Why we do it…

CYT Founders, Paul & Sheryl Russell, recently received the following letter from a CYT parent, Amy Kennard, who watched her daughter, Kylie, perform in a CYT San Diego production of Godspell. It is reprinted here (along with personal pictures ) with her permission. Enjoy!

Godspell_2

Godspell, 2015

Hello Russell Clan!
I didn’t get a chance to say hi to either of you (Paul and Janie) at the show earlier today but once again felt like I had to write!  I hope you enjoyed it.  I know it’s been quite the experience for Kylie…and for me!  In the midst of all the songs, scenes, and dance numbers I’ve ever watched my daughter perform in…none has compared to watching her face in the scene where Jesus died.  In three seconds my hugest prayer as a parent was answered…because I didn’t see her acting.  I saw her reacting as any of us would were we put in a situation to watch our Savior suffer.  She understood what He did for her!  Although I had not seen any of the rehearsals, she had come home from the night they blocked that scene telling me how sad she felt.  How cool to get to experience that place in your heart on stage…and what a confirmation for a mom to see her daughter “get it”!
Kylie in Godspell.

Kylie in Godspell.

So I write to say thank you…

thank you for creating a theater group that does shows like Godspell.
thank you for creating a theater group with other believers doing shows like Godspell that my daughter gets to fellowship with.
thanks for giving my girl the chance to be a part of telling the greatest story ever told…the chance to be on stage doing what she loves while being a light to the world!
Cast of Godspell

Cast of Godspell

I know it may not be a financial winner for CYT, but like I told Angela and Wendy…I so applaud you for choosing it!
Thankful once again!
Amy
You’re welcome, Amy. It is truly our pleasure. 

 

CYT Alumnus Owen Spruill: An American in Paris

Thank you to Vittoria Allen of CYT San Diego for contributing the following story & interview.

As CYT approaches it’s 35th Anniversary, I have spent countless hours going through old photos and videos, collecting pieces of our history that have woven together a beautiful story of friendship and family through the arts. It is so fun to see all these great #tbt photos, but also encouraging and inspiring to see so many CYT Alumni that have gone on to do incredible things in the world of theater arts.

One of my personal friends, Owen Spruill, has been basically living the dream in Paris. (Ok, I’m a little bias, but I can’t be the only one who would drop everything to live abroad!) If you have been following the Tony Nominations for 2015, you may have noticed a new show, An American in Paris, making headlines with 12 nominations! Owen has been working on An American in Paris IN PARIS! I thought this would be a great opportunity to take the CYT nation on a dive into his world and celebrate how one of our own is making waves in the theater industry.

Owen, what is your current job title and what are your responsibilities?
I work at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France. My job title is English Press and Communications.

The Théâtre du Châtelet  (in Paris), where An American in Paris originated.

The Théâtre du Châtelet (in Paris), where An American in Paris originated.

The work I do here is to focus on building a stronger brand for the theatre in the English media outlets – The New York Times, The Guardian, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, etc. I pitch stories about specific musicals we do here, artists we are working with or the theatre in general to the journalists and we work on finding a story that sees fit. I then set up interviews, and deliver photography or media that can be used for the news piece.

Other work I do is developing social media content for the theatre and the musicals we do here. I also reach out to potential corporate partners to find a good way they can be incorporated in the work we do at the theatre; for example partnerships with Uber, Google or Twitter.

How did you get this job? / What inspired you to move to Paris?
This was actually a funny story. I had read about the Châtelet in the past. I have always loved Paris. I studied abroad here in 2009 and wanted to live and work here longer. I was ready for a change from NYC and reached out to them, via Facebook! I was lucky enough to get a response. They saw on my resume that I had worked with the American press representatives in the past and since they were going to premiere An American in Paris [on Broadway] (this past fall), a few phone calls later, and voilà, I’ve been working here since last spring!

Owen 2

Promo for An American in Paris.

What was your job while living in New York?

