Two CYT Show Reviews, One Dr. Seuss

This week the Examiner reviewed CYT San Diego’s South County’s Seussical, while The Advertiser reviewed CYT Lafayette’s production, Suessical Jr. BOTH shows got rave reviews! Read the excerpts below.

CYT San Diego’s South County’s Seussical Review:

Christian Youth Theatre’s (CYT) production of ‘Seussical’ comes very close to perfection. The set is colorful and impressive, the props abundant. The costumes are picture perfect, adorning the huge cast to the smallest detail. The props are abundant and beautiful.

The characters ranging from Cat in the Hat, played by the teenage Patrick Gates with a mischievous sophistication beyond his years, to the comical Gertrude, played by Ivanna Quiceno, the little bird who longed for a longer tail, are wisely cast. Raelene Herrera, playing Mayzie LaBird, the saucy, vain and gorgeous bird who flaunts her big tail and callously leaves her egg, is hilarious. The singing is strong and the live music right on key.

There is absolutely nothing thats stands out for need of improvement in this almost flawless production. Great job by musical director Carolyn Stevenson, costumer Lucy Olson, and set coordinator Ed Garcia….There is not a dull moment in this captivating production directed by Erin Kelly and presented at Mater Dei High School.”

Read the full review, here.

CYT Lafayette’s Suessical Jr. Review:

“There is very little that gives me as much delight as watching the petals of adolescence performing art talent open up to full bloom. Such pleasure occurred last week as I saw Christian Youth Theatre’s Angelle Hall production of Suessical Jr., an adolescent version of the Broadway hit Suessical the Musical.

These colorful characters’ music and acting abilities make up the musical’s antagonistic duel that proved to make Suessical Jr. a delight. The show’s director, Karen Broussard, assisted by choreographer Kallie Broussard, did much to enhance their young charges’ performance to turn the afternoon into a mid-day delight. I was especially charmed by the singing abilities of Miguel Ochoa, Tim Theriot and Cecile Desormeaux, who garnered the show’s Georgies. These youngsters served as the play’s lynchpins, the hub of which became springboards from which the other player’s boing-ed onto the stage.

My congratulations to the Christian Youth Theatre, whose Suessical Jr., is their second production. Based on what I saw, the troupe has a great theatrical future.”

Read the full review, here.

2010 HYPE Leadership Conference Chatter From Janie Russell

The 2010 HYPE At Conference is less than two months away, and there are already two AWESOME workshops lined up.

Workshop leaders include Justin Caster, who has performed in the Chicago cast of the hit Broadway Musical “Wicked”, and Chris Rubio, who is on tour with Broadway’s “Stomp”. Janie Russell is planning this years event, and chats about why students should come to the HYPE Leadership Conference this year:

“All high school students should come to this Hype Conference because there is history to be made. Pursuing excellence is not just a way of life it is a way of ‘thinking’,” said Janie Russell. “There will be some incredible workshops with inspiring leaders who will not leave you empty handed. Don’t miss out on the work God is doing in the world of CYT.”

As we get closer to July, keep your eyes and ears open for more updates.

Check out bios of Justin Caster and Chris Rubio at the HYPE webpage.
Register for the 2010 HYPE Leadership Conference, here.
If you’re on Twitter, make sure to use the hashtag, #2010cytlc when twittering about HYPE!!

The Legend of Pocahontas Film: Q & A With Director Chris Ninness

The Legend of Pocahontas, produced by CastFam Productions, is a film you don’t want to miss! Read my Q & A with Director, and CYT Alum, Chris Ninness:

How did the initial project pop into your head?

It was really an interesting story how the project came to be. I was in the show when I was 13 and had always felt that it could make an awesome movie. When I was in 10th grade I took the script and started re-working it for a shorter tighter version for a movie.

Was it a solo project? If not, who’s in the mix?

I did this with my best friend Zack Wolfe. When I graduated High School I became friends with Justin and Nick Caster and they jumped on board with the idea and it became a very collaborative project.

What inspired you to create the film?

Jon Lorenz. We all three wanted to tell the story the way Jon (the writer of the musical) originally intended, while bringing new ideas to the table.

Still haven’t seen “The Legend of Pocahontas” – order your copy today and support CYT!
Check out the The Legend of Pocahontas Website!

“The Legend of Pocahontas” is a story of an Indian Princes who defied her tribe, and in doing so changed the world forever. Witness her story in a brand new way unlike anything you have ever seen before. Using a unique blend of theater and film, The Legend of Pocahontas is a movie you won’t want to miss.

McHenry County Tackles Les Miserables

The Daily Herald interviewed the McHenry County cast of CYT Chicago’s Les Miserables: School Edition this week. The young actors performed at Huntley High School, “bringing the message of love, redemption and revolution” to the stage.

The article, by Holly Zissman, states,

“‘It was time for CYT to do ‘Les Mis’ again,’ said director Teri Leman. ‘It’s my favorite show. It’s a beautiful story of redemption.’

Jim Gritschke, who plays reformed criminal Jean Valjean, appreciates the variety and change his role allows.

‘Throughout the show, Valjean does a complete 180 on his view of the world,” said Gritschke. ‘It’s interesting to see how one thing going into your life can change the course of your life and change your mind. One thing comes into your life and you discover that everything you’ve known has another side to it.’

‘The whole cast is amazing,’ said Naponelli [who plays Eponine]. ‘Everyone is just so strong (with their talent). I’ve been in the show before and there are definitely a lot of things we looked at (and changed) that I don’t think anybody will expect to see.’

You can read the complete article here.


CYT SD’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Director Talks To The Pomerado Newspaper

The Pomerado Newspaper recently chatted with Chas Shay, director of CYT SD’s The Wizard of Oz. The production is double cast- more than 60 students will be on stage, as well as behind the scenes. According to the article, Shay, “instructed his young actors to stay away from the classic 1939 film because he wanted them to interpret the characters in their own ways.”

Here are some snippets from the interview:

“’We want to encourage the students to bring their own talent to create their own characters and to bring to life the script, which is taken from the MGM movie and the Frank L. Baum books,’ Shay said, adding that while a lot of the familiar elements will be there, the take will also be some differences.’

Case in point, he said, was the performance of one of the actors who is portraying the Cowardly Lion. When he auditioned, Shay said, the teen did a good job of mimicking Bert Lahr’s performance in the 1939 film. But when Shay suggested he try to give the character a Scottish accent, the student was able to get away from the mimicry.

Other changes are also being made to make “The Wizard of Oz” more modern. For example, though she will be painted green, the actress playing the wicked witch will not rely on prostheses.

‘We want to get away from the idea that evil is ugly and that beauty is good,’ Shay said.

For the article in its entirety, click here.

CYT Chicago’s Maddie Jane on Ellen!

CYT Chicago’s Maddie Jane made an appearance on Ellen yesterday!

Currently Maddie is performing in CYT Chicago’s production of Little Princess (Dupage). She sang “Breakeven” on Ellen’s “Wonderful Web of Wonderment” segment.

View Maddie Jane on Ellen now!

KC Stage Reviews CYT Kansas City’s Seussical

CYT Kansas City’s production of Seussical was reviewed today, by KC Stage. Here is an excerpt:

“Even though ‘Seussical’ is a long show and it runs nearly 2 1/2 hours with a 15 minute intermission the time seemed to fly by. This cast is loaded with performance gems and strong singers:

Patrick Graham (Cat in the Hat) is about as good a young character actor as you are going to see. Although only 15 years-old he has really put himself into this role and isn’t afraid to use physical comedy to liven up the scene. Oh, that face and speaking voice!

Stephen Baldwin (Horton) has a lovely, calm presence on stage as the ever faithful elephant who is simultaneously caring for an egg until it hatches and protecting tiny Whoville (on top of clover) from perishing. He has a singing voice that is always on pitch and has warmth to it.

Cassandra Maggard (Mayzie) is finishing up her CYT career and this is a wonderful show to go out on. Her portrayal of the vain and conniving bird that talks Horton into staying with her egg for 51 weeks while she is off having a good time is great. This girl is the whole package: singing, dancing and acting … a triple threat.”

Read the complete review, here.