CAMEO Creative Arts, originally founded as The Medina County Arts Foundation (MCAF), has been in existence since 1996 when Dr. DeLorre Haddad and his wife, Lily Jean took the initiative to restore the Medina County Administration Building Auditorium, now the Haddad Theatre.
Since inception, MCAF has provided our local region with concerts, theatrical productions, instructional courses, artistic events and other community activities, enabling residents to experience a variety of cultural endeavors.
CAMEO, originally an acronym for the Cooperative Alliance of Medina Entertainment Organizations, was founded in 2003 as The Medina Collaborative. The then Medina Collaborative consisted of the Medina City Schools, the Medina County Show Biz Company, and the Medina County Arts Foundation. The three organizations pooled their resources with an objective of producing large-scale community based musicals in the newly constructed Medina Performing Arts Center.
Over the past 10 years alone, CAMEO Creative Arts has contributed, through financial support, scholarships and in-kind services, more than $60,000 to the arts in the Medina community.
The first production, and beyond.
The inaugural production would be the classic production My Fair Lady, selected because this was the first show to be produced in the original Medina High School auditorium. A local creative team produced a show that many considered to be quite a risk due to the amount of resources required. In spite of these challenges, My Fair Lady proved to be an unqualified success and got the ball rolling on the start of a new summer tradition in Medina.
The success continued with The Music Man (2004). This large show had a cast of 50 people and featured a production staff of local artisans. Many of the original company returned in 2005 to produce the hit Broadway show Annie. The blockbuster family musical exceeded everyone’s expectations and enabled the Collaborative to take their shows to a new level with the formation of CAMEO. CAMEO, replacing the Collaborative not just in name but in vision and in professionalism, aimed to take theatre in Medina to levels it had never previously reached and new levels it did ascend to.
In the years to come, CAMEO would come into its own as a theatre company and become not only a beacon of theatrical achievement in the Medina community but also begin to expand it’s mission and reach beyond just the local levels. New faces began to fill out the production team as theatre professionals and college educators began to become impressed with the CAMEO’s level of commitment to high quality theatre.
Beginning in 2014, CAMEO took on the challenging musical RENT as it sought to begin it’s mission to provide the community with timely, relevant and thought provoking pieces of art. The trend continued with the selection of West Side Story (2015), to provide commentary and insight into race relations in America. Godspell (2016) marked an artistic achievement as CAMEO provided a provocative new vision for the show that highlighted a message of unity amidst the backdrop of modern dystopian political unrest.
As the future brightens, CAMEO’s goal has not changed. CAMEO still strives to provide the community, both locally and regionally, with the opportunity to experience “Broadway in your backyard” with unparalleled levels of excellence, professionalism, and artistry.