The 50th anniversary season of the Children’s Musical Theater San Jose gets started this Friday, with the ‘Rising Stars’ production of Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. Artistic Director Kevin Hauge says the entire season has been planned to celebrate five decades of productions that have evolved from simple fairy tales to full-on recent Broadway shows.

There’s more information at the CMT San Jose website.

Hauge describes their three main groups of performers: “Our Rising Star division, which is our youngest performers up through middle school; our Mainstage, which is our college and high school age; and then twice a year we have something called Marquee, which means it’s an opportunity for working actors and alumni to come back together to give back for the programs we do here at CMT.” Those two Marquee productions this season are Disney’s Newsies in December, and then Guys and Dolls in April. They have a policy of not repeating shows within a 7-year window, to keep things fresh, so favorites like West Side Story, Avenue Q and the rock opera Tommy could make a return. “And I’m happy to say that absolutely every single decade of the past 50 years is represented in terms of a show that premiered here at CMT sometime during the course of that 50 years.” The company will cast anyone who auditions for the Mainstage or Rising Stars productions, which means lots of experience even for those who don’t go on to careers on the stage. “Thousands and thousands of people have come through our doors. There’s probably 7 of them that are on Broadway tonight, and many of them starring, and we are proud of them. But they’re not our proudest accomplishment here. Our proudest accomplishments are the architects, and the lawyers, and the teachers and the nurses that have come through and learned a process about just the important things about life.”