I studied Producing and Management at Marymount Manhattan, along with Communications and French as my minor. I want to produce and work in the development for the arts. Towards the end of college, I worked with Broadway producers and in press offices. I chose to work in a press office because they had the opportunity to work with many different clients. Those clients are the ones that produce Broadway. Since graduating, I have worked many jobs. I researched and developed social media for specific Broadway shows, I negotiated contracts for touring venues to sell merchandise, I worked at Disney Theatricals in their press office and, most recently, was an assistant to a Broadway producer.

What is the biggest different from working in the theater industry in NY vs. Paris?

A journalist I know wrote a great article that talks about the Parisian and NYC theatre. It is a very in-depth analysis on the theatre industry in both cities.

Regarding musicals in France, it is difficult to say. There are tons of shows that come through Paris – Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Flashdance… But these shows are experienced differently than the way we experience a Broadway musical. They are cute and fun, but there isn’t a strong impact on the audiences here.

Working at a historical music house at the Théâtre du Châtelet, where they present everything that surrounds music – dance, opera, concerts, musical theatre, etc., the American musicals are respected a bit more. Instead of having a 15 to 19-piece orchestra, there is a 25 to 30-piece orchestra, for example. The idea came in 2006 when our Executive Director came and introduced classic American musicals to be treated as operas – Big and lavish, like they originally were during the Golden Age of Musicals. Possibly the way Gershwin would want them to sound! Since then, they have presented multiple Sondheim, Gershwin, Bernstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, and many more! These aren’t new names to the French, except Sondheim, but they weren’t familiar with their musical theatre works. Presenting these amazing shows in a grandiose way has really helped the French appreciate the history and passion that we have for musicals in America.

What has been your favorite part about working abroad?

I think one my favorite things to do during the workweek is get out of my office every day for about an hour to an hour and a half and just relax. It’s the culture here to close up shop and get out of the office for an hour or so every day. I like to get a sandwich and go sit and read in a park or by the Seine. I have time to go to a museum or go to my neighborhood to have lunch with a friend. It is nice and keeps you calm, but energized to finish the rest of the day at work!

Besides that, I love being in the city with so many great things: so many museums, concerts, parks, restaurants…I absolutely love the food. I go to the farmers market every Saturday and pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, local meats and cheeses. drink amazing wine and of course, THE BREAD! It’s too good to pass up. It’s too hard to not pass up a warm croissant or pain au chocolat every morning on the way to work.

What would you say is the greatest thing you have learned since working / living abroad?

When I lived in NYC, after graduating college, I thought I had to focus focus focus on “making it,” getting “that” job or that position to truly feel that I have accomplished all the hard work I put in. Don’t get me wrong, I am still focused on doing what I am passionate about, but over time, when all you have is work and career on your mind, you forget about what else goes on in life. The French do it right, though some/many Americans might not think so. I work normal work hours, 10AM-7PM, I have my weekends off and I go out of town for the holiday weekends. What I appreciate most, and what I have finally come to realize, is that you must take time for yourself. I have changed the way I utilize my day. I work hard during my workweek, but I also take time for myself and take advantage of the experiences I am having.

At work, I have grown to appreciate the artists who were a part of the creation of what American Musicals are today. When you sit back and listen an 18-minute symphonic poem by Gershwin, you find true appreciation for what the artists of our country have done; what they have created for the basis of musical theatre. During my personal time it’s that mixture of being in a country that appreciates the arts, culture, food, good conversation and much more.

Explain what it was like bringing An American to Paris to Broadway!

I have had the coolest year of not only moving to Paris, but also continuing to work on a Broadway show, IN Paris! An American in Paris made its world premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet this past November. It was the first time a show was premiered outside of the States or in England before going to Broadway. I am not sure if it was the opportunity to work with old colleagues on a show in Paris, the sense of family everyone created or the show itself. It was probably all of it. I feel so completely blessed to be able to work on it. An American in Paris is a new musical that has been adapted from the movie starring Gene Kelly. It also features the music of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and is directed by one of the kings of the ballet world, Christopher Wheeldon. He is a genius! The show has all the formality of a classic American musical, but what makes it so special and contemporary, to me, is the way Christopher Wheeldon incorporates his beautiful choreography into this show. You leave the show in love with choreography that truly tells the story along with the Gershwin classics leading the way. Along with that, you have the incredible the sets, costumes, lights, an amazing ensemble with two leading actors/dancers (also from the dancing world) that really inspires you. It made me realize why I love working in this industry so much.

