Houston On the Mend With Help From Friends

In one of our last posts, we shared how CYT’s across the nation were banding together to support those affected by the Houston flood in August. CYT families donated funds, sent cards, and offered encouragement and prayer for those who lost their homes. At the time of the hurricane, CYT Houston was in the middle of auditions for one of their area’s fall shows. Now they’re resting and recovering after two full weekends of performances.

Shrek the Musical Jr. opened on Friday, October 27, with about 60 students performing! With set pieces from CYT Lafayette and some costumes from CYT San Antonio, Houston is on the mend. Houses are still being repaired and things aren’t quite back to “normal”, but CYT families were going to rehearsals, pushed through tech, and had a fabulous run!

It’s amazing how, time and time again, everything always comes together. CYT Houston’s other area is getting ready to open their second fall show, Tarzan, this weekend! The show has 4 performances – one Friday, November 10, two Saturday, November 11, and one Sunday, November 12. If you’re in the area, get your tickets today!! Way to go, CYT Houston! We Are CYT!

My CYT Story: Another Home

The following story was submitted by Emily N. from CYT Lafayette for our 2018 My CYT Story Contest.

In May of 2011, my family and I went to see CYT Lafayette’s Beauty and the Beast. Although only in the second grade, I was blown away. I saw the kids up on stage and decided I wanted to do that. So that summer, I signed up for camp. I loved camp so much that in the winter, I begged my mom to sign me up for classes. It was kind of a big deal because I live about 30 minutes away from Lafayette. She finally said yes and I did my first acting class. I absolutely LOVED it! That spring I auditioned and got cast in my first show, Aladdin. Being up on stage just made me feel at home. But the thing I loved most about CYT, was the family I had. The bond I had with my cast and fellow classmates was unbreakable. 6 years later, I’m auditioning for my 7th show and I cannot wait. My friends and I have shared so many memories together and I cannot wait to share even more. I have grown closer to God through worship and learned how to perform for Him. CYT didn’t just help me love theater, but it gave me another place I can call home.


Want to submit your story to the 2018 My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2018 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.

We Are CYT: Family Across the Nation

In late August, on the same weekend as auditions for their fall show, CYT Houston families evacuated their homes when Hurricane Harvey flooded their city. Their homes were damaged, possessions lost, and lives were changed. But during their time of need, families from CYT Baton Rouge, LafayetteFront Range, New York City, Waco, and Chicago all mailed letters, made donations, and sent gift cards to CYT Houston to help. 

Less than two months later, the families are back in their homes but things have still not completely returned to normal. However, the students are back at classes and rehearsals, and the CYT Houston families are working hard to put on one of their fall shows, Shrek the Musical Jr.But they’re not doing it alone. Shrek is coming together with a little help from their neighbor, CYT Lafayette!

This weekend, on October 8, CYT Lafayette closed their own production of Shrek the Musical Jr.! Instead of tearing down the set or putting it into storage, it’s getting put to good use and sent over to CYT Houston for their production! Check out what Gerald B., the CYT Lafayette Executive Director, has to share!

“First of all it was a real privilege to have Houston visit our show and are honored that we could give back to the CYT affiliate that was the inspiration to start CYT Lafayette 9 years ago!

Many people know how devastating the flood was in Louisiana last year and how hard it was on our families and the community. The support we received from the CYT affiliates was over whelming so it was an easy decision to jump in and help. Their dads have had little time to focus on CYT with so many people needing help with their homes. It’s the least we could do to help support them.

Two Houston Dads (Ari and Richard) drove to Lafayette with the truck and arrived in Lafayette around 2:30. They got to watch the show then started load out with our dads around 5:30. The sets were a little two large for the truck so they spent an hour or so making as much fit as possible. We wrapped up around 8pm and sent them on their way. The staff also agreed to help with expenses for their trip so we included a gift card for $450.

Praying they have a great show! Blessings from Lafayette!

We are CYT!”

My CYT Story: There’s No Place Like Home

The following story was submitted by Emma G. from CYT Lafayette for our 2017 My CYT Story Contest.

