Claude McNeal Productions (CMP) uses theatre to communicate issues and ideas that are difficult to address in any other way. This unique organization specializes in alternative theatre-related educational programming for the greater Indianapolis area. It has focused primarily on schools so far and serves more than 17,000 students annually; however, it has a growing community presence as well.
Claude McNeal’s Musical Theatre Training Program, Inc. (d.b.a.) Claude McNeal Productions, a not-for-profit corporation, was incorporated in Indiana on October 25, 2005. The organization’s history, however, goes back much further, to Claude McNeal’s many years in theatre administration in New York and Connecticut.
McNeal came to Indianapolis in 1990 with a reputation as a master of contemporary cabaret and a visionary playwright honored by The Dramatists Guild, the Authors League of America, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He used his East Coast experience to establish the American Cabaret Theatre here but gave it a distinctively Indiana orientation.
When he retired as its artistic director in 2005, he formed a new nonprofit entity with a mission unlike that of any other organization in central Indiana: to inspire and transform lives and cultural organizations through the energizing power of theatre and of theatre-related educational programming, while creating original works, enhancing and stimulating the performing arts in the city of Indianapolis.
More than any other medium, theatre can quickly accommodate emerging issues.
CMP programs are continuously evaluated, adapted and strengthened. As a result, the organization’s leadership has earned the city’s trust with tried-and-true educational programs over 16 years. Some CMP programs are offered through other nonprofit groups that apply for and receive grants to fund them, and most new clients come from word of mouth through these long-standing partners. Claude McNeal Productions works hard to maintain and nurture these successful collaborations, and to meet urgent social needs head-on.
“Ultimately, we deal in ‘human services,’—showing today’s youth how to prepare for life’s problems that can overwhelm them,” McNeal says.
About Claude McNeal
Claude McNeal is the Founder and former Artistic Director of the American Cabaret Theatre in Indianapolis. Claude has written, directed, and produced plays throughout the U.S. and Europe for the past thirty years. Some of his performance locations include New York City, New Haven, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Tampa, Toronto, Boston, and Seattle among others.
Claude's amazing work as a master of contemporary cabaret and a visionary playwright has been acknowledged through awards from The Dramatists Guild, the Authors League of America, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to his cabaret works, Claude has also written several full length plays: Felix was produced off-Broadway and presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre; San Fransisco Saturday Night was presented in London and at the Lincoln Center and included Stacy Keach and Trish Van Der Veer as part of the cast; Come to the Station was presented in London and New York City and included John Ratzenberger of Cheers fame and John Cleese as director; I Am of Ireland was produced at Carnegie Hall and featured Peter O'Toole and Siobahn McKenna. In addition, Claude has composed more than sixty songs, authored three books, The Making of a Grand Hotel, Miracle In Springs Valley: The Amazing Story of Two Grand Hotels!, and The New Theatre of Conscience (with L.E. McCullough), and is preparing to publish a book of poetry called Sensual Excuses.
Claude initiated theatre programs at the University of New Haven and Sacred Heart University, founded the Humanities Theatre Group in 1986, and initiated a summer theatre training program at Glacier National Park in Montana. Claude recently retired from teaching creative writing and musical interpretation at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. Since 1995, Claude has collaborated with the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, Florida as well.
A Treasured Past
For over 15 years, many of Claude McNeal's award-winning original cabaret productions were produced at the American Cabaret Theatre, now called the Athenaeum Theatre. Claude was the Founder and Artistic Director from 1990-2005.
Board of Directors
Amanda Krenson, Chair
Herman Meury, Vice Chair
Robert Skaff, Treasurer
Claude McNeal, Founder
Janet Harmon McNeal
Rev. George Tooze
Kathleen Golightly, M.D.