Owen on the stage of the Palace Theatre in NY where An American In Paris is playing.

Owen on the stage of the Palace Theatre in NY where An American In Paris is playing.

When the show opened on Broadway in April, I had such an “aha” moment. American in Paris is playing at the Palace Theatre, the same theatre I saw my first show on Broadway, Aida. It was a very special night. Now, the show is nominated for 12 Tony Awards. Only one other Broadway show is competing with that many nominations this year. Fingers crossed.

Who is your favorite person you’ve been able to “rub elbows” with? Name drop!

Ha. I got coffee for Susan Sarandon once!

But working in the theatre in NYC and it being such a small industry, you make friends from all over the place. I think my favorite person to “rub elbows” with was probably in 2010 when Eddie Redmayne won the Tony Award for Red. I picked him up after his acceptance speech with a colleague and we drove over to the pressroom (it was in a completely different building from Radio City Music Hall). He was in complete shock that he just won his award and didn’t know what to do. So, of course, we blasted rap in the car ride over.

I guess a more simple one would be Daniel Radcliff accidently stepping on my foot, while walking down the red carpet at The Tony Awards, and then pulling me aside 15 minutes later to apologize. We hugged it out.

How has CYT played a role in your current career?

CYT is probably the sole reason I have pursued a career in the arts. I have always had a hard time finding the “right place” for me, hence the need to go to Paris! It was CYT that helped change that. CYT was the reason I continued to do theatre when I moved to Virginia, which led me to NYC. I know that my roots are in CYT and without it, I couldn’t name one other career I could be doing right now.

Ok, maybe I would be a chef. I love food and I love to cook. I still may go to culinary school one day. Why not!?

What’s your favorite CYT memory?

I think my favorite CYT memory was my final year in CYT. I moved to Virginia in 2004 with my family where I finished my last two years of high school. In my last year of CYT, I traveled San Diego to do the shows I wanted to be a part of; The Little Mermaid in NCI, Pocahontas in SC and Aladdin in SDC – My home area. That was also the year I won the screwball award for every show! It was the year I made my some of my best friends. Jason Russell led a boy’s bible study. There was so many of us hanging out almost every day, goofing off, figuring out how to grow up during a time with so many changes. Trust me, it was very hard to have to let it all go and move to the opposite side of the country. But I have this group of friends I know will be a part of my life no matter where we go or what we do. I think, like any person in CYT, our favorite memories are the ones we have had with our family and friends.

What piece of advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in the same field?

If you are either aspiring to be on stage or in the background of it all, then do it. Don’t think that because Broadway puts a standard of work out there, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for you. Even go beyond the Great White Way. Personally, I know that Broadway will ALWAYS be there. There will always be something for me to do there. As I have recently decided to make a change and dive into another culture to see the way they appreciate the arts. It has been one of the best and coolest decisions I have made in my career, and life! It’s the most fascinating thing to see how dance, opera, symphonies, museums and so much more all contribute to our society in such powerful ways. Learn your field (front and back) and then go get it. It’s there for you.

You can catch a preview of An American in Paris here.

We are so proud of you Owen!

2014 CYT Improvathon Comes to a Surprising Finish…a Wedding!

The soon to be Mr. & Mrs. Norris

The soon to be Mr. & Mrs. Norris

Improvathon is all about the unexpected. Last year, CYTer, Hayley Sharpe from CYT Kansas City, got something really unexpected: her future spouse! Enjoy her darling letter to our CYT founders (Paul & Sheryl Russell), sharing her good news:

Hi there CYT Family!
My name is Hayley Sharpe, and this year I’m one of the coaches for CYT Kansas City’s Improv team.

