn’t a spot for someone new. For three years, I watched her confidence dwindle and her sense of self fall away. One day when she was 12, we went to a high school production of the Broadway musical “Cats,” and she fell in love. We bought her the “Cats” DVD and all summer long, all alone, she danced in the living room. And then that August – because everything happens for a reason – a brochure came in the mail. The Way Cool School, it said. Kids in costumes danced and sang all over the pages. “Hey, honey, check this out,” I said. Her face lit up. A couple weeks later we went to the PMT open house. The director sat at a table with us, explained the program to me and my husband. She looked directly at my daughter, spoke to her about how the kids support each other at PMT and about how, even with no dance or theater experience, she would fit in. And, boy, did she. She fit in from day one. She made friends. She had fun. And at nearly 16 now, the girl who once barely spoke above a whisper recently sang and acted in PMT’s production of her favorite Broadway musical on a professional stage in downtown Pittsburgh. You should have seen how great she was. So personally speaking, I think the best lesson my daughter has learned from the fine teachers and supportive staff at PMT is that it’s safe to be yourself. In fact, that it’s important to be yourself. The “way cool school” supports and celebrates our children on a shoestring budget. They’re masters at doing an awful lot with just a little. We’re not rich, but if I ever won the lottery, I’d donate a substantial amount to them. It would be money well spent. Bet everyone in the PMT family feels the same.

9

Former staff

Rating: 5

The company is a great organization which fulfills its mission of employing local professional talent (including union talent), offering affordable prices for attending professional productions of quality musical theatre, and teaching the art form. The company still needs to be more firmly entrenched in the popular culture of the City of Pittsburgh. It should be listed alongside the other local companies (including even listings of class cancellations due to weather), and should be represented in public forums of arts organizations more often.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

PMT has been amazing for me and my family. The training that I have received throughout my time there has helped me to grow so much as a performer. PMT provides incredible opportunities to young performers and exposes them to professional theater in a unique way. I am thankful that I was led there.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I LOVE PITTSBURGH MUSICAL THEATER! I spend so much time here it is like my second home. The opportunities they give to students are amazing, there is no other place like it. The faculty is amazing and very helpful and committed to getting students to do their best. The facilities are ok, but they could be better. However, this is hard because we don't have too much money.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter LOVES PMT. As a parent, I very much appreciate that it provides professionally run, personal and friendly musical theater instruction for children across the Pittsburgh area. PMT is a fantastic home for my daugther and the staff and volunteers manage to create musical performances with young children without forgetting that they are, in fact, children. THANKS, PMT!!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Pittsburgh Musical Theater has provided my children with a well rounded education and friendships they will have for life. It is a Wonderful Organization to be a part of.