Muskogee Little Theatre, 2020 ONE Awards Finalist

Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) will host the 2020 Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. In the weeks leading up to the event, we are spotlighting the 21 finalists in seven categories.

Muskogee Little Theater (MLT), located in Muskogee, Okla., is one of three finalists in the Arts and Humanities category.

“Muskogee Little Theatre is extremely honored to be named as one of the three top organizations in the arts and humanities category in our state this year by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits,” said Coni Wetz, MLT executive director.

MLT was founded in 1972 by a group of individuals who purchased the retired Sequoyah Elementary School from Muskogee Public School District. They convinced the district they could convert the cafetorium into a theatre. In their early years they struggled financially, as they had intermittent performances.

In 1980, the theater began to prosper, offering a full season of performances, which allowed for season ticket sales.

As the MLT has grown in their community, their programming aids in providing theatrical experience and performance education for the youth in Muskogee.

“A lot of the schools do not have theatre programs available to them, so this will give students the opportunity to get theatrical experience before they get to the high school level,” said Penny McGill, MLT director and volunteer. “It is supporting our public school system. A few of them have gone on to perform professionally.”

In 2013, MLT received the first Bricks and Mortar grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation. The grant challenged MLT to raise $1 million. If they were successful, the foundation would match with an additional $6.5 million. They met their goal in six months.

MLT broke ground in the summer of 2014 and opened in October 2016 in The Depot District in downtown Muskogee. MLT premiered their new facilities with the production of Mary Poppins, selling out every performance.

MLT not only offers their community a full season of entertainment, they also offer educational camps for community youth. The summer and spring break camps not only teach youth about performance, but also directing, stage craft, confidence and team work.

“The thing that challenged me the most was when I started having roles and I couldn’t speak that well. I was really quiet,” said Dakin Morgan, MLT actor and summer camp participant. “I overcame it with new friends who encouraged me to speak up and it was okay to be loud sometimes. It is great, fun and exciting to be yourself, meeting new people and trying new things.”

To learn more about Muskogee Little Theatre visit their website:
https://www.muskogeelittletheatre.com/index.php

To learn more about the 2020 ONE Awards or to purchase tickets visit
https://www.OKCNP.org/connect/one-awards/

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