I wanted to share my story with both of you. Last year at Improvathon, I was on the Kansas City team, House of Shards. It was my last year as a CYT student and I was just going to improvathon because I loved to perform and I loved CYT. At the final performance, Paul got up and said something along the lines of, “Careful, you might meet your husband or wife here!” I immediately thought, no way. There’s absolutely no way I’d meet mine here.

Hayley & Bailey competing head to head at Improvathon 2014.

Hayley & Bailey competing head to head at Improvathon 2014.

But then I met a boy from CYT Riverside named Bailey Norris. Over the past year he and I not only kept in contact, he eventually moved to Kansas City to be with me through my hip surgeries (I recently had a hip replacement due to a birth defect in my hips) and now we are engaged to be married!

Hayley_Bailey_Improv_Couple_2

#CYTLove

We will both be at Improvathon in San Diego (at EXPO 2015) this year as an engaged couple, and we’ll be married August 22!

I wanted to thank you for starting this wonderful organization that led me closer to God and to my best friend, and man of my dreams.

I hope to see you all in San Diego!
Thanks and God Bless,
Sincerely,
Soon to be Mrs. Norris

Once upon a time, two kids competed at CYT Improvathon...

Once upon a time, two kids competed at CYT Improvathon…

Congratulations Bailey & Hayley! May God continue to bless your union with peace, joy, & laughter! Now THAT’s why you should go to EXPO!

CYT Alumni Spotlight: Jenn Lindsay

With shows, rehearsals, classes, Improv trips, etc. it often seems we don’t go more than a few hours without seeing our CYT family. However, eventually, those familiar theatre faces graduate and move on to the rest of their lives. We always hope & pray that they take the lessons & spirit from their time at CYT with them into the world. Recently, we checked in with CYT San Diego (East County) Alum, Jenn Lindsay, to see what she’s been up to. Please enjoy her most recent bio:

CYT Alum, Jenn Lindsay (CYT Student: 1985-1990)

CYT Alum, Jenn Lindsay (CYT Student: 1985-1990)

Jenn Lindsay is an American anthropologist of religion, documentary filmmaker, journalist, and anti-folk singer/songwriter currently based in Rome, Italy. Her music blends elements of folk music, indie rock, and protest songs. She is the founder of No Evil Star Records, an independent social action record label, and through it she has released ten studio albums. She produced 6 documentary films and screened them at various international conferences and festivals. She has a bachelor’s degree in playwriting from Stanford University and attended the arts management graduate program at Yale School of Drama. She attended the acting program at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2000. She studied Interfaith Relations and Ecumenics at Union Theological Seminary of Columbia University in New York City, graduating with a Master of Divinity in 2011. She is presently a PhD candidate at Boston University in the Gradate Division of Religious Studies.

Regarding her time with CYT, Jenn says:

I’m sure that my participation in CYT planted many seeds that have continued to feed my professional momentum–the joy of art and theater, the drive to contribute to a community effort with my utmost efforts and cheer, and comfort in front of audiences of any size. CYT participation honed my energies and helped me learn about discipline and friendship.

Thanks for the update, Jenn! No doubt your star will continue to rise & brightly shine!

Heads up, CYT Alums! CYT will be introducing The National Alumni Association at our upcoming EXPO in San Diego as we celebrate 35 years of CYT history! Please, contact Sheryl Russell at srussell@cyt.org if you want to be a part of the national committee.

CYT Alum, Daniel Kendrick, at the 2015 Golden Globes

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At CYT, nobody celebrates the success & talents of our kids like their own parents. They pack the audience, wrangle backstage, chauffeur to rehearsals, & applaud like crazy when it’s all said & done. Turns out, just because our kids grow up & graduate from CYT, that doesn’t mean their parents stop applauding…or that we stop celebrating!

Recently, one such CYT parent, Kathy Kendrick, mentioned that her son, Daniel, was working in LA & Brazil and recently attended the 2015 Golden Globes! Say what?! We instantly reached out to Daniel to see if he’d be willing to let us feature him in an upcoming CYT blog post & he joyfully replied, “Thank you for reaching out! I would LOVE to be featured.” Turns out, not only is Daniel an exuberant & talented CYT alum, he’s also quite a funny guy! Enjoy out our Q&A with Daniel Stellan Kendrick (psst, he captioned the photos, too):

What was your involvement with CYT? 

