Family Matters in CYT San Diego


CYT has a way of unconsciously growing your family. The connections you make every rehearsal and every production stick with you, even as you move on from one show to the next. In CYT San Diego, Katrina (an Area Coordinator) and her daughter, Olivia, are seeing firsthand how CYT encourages “understanding, tolerance, generosity…the list goes on.”

“I don’t know why it caught me off guard. It shouldn’t have, given today’s social climate. But it did.  And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. You see, our CYT North County Inland family was enjoying our East County friends in their performance of Elf Jr, and let me tell you we love to see each other’s shows!  After the show, (you know the part where we hug all the people we see and love from past shows) I hugged my friend Tinika and she leaned in and said, ‘You know, I was so encouraged to see them cast that beautiful little girl as Olivia’s daughter in Godspell. It was like, that’s her daughter and that’s it.’  It was in that moment that I felt so grateful to be part of this artistic process in THIS show with THIS community. You see, my friend is a different ethnicity than I am. The beautiful little girl she referred to is a different ethnicity than Olivia. This casting choice was not a gimmick. It was not a social statement. It was simply a connection made. Nobody watching them together can deny their bond. It was evident in callbacks and it is evident in every single rehearsal. Our artistic team did make specific casting choices. In telling this story, they chose to concentrate on the humanity of the disciples and their journey as followers of Jesus. It wasn’t an overt casting choice for the sake of diversity…it just made sense at the time given the interaction. And isn’t that something.
I know we are not solving the problems of the world here at CYT, but we are encouraging a human connection. My friend’s honest encouragement has definitely inspired me to pay more attention as we build our CYT community. Having kids 8-18 years of age of all ethnicities work, play, and learn together benefits all parties. It breeds understanding, tolerance, generosity…the list goes on. If our kids can bring this ability to connect and truly see and value each other as a common people out in to the world then I KNOW they will make things better. And, as we sing in Godspell, ‘We can build a beautiful city, not a city of angels, but finally, a city of man.'”

Thank you, Katrina, for sharing your story! We love hearing how CYT impacts the lives of those involved, and we can’t wait to see how you in turn can impact the world!

CYT Dallas’ Heart is Beating Strong!

Are you involved with CYT? Were you at Expo this year? Guess what! You are impacting others and showing them the heart behind CYT without even realizing it! Take a look at Ruth Bennett’s (CYT Dallas’ Board Member) take-away from her time at Expo.

“I attended CYT EXPO in San Diego a few weeks ago and came away with some definite impressions of what this thing really is and what Tyler has been trying to communicate to us while he follows God’s lead to get this going for CYT Dallas.
May I share some observations?
First, I’m very thankful that the first national gathering I attended was the one that the young people attend to compete and perform. The improv competition was gut-busting worthy and the showcase each city performed (a dance and song from a musical they had done) showed their dedication to great art.  My favorite take away regarding the young performers:  when J. Mark McVey (who has performed the role of Jean Valjean 2000+ times) compared the life of that character to his own, marking bitterness, forgiveness and then a heart of abundant generosity. During his presentation he would sing songs from Les Mis that most young people would scoff at.  But these CYT students – who have all labored and struggled to perform these same songs – stood to their feet over and over with great praise and admiration for this tenor in anguish.  It was noteworthy for several reasons but I was excited that this level of respect for theater was well taught to our young and that they want to value it and carry it on.
Secondly, I was with Tyler…THE Tyler.  My, how you all treasure this young man! It was endearing to me to see how well regarded he is by all of you and to confirm what I felt I knew…he is very gifted, very respected and highly sought after.  Currently, Tyler wears all 3 hats (AD, MD, AC) while we begin this great engine.  (Yes, I’ll pause while you say a quick but passionate prayer for him.)  My time with all of you seated in me what each role truly is and the significance of what Tyler’s role has been for us thus far.  Applications are being taken…
Lastly, during leadership sessions, every aspect of what CYT does and what that should look like was covered.  Interestingly, each city had slightly different ways to accomplish the same things and CYT INC gladly received new ideas that sounded like they would help the experience. I learned a lot.  I also had a driving need to see the CYT Warehouse in San Diego where all of their props, costumes and set design happens.  Magically (thank you God) the Area Coordinator for San Diego offered to take me there.  It was crazy unfathomable!  Wow! Show after show all laid out in fabric and wood in a massive building of pathways and ladders.  My take away: My guide, Katrina, took me to Mt. Helix – Paul Russell told us about this outdoor amphitheater on the top of a mountain when he and Sheryl visited with us on a trip they took to Austin.  Along the way she told me many stories but my favorite was that she was raised strictly Catholic and has never been comfortable with praying aloud.  She said it was always taught as a private, silent conversation with God.  It was irreverent to say “Jesus” out loud. When her daughter got involved with CYT there was a barrage of praying aloud that shook her (Katrina) a little bit and she took some time to adjust.  She said that the thing that has blown her away is that, in the presence of CYT leaders, her daughter quickly became a vibrant prayer with no hesitation about praying aloud.  The young leaders there began a bible study and invited the CYT kids and this has made all the difference in this family.
My CYT EXPO 2016 summary?
1 – I can now see the path we are on quite literally.
2 – We are blessed to have Tyler as our seed for growth. We will listen carefully to his thoughts.
3 – We are about to make this come alive for Dallas families and set some awkward kids in their element!
Thank you to each and every participant in EXPO that shared ideas and pitched their passions near me.  It’s an honor to be on board.
Ruth Bennett
CYT Dallas”

CYT Dallas is coming alive!! Keep that heartbeat going strong! We believe in you and we can’t wait to see your impact on the community!Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 9.06.17 PM

CYT Seattle Launches with a Play in a Day!

We are so excited to share this news with everyone! It’s official…CYT Seattle just held their first event EVER – Play in a Day!seattle

With help from their loving neighbors (Shoutout to CYT North Idaho and Chill Bucket Productions!!) the launch of CYT Seattle was a success! Between the start of rehearsal at 8am and the curtain rising at 7:30pm, the students built sets, learned choreography, studied lines, memorized blocking, and developed new friendships.

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Three new friends at CYT Seattle’s Play in a Day launch event

The event was a great launch for the new affiliate! So many new CYT parents and leadership volunteered their time and efforts to getting this event off the ground. Along with staff and resources from CYT North Idaho, former CYT North Idaho Artistic Director Jeff Rocco came and served as the director for the event. Not only that, but Chill Bucket Productions offered tons of support through the entire process.

Director, Jeff Rocco, and some of the CYT Seattle cast

Director, Jeff Rocco, and some of the CYT Seattle cast

CYT is one big, awkward family, and we love seeing affiliates support one another! As Summer Moshy (CYT Seattle’s Artistic Director) said, “Get ready, CYT, our awkward family just got bigger!”

CYT Seattle's first ever cast!

CYT Seattle’s first ever cast!

Make sure you show CYT Seattle some love and go like their Facebook page! We can’t wait to see what they do next!!

Who, What, Wear at EXPO!



Hi everyone, this is Rachael Baciocco from CYT Inc! I’m running around with the rest of the staff helping to get everything ready for EXPO. (And all the while wearing that cool backpack you guys all get when you arrive!) We are so excited and can’t wait to meet you all! EXPO is right around the corner so here are a few more fun details just for you.

So, you want to know the “Who, What, and Wear” at EXPO?

WHO you ask? That’s easy. YOU! That is, if you’re going to EXPO. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! Click HERE to register now!

WHAT cool items can we hope to win at this year’s EXPO? Well I’m glad you asked! There are some amazing prizes you can win through the Opportunity Drawing! (items include Apple watch, iPad mini, $250 Visa gift card, NYC condo 2 night stay, and more!)

Tickets can be purchased at EXPO only!

  • $1 for 1 ticket
  • $10 for an arm’s length of tickets
  • $20 for a body length (bring someone tall!)

Also, we will be doing free give-aways all EXPO long, and you could win some cool prizes JUST BY BEING THERE!

But what are you going to WEAR? Here is what the EXPO staff is wearing (this is for you, Kara & Emily from CYT Fredericksburg!) Why not match with some of our staff and wear these items too? Of course you don’t have to, but how fun would it be if we were all wearing CYT gear the entire event? You will receive an “EXPO only discount” on all of these items and more, because we LOVE you! So there!

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Sunday: Affiliate Shirt / I <3 CYT

We’re wearing our I <3 CYT shirts! Come to check-in wearing your affiliate shirt/Improvathon shirt loud and proud, or wear your I <3 CYT shirt and let the world know how much you love CYT!



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Monday, the first full day of expo! With our #Auditions shirts on we’ll be ready to take on the day and say that we #NAILEDIT




Tuesday: Retro CYT Shirt day/trucker hat

Hey! Remember those cool tanks from last year’s EXPO? Or perhaps your Awkwardly Closer Than Family shirt? Wear any of the older CYT shirts, like one of your affiliate show shirts, Shuffle Off To Buffalo T-shirt, you get the idea. And don’t forget to wear your new Trucker Hat that you can purchase at EXPO!


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Wednesday: #JAZZHANDS

Wednesday is the last day of EXPO (AKA the #BIGFINISH). Wear your new #JAZZHANDS shirt with the EXPO staff, or another CYT shirt you have!




And that’s the Who, What, and Wear of it! Get your gear together, get excited, and get ready for EXPO 2016! See you in June!

CYT San Diego wants YOU at EXPO!

Below is a letter from the CYT San Diego key staff. They can’t wait to see you at EXPO!

Hi CYT Affiliates!
CYT San Diego is so excited to host you for our 2016 National EXPO!  We look forward to playing, learning, and laughing together. It’s a time for all of us to get to know one another better and learn more about what’s happening in each of our cities.  We pray for safe travels and welcome you to the sun, sand, and water!  See you soon!
CYT San Diego Staff

San Diego and Inc Staff LOVE CYT! L to R Janie Russell Cox, Rachael Baciocco, Travis Russell, Heather LaForge, and Laura Bertagnolli

Registration for EXPO 2016 is still open! Register HERE!

CYT Fredericksburg Hits a Home Run!

Hey guys, check this out! CYT Fredericksburg’s Marketing and Publicity Director Allison Mayberry shared this awesome news with us and we couldn’t keep it to ourselves!

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“CYT Fredericksburg, along with our Season Sponsor, SimVentions, brought over 300 people to the Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball game 2 weeks ago and got to sing ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th inning. Not only was it a great night of fellowship, hot dogs, peanuts, fireworks and baseball, but CYT raised $1000.00 from selling the baseball tickets! WAY TO GO!” – Allison MayberryFredCongratulations, CYT Fred! Keep up the good work, we can’t wait to see what you do next!