I had this dream once. I was standing alone on a stage and had to entertain a crowded auditorium by telling them a story. The dream seemed simple enough, but it got me thinking. If I had a microphone and a chance to say whatever I wanted – what story would I tell?

Well, my choice would be simple. I would begin to share a story I had become all too familiar with and could recite at any moment – the one that I called my own. I’d begin by explaining how I’ve moved twelve times in my life. With each new house came a new set of memories, new feelings, a whole new world to be explored; but there was one thing I always valued the most. It was something that came with me through every move and every new direction in my life – my family.

Since change was a common theme within my household, I always clung to the one thing that would never leave. In doing so, I developed a personality trait that is most commonly referred to as “clinginess.” I avoided any and all places that did not involve or welcome my mother, I couldn’t survive a sleepover until the age of fourteen, and needless to say, I was definitely not begging to get involved in any sort of after-school activities. During this time, I also found myself without any friends to call my own. Being in a place like this was unexpected and unwanted, and I felt as though I had no way to change it.

This is the saddest part of my story. Though it was summarized in just a few sentences, it lingered on for what seemed like an eternity. Then things began to look up.

The year is now 2015, I’ve met friends at a church youth group and am happier than I’ve ever been. At this point in my story, I would begin to share the next chapter, starting with my 13th birthday party. It was here that a friend asked if she could bring her cousin from out of state along. This girl, who I never expected to see again after that night, ended up being a huge turning point in my life.

A few weeks prior, I had gotten involved in an after-school theater program called CYT. My friend’s cousin, who ended up moving across the country to a house right down the street from mine, heard about the program I was in and wanted to get involved as well.

Over the months we were in classes together, we formed a bond like I’d never experienced before. She was the one who pushed me to do my first show, Footloose. Something I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit is that I almost turned down doing the show because I was afraid. It was odd feeling this way again. This form of nervousness was something I hadn’t felt since the days before CYT; it had become unfamiliar. Although I was an entirely new person compared to when I was little, pieces of the old still remained. Though I was afraid to do the show, I was also determined to never fall back into the pit I had been in – so I went through with it.

It was the greatest experience of my life. I formed relationships with people I had assumed were unaware of my existence, made memories I would treasure forever, and found a place that I could truly call my second home. So this story I was sharing began to look up. After a few “aww’s” from the fictitious audience and some teary-eyed nods of recognition, I would then continue to the next part, where all the loose ends were finally tied together.

It was my second show week; a spring show, which, unbenounced to me at the time, is notorious for its emotional goodbyes. It was on the final day of shows when all the graduating seniors stood at the center of a giant circle formed by the cast members. Tears rolled down our cheeks as “You’ll Be In My Heart” played over the speakers. I was holding hands with those around me and crying over people I had never even met.

And that’s when it all clicked. I realized that the tears streaming down my cheeks weren’t because of the people or the sad music. It wasn’t because the show was ending or because I wouldn’t see my friends until the fall. No, I was crying because I was home. All of the searching, all of the times when I turned down big opportunities, all of the times I feared that maybe I would never find anyone, had all led up to this.

It was in that moment I realized that all the years I clung to my family were only leading me to the place where I would truly find them. And here they were. They didn’t look like how I pictured them. I wasn’t related to them. They didn’t look like my mom and dad, but instead more like me, all decked out in heavy stage makeup and unitards. They weren’t found within the walls of my house, but in a place that would soon become just as familiar.

CYT was something I never saw coming. But now that I look back on the days before it, I see how every second of my life had led me to this place where I was meant to be. My life had turned out to be one big story, full of plot twists, intricately connecting details, characters that were always there but had to await their cue to enter. It was a story that I’d imagined happened to other people but would always stay a work of fiction to me.
It’s a story that unfolded right before me and is one that continues to be written to this day. It contains some chapters I wish were never there, but I know that without them, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s one that I had tried to write in the past but was never able to quite figure out. It’s one that could only be written by the ultimate Author,
who knows the beginning, middle, and end before He even picks up a pen.