I was in CYT from my first Our Gang Class in 1995 until my last show, (CYT San Diego) Central’s OLIVER! in 2008. I went to camp twice, competed in Improvathon once, and ate many a Denny’s meal with CYT. It was my main scene growing up, and I met many lifelong friends during my years at CYT. In the end, I think I was in 15 shows.

Daniel Kendrick & Becca Downing as Mr. & Mrs. Sowerberry in CYT San Diego, Central's Oliver! (Winter, 2008)

Daniel Kendrick & Becca Downing as Mr. & Mrs. Sowerberry in CYT San Diego, Central’s Oliver! (Winter, 2008)

Which CYT affiliate/area did you perform or work with?

SOCO (CYT San Diego, South County) was my home base. I did most of my shows there, starting with THE HOBBIT in 2003. I also dabbled in (CYT San Diego) East County and (CYT San Diego) Central, and made some awesome friends in those areas too!

the poster for South County's CALIFORNIA GOLD ( Spring, 2005). Also featured ( clockwise from top left) are  Mallory Johnson, Tiffanie Tellez, Tyler Payton, and Michael Covington

The promo poster for CYT San Diego, South County’s California Gold (Spring, 2005). Also featured (clockwise from top left) are Mallory Johnson, Tiffanie Tellez, Tyler Payton, and Michael Covington

Please, tell us about what you’re doing in LA?

I’m a literary manager at Chatrone LLC, a production company for Film & TV. A literary manager is very similar to a talent agent, but we get to wear jeans. I represent writers, directors, and artists in the animation industry. Some of my clients have worked on Spongebob, Robot Chicken, and Futurama. It’s tons of fun!!

(Click here to check out Daniel’s webinar, which he hosted, titled, “Writing for Animation; What ACME Doesn’t Tell You…”.)

Your proud mama tells us that you were involved with the Golden Globe nominated animated feature film, The Book of Life. What was your involvement?

Chatrone LLC produced The Book of Life, along with Guilermo Del Toro and Reel FX. When I first came to Chatrone, I was an executive assistant to the producers on the film. It’s a really incredible experience to see a film go through the phases of production all the way into theaters!

We also hear that you actually got to attend the Golden Globes! That must have been awesome! What was it like?

It was AMAZING! My amazing boss, Carina, took me as her guest since The Book of Life was nominated. To sit there in the audience among other executives from all over town, rooting for a film I was involved with, was a lifelong goal realized. It was surreal and awe inspiring; not to mention a total blast and a good reason to put on a tuxedo!!

Any good stories from the Globes you’d like to share with us?

The hor’s deurves were delicious, the women beautiful, and the celebrities clumsy.  Particularly, the persimmon salad was delish. I recommend it.

What about the after-parties?

Okay, okay… this time, I got one for ya! So I was at the Warner Bros after party — just standing there — talking to my bosses and some D-list celebrity or something. And I feel a hand grasp my left elbow. I turn to face the culpit. And — woe-is-me— I find myself gazing into the blazing blue eyes of a nightmare dressed like a daydream. Taylor Swift. Making eye contact with me. ME! And Lorde is standing right behind her. We gaze deeply into each other’s eyes; our souls intertwine for a brief second. She parts her sweet, scarlet lips, and she says, “Excuse me, we’re trying to get to my friend.” She then shoves me out of the way and keeps talking to Lorde. It was a brief interlude in my career, but I like to think that in that singular moment, we lived a thousand lifetimes of love and passion.

Indeed, you did! Now, please tell us about Gaby Estrella, the show you are working on in Brazil. 

Gaby Estrella is a Brazilian Telenovela that my boss, Carina Schulze created. It’s a fun little musical show about a girl from Rio who moves to the country and rediscovers her heritage and musical roots. It’s a total hoot, and a huge hit in Brazil. Hasn’t really made it’s way stateside yet, but the soundtrack is on itunes! It’s been nominated for an Emmy too! We find out next week about that one!

And, how did you wind up working in Brazil?!

I ended up working in Brazil with Chatrone mostly through UCLA. When I was a senior at UCLA, I thought to myself, “Gee, I ought to get ready to graduate and find a job.” So I put on some pants, went outside, and found an internship listing at Chatrone. I worked there for about three months, and then ended up at ICM, a major talent agency in Century City. After 6 months at ICM, I graduated, began to search for a job, and landed an executive assistant position at Chatrone! It’s been a lot of fun since. I’ve learned Portuguese, traveled to Rio & Sao Paulo, and immersed myself in Brazilian culture!

Daniel as Will Scarlet in SOCO's Robin Hood (Spring, 2004). CYT makes it easy to meet groupies.

Daniel as Will Scarlet in SOCO’s Robin Hood (Spring, 2004). “CYT makes it easy to meet (devoted fans).”

Many of our CYT kids would like to work in LA. What advice to you have for them about bridging that gap?

For myself, I think that attending UCLA really helped smooth that transition. When you move to a new city, everything is scary. All of your friends are back home, it’s all unfamiliar, etc. But going to college in the city in which you would like to work, allows you to integrate into a social system that facilitates friends and a social network. So I would say go to college or school here.

Another tip is that internships are the gateway into the industry. Do an internship for 3 months in 3 different companies, kick butt for them, and impress them. You’d be surprised how much people like helping young up-and-comers out. Everyone works for free for a while to get their foot in the door, so be prepared for that.

Daniel as The Mad Hatter in central's ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Fall, 2007).

Daniel as The Mad Hatter in CYT San Diego Central’s Alice in Wonderland  (Fall, 2007).

Was there something in particular about your CYT experience that has helped you in your current career?

CYT was an invaluable training tool for me growing up. I attribute almost all of my creative pedigree to CYT. The amazing people in CYT taught me creative taste, confidence, and salesmanship. I would not be where I am or who I am without CYT.

 me at teen camp 2008 lookin' fly.

“Me at teen camp, 2008, lookin’ fly.”

In your opinion, what makes CYT unique?

What makes CYT unique is that it is they are the largest Children’s theater company in the world, and in my opinion, the best. When you have such a large pool of talent from all over the world coming together to create and perform amazing shows, the enhance each other and strengthen one another’s talents. CYT trains successful entertainers, and people know that.

My mother's collected assortment of statuettes from my illustrious CYT career.

“My mother’s collected assortment of statuettes from my illustrious CYT career.”

What is your favorite CYT memory?

OH MAN. I don’t think I could pick just one. Hm… alas! There were so many fun nights that I recall so fondly. Some of my favorite shows: The Hobbit, The Jungle Book (in South County), Oliver!, Once Upon a Mattress, and so many more! Some great experiences at camp too. I was also a fan of the skit game at camp.

Though most of my favorite memories ended up with me getting into trouble, so I probably should not go into those details. Haha.

Thanks, for the info & laughs Daniel! We think you’re golden.

2015 My CYT Story Competition!

It’s that time again! Has your life been impacted by CYT? Tell us how, and you might be the next “My CYT Story” competition winner! You’re officially invited to participate in the 3rd annual nationwide CYT Essay Competition, where one winner from each Affiliate will win a free registration to the 2015 National CYT EXPO in San Diego, CA from June 21-24th!

Competition Details:

  • In 500 words or less, tell us what CYT has done in your life
  • Submit your story to your local affiliate’s Artistic Director by April 1, 2015
  • Stories will be read anonymously by your affiliate’s Board of Directors and a local winner will be selected by May 1, 2015

For the sake of clarification/ultimate excitement: there will be one winner per participating affiliate (ask your local Artistic Director if you’re participating), and each individual champ will receive a free registration.

  • Each winner will be submitted to CYT Inc, from which a GRAND WINNER will be selected
  • On Opening Night of CYT’s EXPO, all winners will be recognized and a grand winner will be announced
  • The grand winner gets bragging rights, a feature on the National Blog, and a free CYT sweatshirt from the CYT store!

