Not too long ago, the Coeur d’Alene Press Extra newspaper interviewed CYT North Idaho’s Executive Director, Bliss Lanier.
The article (which appeared on the front page of the Lifestyles section) mentioned Lanier’s past, “Lanier became acquainted with [CYT] when she lived in San Diego in the 1980s. Her daughter, Kasey, sought a part in the musical, [Annie]…. [Four years after] moving to Spokane in 1994, Lanier helped form CYT Spokane….She wasn’t done spreading the good news of CYT to the region. It would take nearly ten years [to] start CYT [NI] in 2007.”
Notably, Lanier told the paper, “I know that CYT has affected hundreds of lives and families. For me, that’s it.”
Here are some excerpts from her interview with Staff Writer, Bill Buley:
How competitive is it for parts? How do decide who gets a role?
The truth is, theater is not fair. Sports depends on your skill level, but theater not only depends on your skills, but what you look like. If you’ve got a 5 foot 5 Annie you want to use, but the tallest boy you’ve got for Daddy Warbucks is 5 foot 2, it just won’t work.
So your physicality plays into theater, which isn’t fair. What I love about CYT, is that [when] a child comes into audition, the artistic team looks at them with fresh eyes. What they’ve done in the past, good or bad, doesn’t matter. I don’t think any theater has a more fair way of casting than CYT.
Is CYT about more than kids learning to act?
For me, I see it as a ministry. The couple that started CYT in San Diego over 30 years ago, wanted people to know that if you came to see a show, it would be wholesome and family oriented. I feel that the Lord uses CYT to bring families together to work together on a common goal and that’s another key component.
What’s your theater background?
I’m one of those people who did theater in high school. I just happened to have a daughter who wanted to do theater. I enjoyed being one of those parents on the committee when we lived in San Diego. I saw what it did for [my daughter] Kasey and other kids. They make lifelong friends, and because CYT has been around for 30 years, they have received multitudes of letters from kids who have gone on to become professionals in all kinds of areas. They say ‘[CYT] helped me overcome my shyness,’ or ‘It helped me deal with disappointment when I wasn’t cast.’ So it teaches a lot of life lessons.
What’s one thing you want the community to know about CYT North Idaho?
I would want them to know CYT is for anyone and everyone. You don’t have to have any experience to participate. You just have to come….CYT is an incredibly nurturing, family-focused organization, and I think the world needs that right now.