CYT Reflects on Charity: Water

As CYT signed up to participate in Blog Action Day 2010, we thought about how water is connected to the arts and to youth. Immediately, Charity: Water came to mind.

If you grew up in America, chances are you have had access to clean drinking water your whole life. If you can, try to forget about your comfortable couch and fridge full of bottled water for a second…

According to Charity: Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations, “Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.” ONE IN EIGHT.

In Africa alone, economic loss resulting from an absence of clean water and sanitation equates to $28 billion, or circa 5% of GDP.

There’s an African proverb that states “It takes a village to raise a child”- likewise, it takes a well to nourish a village. Here is a likely scenario that could improve the lives of children to become more educated in both the sciences and the arts:

Please visit Charity: Water to find out more.
Infographic courtesy of Charity: Water.

Meet CYT Houston Set Designer Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson has designed and painted sets for seven CYT Houston shows. She is currently a busy bee, working on sets for their upcoming show, Music Man.

Last week she blogged about her experience- mentioning highlights and lowlights, bad paint, and MATH! Here are some excerpts:

“Tonight I taught my students how to use a chalk line, which they loved. I think they would have enjoyed thwacking out nice, straight blue lines all night long. After that came the tape so we could have beautiful, straight shelves. It was entertaining watching a bunch of young artists figuring the math measurements. They got it, though, and did very well. Yes, even artists have to do a lot of MATH!

We’re finally adding books. I had each student choose his or her own color, and paint books on all the various shelves. The next step will be for each one to write down his chosen book titles on the books. Then I’ll do some final touches of highlights and lowlights for shadows and light.

I have my students take inventory of all the paints we have at the beginning of each session. They’re categorized and shelved according to color, and I give them some lessons on color. Every now and then one of the paint cans has gone bad. EVERYONE knows when one of these is opened because the smell is HORRENDOUS, and it’s quickly disposed of! One of the things I show the kids is to use an awl and hammer out about ten holes on the inside rim of each paint can. This way, the paint drains down through the holes instead of clogging the opening, which sometimes eternally seals the paint inside! Try it, you’ll like it!”

Keep your eyes peeled for a Q&A session with Cindy next week, complete with photos from the set of Music Man!!

For Music Man ticket information, check out

Casting Call: Work/Life Balance On The Oprah Winfrey Network

Please take note that this show has already premiered, and the casting call is closed.

The Oprah Winfrey Network TV series is looking to give an overwhelmed parent a new perspective on life, through Work/Life Balance. CYT Alum Aaron Long is the Casting Director for the show and let us know of this opportunity.

Here is the casting information:

NOW CASTING: “Work/Life Balance”

An alarming number of parents in the U.S. feel overwhelmed by their demanding careers, leaving them insufficient time to spend with their families. If you’re one of the many millions, here is your chance to gain greater balance in your life and reconnect with your family. It is especially important for us to find families with very expressive and opinionated older children who have a strong reaction to their parents overwhelming responsibilities at work.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, please e-mail the following:

  • Names and ages of each family member
  • City and state in which you live
  • Contact phone number
  • Challenges faced in the family because of busy work schedule
  • How you originally heard about this opportunity
  • Attach a few photos of you and your family

More information can also be found directly on the Oprah Winfrey Network Website.
Click here to read the Work/Life Balance casting flier.

CYT National encourages you to research the casting call thoroughly, prior to getting involved.

Two Graces Play Annie For CYT Lafayette

Not long ago, The Daily Advertiser spent some time with the cast of CYT Lafayette’s “Annie Jr.”- interviewing actors and staff,  and snapping photos of their dress rehearsal.

Artistic Director Karen Broussard stated to the newspaper, “Both Annies are named Grace, and there’s also a character in the musical named Grace, so it gets interesting at rehearsals.”

Grace Hill comes to the stage as a natural redhead with standard freckles, and Grace Sternaman is a blonde who colored her hair red for the part. The two Annies will alternate show performances.

Sternaman told the Daily Advertiser, “We work on each scene at a time…then we switch.  It’s been amazing. It’s a great place to meet friends, to sing and dance, and to learn about God. I do look up to the older ones. I’m making progress in knowing what I’m supposed to do. It’s coming along well.”

Read the complete article “Hard-Knock Life”, here.
Browse the Daily Advertiser’s dress rehearsal photos of “Annie Jr.” here.

In case you missed it, here’s is CYT Lafayette’s commercial for “Annie Jr.”

CYT VanPort’s Mitch Thatcher Inspires Kingsbury

Mitch and his mother, Carrie Thatcher.

CYT inspires Karen Kingsbury, again.

Yesterday, the Columbian shared Mitch Thatcher’s story that helped shape Karen Kingsbury’s next novel, “Unlocked.” Mitch Thatcher is involved with CYT VanPort, and happens to have autism. According to the article, seeing Mitch “thrive in CYT” ignited the story idea in Kingsbury’s mind,

“When I saw Mitch up on stage, I literally sat in the audience and had tears streaming down my face,” Kingsbury said. “I felt like the transformation was a miracle. He was up there singing and dancing, and he came up and said hi to me. He didn’t approach people like that before.”

Kingsbury’s son, Tyler Russell, is credited with helping Mitch break out of his shell. After a friendly “good night” from Tyler, Mitch was inspired to step on stage. Since then, Mitch has performed in CYT productions like “Peter Pan,” “Scrooge,” and “Into the Woods.” He landed his first lead role in CYT’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” playing the Rabbi. Tyler told the Columbian,

“I just knew that if I was in his position of being shy and younger and new to CYT, I would have wanted one of the older kids to come talk to me, as well….It just taught me to never walk past someone or brush someone aside, but treat people the way I would want them to treat me and just take every opportunity to reach out.”

Read the complete article, here.

“Unlocked” comes out Tuesday. Kingsbury is streaming a webcast that day from 5 to 6 p.m. that explores topics such as autism, a developmental disability. The webcast can be found online at Kingsbury and her daughter, Kelsey Russell, co-host the webcast, which filmed Friday in Portland before a live audience. It features Mitch and Carrie, as well as the Williamses, another local family touched by autism. The program also includes insights from autism experts.

Life’s Not What Happened To You, It’s What Happens NEXT

Life’s not what happened to you, it’s what happens NEXT. Check out this video by Steelroots, a prospective CYT production partner.

Steelroots was birthed from the need and desire to reach today’s youth with the message of Jesus Christ. Their goal is to communicate that message in a genuine and direct manner. Steelroots’ in-house production team creates relevant programs geared toward youth and young adults. Through cable and satellite television, they are capable of reaching over 125 million households world-wide. Their mission at Steelroots is simple: Reveal the Truth to Today’s Generation.

Arizona Daily Star Interviews Kathy Thuerbach & Talks University Dance Project

Today the Arizona Daily Star interviewed Kathy Thuerbach about CYT Tucson’s University Dance Project. The article stressed the dance studio’s decision to focus on technique, rather than competition.

University Dance Project opened on Aug. 16, and has approximately 100 students. Classes offered include ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip-hop, kickboxing and pom (to name a few). Here is what Kathy told the newspaper:

Sometimes the focus is not on proper dance technique, but on how many tricks you can do,’ executive director Kathy Thuerbach said about training for competitions…. There’s learning self-discipline and the discipline of dance, and learning the respect of the art, learning teamwork, responsibility and accountability for yourself.”

“It’s been really great to see the dedication that these (instructors) have to their craft and the passion with which they teach these kids. It’s all so contagious,” Thuerbach said.

To find out more about University Dance Project, go to www.

You can read the Arizona Daily Star article in its entirety, here.