Happy writing!

2014 My CYT Story Winner - Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

2014 My CYT Story Winner – Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

Here’s a excerpt from last year’s winner, Aubrey Muffett from CYT Sacramento.

“No other community of brave, precious souls could have planted and grown me so securely in Him, all the while allowing me a chance and plenty of room for my once timid personality to unfurl. I have been more warmly accepted and firmly encouraged at CYT than any other group. CYT has helped me develop different characters on stage, but even more so my identity in Christ.”

Q&A with CYT Spokane’s Scott Worley

In continuing my obsession with interviewing CYTers around the nation, I recently spoke with CYT Spokane student Scott Worley. And in continuing my being so impressed with the caliber of people involved in CYT, Scott did not disappoint. Spokane is a lucky CYT Affiliate, indeed!

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Let’s do a little get-to-know-you. Tell me your name, age, current location, and an interesting tidbit or two that we’d be surprised to learn.

My name is Scott Worley, I’m 19 years old, and I live in Spokane, Washington (I’ve lived here my entire life). Interesting tidbits…I have grown a beard, shaved my head, and been painted green for several CYT shows. And for Christmas the past four or five years, I’ve asked for a pair of red converse high tops. They usually last me a little over a year and so I get the perfect time span out of them and I wear them with everything no matter what I’m wearing.

An example of Scott being green...

An example of Scott being green…

I love it! Tell me your experience as a student at CYT Spokane. How long were you involved, and what were some highlights?

I’ve been involved with CYT Spokane sense the age of 11. I was in the cast of 10 shows and on crew for four shows. Some of the highlights have been meeting amazing people who I truly believe will be my friends for life. There also isn’t a whole lot that can compare to the feeling of singing your heart out to a sold out theater of 750 people at the breathtaking Bing Crosby Theater.

Friends

Any favorite roles or shows?

Some roles I’ve had the honor to play were the Beast and Shrek. But my all-time favorite roll was Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. The stretch as an actor I was able to experience was amazing! My favorite show, however, would probably be A Christmas Carol. We had a bit of a smaller cast for that one so everyone was playing several roles and we just had a blast doing such a exciting and fun show.

Not looking so scary as the Beast...

Not looking so scary as the Beast…

What was your go-to audition song?

“I’d Rather Be Sailing” from A New Brain. I was fortunate enough to be able to perform it for the I.E. Thespian Festival and qualify nationally for Solo’s.

I’m told you recently interned for a production of Peter Pan. How was that? What were some of your responsibilities?

That was an absolute blast! Some of what I did was block scenes, as well as fight choreography and assisted with character work and development.

What was the main part of that experience that you didn’t see coming? 

I really didn’t realize how big of an undertaking the whole process really is. As a director you are responsible for everything from the the casting of the show to the set design. I learned you need a solid vision as a director because while you do have a team of dedicated and amazing parent volunteers, they are all going off your vision for the show.

And the second thing that really caught me off guard was the thing you are constantly told when in CYT but never fully grasp until you see the full picture –  how much the parent volunteers really do for a show and for us all. A show would crumble if it was not for the parents giving their time, energy, resources, and GAS for these productions. So to all CYT parents everywhere, thank you for everything you do. You are really changing lives with the work and time you are putting into your CYT.

You attended the 2014 CYT EXPO. Best three days of your life?

I did attend this year, as well as the one before and they were both awesome! Not only did I get an original CYT tie out of it from the good Dr. LaForge herself but met a lot of amazing CYTers and had a blast! It seems like another one of those sayings you always seem to hear but it is oh so true – a CYT’er is a CYT’er no matter where they are from.

Modeling the CYT tie!

Modeling the CYT tie!

What are you currently up to and what is your future looking like?

Right now I am in my first year of college and am involved with community theater around Spokane, as well as teaching Drama 101 this winter semester at CYT. Down the road I am working towards getting a degree in Secondary Education to become a high school Social Studies teacher and will hopefully direct a CYT show of my own some day!

So awesome! Thanks for humoring me and all my questions. Best of luck Scott!