2015 Annual Report
September 2, 2015

Jenkintown Music Theatre, Inc. is a not-for-profit (501c3) corporation established in January, 2014. The purpose of the corporation is to support the Arts in Jenkintown and in particular to support the programs and objectives of the Arts Departments of the Jenkintown School District. The corporation accomplishes this by producing at least one musical theatre production within the territory of Jenkintown each year and, where possible, engaging in arts related fund raising events.

The 2015 production season saw some positive development for Jenkintown Music Theatre.  JMT celebrated its 70th season with the production of Shrek: The Musical. This was made possible in part because of several new fundraising events which provided start-up funds for Shrek.  As a result of the major success of Shrek, JMT, Inc. goes into the 2016 production season on a sound financial basis.  JMT, Inc. will continue its support for the arts programs at Jenkintown High School. Highlights are listed below:

★On October 26, 2014, JMT hosted our first singer-songwriter evening at St. John of the Cross in Roslyn, PA.  This BYOB event was organized by John Rudolf, and brought together eight local, original performers from the region.  JMT provided pizza, snacks, water and soda for those who brought their own alcohol.  The event was well-attended and earned JMT approximately $1,400 which was earmarked for the Shrek royalty payment.

★Anne VanMeter organized a choral performance with alumni from Jenkintown High School who performed with Dolly and Frank when they were students at JHS.  The group rehearsed and performed Frank Kuykendall’s arrangement of “Joy to the World” at the annual tree lighting ceremony in Jenkintown Town Square at the beginning of December, 2014.  This was a really special event, and I’m hoping it will continue each year.

★Under the auspices of our “Arts in the Wings” booster club name, Heather Willever-Farr organized the “Night of the Living Dad Bands” fundraiser at the Piazza on the Square event space at the end of January, 2015.  This was an extremely successful event involving raffle prizes donated by local merchants and theatre groups. We sold out the event two days prior with $12.00 tickets available at “The Art of It”, Jenkintown’s arts collaborative shop.  With this event being oversold and also having walk-ups at the door, the recommendation for 2016 is to secure a larger space.  We raised an estimated $2,900 for the Jenkintown High School Arts departments, and the funds were disbursed to the school’s activity funds for immediate use by Ms. Davidson (Drama/Chorus), Mr. Eyrich (Music), and Mr. Slowik (Art).  There were many volunteers who made this event a success: Jenn Adams, Mayor Ed Foley, Bob MacFarland, Carolyn Riley, Darcie Rudolf, Anne VanMeter, Heather-Willever Farr, Lindy Properties, and the Art of It staff.

★JMT received donations totalling $1,400 in memory of Mrs. Mary Louise Kuhl, who passed away in January, 2015. Mary Lou was a 30-year JMT volunteer and designated us as her funerary donation recipient.  Thank you’s were coordinated with the local funeral home director, and the JMT Award Fund was formally established with the school district.  Our plan is to continue to grow this award fund with future donations, to benefit the graduating seniors of Jenkintown High School who have shown dedication in the artistic disciplines.

★Shrek: The Musical: The show was a success in many ways under the direction of Dolly Kuykendall. Once again a talented group of volunteer cast members and production crew put on a great show to a sold out house for most performances.  The show was also a financial success, and JMT will have funds available for 2016 royalty fees and initial start up costs.  In addition, the first budgeted disbursement to the school’s arts departments will be sent at the beginning of the school year.

★Discussions are under way for the selection of our 2016 production. Some show titles that have been discussed are: Chicago, Cabaret, Mary Poppins, Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof, Man of LaMancha, and Hairspray.  Licensing companies have been contacted.

★Plans for the 2015-16 Production Year

○Host an open house meeting to discuss future plans for JMT in the local community.

○Continue to involve the community “Dad Bands” and plan the “British Invasion” fundraising event in a larger BYOB venue, and promote our “Arts in the Wings” initiative.

Background

Since the primary mission of JMT, since its inception, has been to support the Jenkintown School District through the production of musical theatre, the decision was made by the executive committee, as outlined in its 2009 bylaws, to apply for legal incorporation in order to bring JMT’s business practices into the 21st century.  Prior to its incorporation, JMT was extremely hampered in its ability to obtain tax-deductible donations from patrons. Without this incorporation, JMT could not legally process credit card ticket purchases, a convenience enjoyed by all cast and patrons, or institute web-based ticketing, another convenience that has allowed JMT to grow its patron list to around 850 members.  Although JMT was originally a fundraising subcommitee of Jenkintown's Home & School Association (JHSA), it operated quite independently from the JHSA. Because JHSA was not incorporated, JMT moved to incorporate in order to gain the benefits of incorporation.

JMT’s new executive committee board was formed in January 2014 as an extension of the original three-person executive board as outlined in the bylaws. The group was formed of Jenkintown Borough residents, teachers and community business leaders, who have been managing JMT for the past 10 years.  As outlined in our bylaws, the board must be formed of a majority of members with close ties to the Jenkintown Borough Community, and with a strong interest in supporting the school district’s programs. At large board members have term limits, and more information will be available in the future about opportunities for service on the board.

Financially, JMT has always been responsible for its own oversight. Show royalty costs fluctuate depending on the chosen show, and the cost for musicians has more than doubled since 2007.  Over the past few years, the group has been spending a yearly average of $30,000 to produce a single show in order to fund a donation to the school averaging $4,000 per year. The opposite should be true - JMT should be recruiting more volunteers from the community and spending less money for a greater return to donate to the school, which provides JMT with use of its heavily scheduled auditorium facility for a small donation.  If JMT had to pay rent for a more professional theatre facility, it would not be sustainable from a business standpoint.

Building on the strengths and traditions of JMT, a foundation of ties to the Jenkintown School and community, and the establishment of responsible business and operational practices, hopefully will take JMT into the next 50 years.