SOM Performance in the Naperville Times: Natalie Chaet Speaks Out

Last month the Naperville Sun wrote about Natalie Chaet, an 11-year-old girl with autism.

Natalie made her acting debut in CYT Chicago’s fall production of “The Sound of Music.” According to newspaper, Natalie’s show highlights included, “Singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and [the introduction of the ] von Trapp kids.”

Here are selections from the article:

“When Natalie was first diagnosed with autism, we didn’t know if she would regain any language skills or eye contact she had already developed but mysteriously lost,” said her mom, Cathy. “When you look at all the support she has, you know it’s been a long journey. It is all worth it when you see this child come so far and want so desperately to fit in with others. She has amazing determination.”

“It’s a lot of hard work and long hours for everyone,” said Natalie, about her first experience in theater. “You have to do things over and over again. It’s funny.”

“Natalie was cast on her own ability to stand up in front of the directors — I tell them they have one minute to shine,” Duvall [Production Coordinator] said. “Natalie auditioned and proved to the directors that she had the ability to sing, dance and be part of the production….She has done a fabulous job learning the choreography, blocking the scenes, learning the songs, and being part of the production….Natalie has been a huge success in the midst of the show.”

You can read the Naperville Times article in its entirety, here.

CYT Fredericksburg and the Griffin Family Affair

Last week wrote an article focusing on the Griffins, a family performing in CYT Fredericksburg’s “A Christmas Carol.” The Griffin children are homeschooled and expand their social network through CYT.

According to the article, “The family first became involved with CYT when oldest sister Sarah auditioned for their production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ last year.”

“It even extends beyond our immediate family,” Pete Griffin [their father] said. “Their grandmother helps make costumes. It really is incredible. It’s something that in the busyness of life brings us together with a common interest….We do improv in the house sometimes. We make it really silly. In one of the songs where the ghost comes out and chases Scrooge, we do our own scene and chase each other around the house. It’s really fun.”

Managing Director Terry Cook said, “It’s a great way for people to kick off their Christmas season….It’s such a heartwarming story and shows that there really is goodness in everybody–and we need to show everyone grace and love.”

Read the complete article, here.

A Big “Thank You” on Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving week and we have been inundated with reminders of how important it is to be thankful. We certainly have so many wonderful blessings from the Lord.

One of our greatest blessings is you! We are so grateful for Christian Youth Theater, and for all those who give so much of themselves to make the miracle of theater come to life to literary thousand of children and families around the country.

Wow! What a responsibility the Lord has bestowed on us. Thank you all for working so hard and for giving so much of your heart to CYT. It does make a difference and it is affecting so many.

God Bless,
CYT Corporate

CYT Spokane HYPE Leaders Plan Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

Thanksgiving is around the bend- no doubt, a time to spend with beloved family and friends, but more importantly, a time to give. CYT Spokane is giving to those who need it most.

Last week students gathered to support Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.  Their goal was simple and focused, “to fill shoeboxes with gifts to send to underprivileged children in countries all over the world.”

A total of twenty-seven boxes were packaged with love. Planned by CYT Spokane HYPE leaders, Christmas music and chocolate-covered pretzels were available to keep spirits up.

Photos and facts courtesy of the CYT Spokane Blog .

Troy Hussman on tour with Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular

The other day we caught up with Troy Hussman, CYT San Diego student, who is on tour with this year’s Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular! He talked to us about the perks of touring, backstage happenings, and his role as Patrick.

You’re on tour with Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. Congrats! Can you tell me about the audition process?

I first auditioned for the show in 2008. It was a typical audition with reading sides and singing music from the show. After the audition and callback, I waited about a month to hear if I had been cast. The call came in July and I was so excited to hear that I would be going on tour with the Rockettes in the fall. The next two years, I was invited straight to callbacks. I have been surprised and excited each year that I have been recast.

What role are you playing? You mentioned its double-cast. What are the differences between you and the other actor?

I am playing the role of “Patrick” the older brother of the younger boy, “Ben”. Because it is a Christmas show, the conflict between Ben and me is that I don’t believe in Santa Claus. You will have to come to the show to see what changes my mind. I can tell you that it’s pretty incredible! It involves multiplying Santas, a blizzard, and dancing rag dolls! Sy plays the other “Patrick”. We have been on tour together all three years and are good friends. We have become like brothers. I think we both bring something
different to each performance.

Any humorous stories that happen back stage?

I would have to write a book! In the first year, the boys flew on a track that was suspended over the audience. One of our first stops was in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During the show, Santa and Ben were flying and I was lifted up to follow. Half way through the scene, the track got stuck and I stopped moving. They had to stop the show and ask the audience members sitting underneath where I was hanging to move aside so they could let me down. Once I was down on the ground, a man in the audience commented to me as I ran past, “you should have believed more.”

How do you like touring?

Touring is awesome. I have seen much of our country and went into Canada last year. Some of my favorite places have been Cincinnati, OH & Hershey, PA. I really liked Cincinnati because the hotel is really nice and is supposedly haunted. We were there for Halloween the first year, which was really fun! Hershey, PA, is another of my favorites because of Hershey Park and it is close enough for us to drive into New York and catch some shows.

I’m very excited for this tour because we are coming to California! We arrive back in the state on December 3rd and perform at the San Diego Sports Arena before moving on to the Honda Center in Anaheim and then the Nokia Theater in LA. The show will be in San Diego for the weekend of December 3-5. Since the show is double cast, the performances that I will be in are 7pm on Dec. 3, 1pm and 7pm on the 4th, and 11am on the 5th. I am looking forward to all my family and friends to finally see the show and the amazing Radio City Rockettes.

You can purchase tickets to Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, here.

CYT Alumni to Premier New Movie Musical on Facebook


A New Movie Musical “AMIRA” is going to hit the online world in a few days and you don’t want to miss out!

CYT alumni Christopher Ninness and Grant Gilligan are releasing their new movie musical for a 24 hour period starting on Thanksgiving Day! It stars Kaitlyn Terrill from CCT’s “Alice in Wonderland”, Luke Yellin from the National Tour of Grease and so many more!

“Amira is the story of a young girl just wanting to capture her dream,” said Ninness (Director). “We are so excited to finally share this film, it’s been a ton of work and we are so proud of it.”

Check out the official site for more information

Log on and sign up today using your facebook account to pledge your viewing!

Alum update: Katie Critchlow, Dancer At Ballet West

We received word of another CYT Alum success story. CYT San Diego Alum Katie Critchlow is currently a dancer at Ballet West!

Katie was involved in Tri-City’s CYT- her last performance was “Lil” in Annie. It wasn’t long before her total focus became ballet. She graduated from high school in 2003, and moved to Seattle, WA to dance for Pacific Northwest Ballet. From 2005 to present, she is a company dancer for Ballet West located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Katie has been fortunate these past 5 years to not only perform with such a wonderful company in SLC, but also guest with them at the Aspen Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center, and most recently in the Chicago Dance Festival at Millenium Park in front of an audience of 10,500,” said Sue Critchlow, Katie’s mother.

“Her experience with CYT and love for the stage helped her with her present career. Great memories and great experience for a future she could never have imagined!”

Here is a video of Katie Critchlow and Christopher Sellars dancing Spring Waters, music by Rachmaninoff: