April 15, 2024

CAT plans their 50th year of theater

2023 sees the 50th year of productions for Crest Area Theatre (CAT). In preparation, CAT hosted their annual meeting and potluck on Sunday.

Board members were voted into place, with Bill Mullin as president, Linda Huffman as vice-president, Julie Weisshaar-Mullin as secretary, and Jerry Huffman as treasurer. At-large board members are Ahdri Evans, Pam Hoffman, Justin Kendrick, Ellie Soosloff and Mitzie Cellan.

Officers discussed the success of the previous season, with “Elvis Has Left the Building” being the first production in the Performing Arts Center since the COVID pandemic began.

Possible productions for 2023 were considered, including a murder mystery, “The Adams Family,” and trying out readers theater. Readers theater refers to productions void of props, scenery, or costumes, in which performers dramatically read their scripts, moving around the stage. Further discussion regarding 2023 productions will commence at the next CAT board meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Performing Arts Center.

A lot has happened in the last 50 years for CAT. Founded in 1973 as Creston Community Theatre, the name was changed in 1996 to Crest Area Theatre. The past 50 years have seen a variety of shows, including musicals such as “Oklahoma!” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” as well as plays like “Inherit the Wind” and the more recent “Mrs. California.”

2023′s vice-president Linda Huffman has been a part of CAT since 1989, when she performed in the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The next year, she was introduced to Jerry Huffman and they quickly hit it off, marrying soon thereafter. Linda and Jerry are both heavily involved in CAT and have turned it into a family event.

“I have two grandkids now that are so interested in theater, and that just warms my heart,” Linda said.

Linda said that she loves everything that CAT brings to Creston.

“It just adds an element of entertainment,” Linda said. “The fun thing is, it’s people you know. You’re watching your friends and neighbors and relatives and that just makes it fun!”

Additionally, Linda said that performing can help bring out the best in people.

“It gives you self confidence and you know you’ve contributed to a group experience,” Linda said. “The group experience is really the fun part of it because you kind of become a little family.”

Outside of productions, CAT occasionally provides scholarships to graduating high school seniors interested in pursuing the fine arts. Possible 2023 scholarships will also be discussed at the next monthly meeting.

Those interested in joining CAT or helping with any production efforts are invited to attend the Feb. 6 meeting or go to https://crestareatheatre.wordpress.com/getting-involved/.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.