This story has become one that I’m proud of, one that still astonishes me every time I read it, and one that I will always treasure.

It was during my fourth show week that I was given a microphone and an empty stage, and had the task of sharing a story with every audience member that walked through the doors. It was something that came easily to me, for this elaborate story had already been written. It was mine, and now I just had to tell it.


*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2018 My CYT Story Competition. 

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2017 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner. 

My CYT Story: My Heart is Full

The following story was submitted by Madison C. from CYT Lafayette for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.


Madison & friends enjoying CYT Lafayette.

My very first CYT show was Annie Jr. I was 10 years old and I remember my very first audition. I sang “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music and I remember being very nervous. That weekend I also got my first callback as an orphan.

CYT Celebration!

CYT Celebration!

During the years of being in CYT, my parents got a divorce and it was very difficult. Being in CYT, in a Christian environment, and being around wonderful friends really helped me get through it. Also being in CYT grew me closer to God and helped me form a relationship with him.



As I entered high school, I was able to join the high school girls group. This occurs every Friday night after rehearsal. This is a place where girls can talk about real deep topics that one may not feel comfortable talking about in a co-ed group. Being in this group as well as HYPE has given me a chance to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. These girls have helped me through so much and I couldn’t thank them enough for it.

My girls.

My girls.

Without CYT in my life, I would be bored on weekends, lacking friends, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. So thank you to all of the founders and staff in CYT for making my life and my heart as full as can be.





Do you have a CYT story to share? Submit it here!

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2016 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner. 



My CYT Story: Sick Hook

This story was submitted from CYT Lafayette, as part of our 2016 My CYT Story Contest:


Hi! My name is Andrew Palmintier. I am 17 (going on 18) years old. I’ve been in CYT for around six years now (wow has it really been that long?!?) and I’m graduating this May. In six years and 13 shows, I have many, MANY stories about how CYT has shaped my life. I’ve made friendships I’ll treasure forever and memories I’ll never, ever forget.

One of my favourite stories is one I actually don’t really remember! Here’s what happened: We were doing Peter Pan at CYT Lafayette, and I had the opportunity to play my favorite Disney villain ever: Captain James Hook.


Captain James Hook.

As luck would have it, I came down with bronchitis and pneumonia during show week. I was sick as a dog and in some serious pain; but, I was determined to push through and rock the part! During show week, I, along with a number of others, were called to come to the theatre a week early to practice with the flying rigs and sword fighting.


The night before w opened, we were running the final dress rehearsal, and when we got to my death scene in which I jump off the plank, I landed wrong and badly twisted my ankle. I walked with a slight limp for the rest of the show. I trudged through it with the support of the parents, who constantly checked up on me, making sure I had a place to rest ( I fell asleep two times backstage one night!), had plenty of fluids and snacks, and all the support from my fellow cast mates.


I was terrified I was not going to be able to get through it, but my family (and by that I do mean my CYT family as well) was there for me every step of the way. And for that I will be eternally grateful.

Andrew from CYT Lafayette.

It’s one thing for people to support you when you’re at your best, but it’s quite another for them to help you get through your worst.

Do you have a CYT story to share? Submit it here!

*DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2016 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner. 

My CYT Story: Back off Bullies

The following story was submitted by Emma G. from CYT Lafayette as part of our #audition contest. Emma won an awesome #audition CYT t-shirt for her submission. Her story will also be entered in our 2016 My CYT Story Competition.


It was third grade, I was 8 years old, and transferring to a new school. At first I was really exited and a little nervous. I thought this new school was going to be like my old school, but it wasn’t. At my other school, everyone was friends, I mean EVERYONE. But, at this new school, everyone was separated into cliques. At first, all the third graders were fascinated by the “new kid”. Then, they figured out that my personality was a bit quirky and that I wasn’t athletic. Sadly, they all turned me down.

For a long time that year I had no friends. I sat by myself at lunch, and at recess I would just sit alone on the swing and watch the other kids play games and walk around in their groups. One day, when I sulked over to my usual spot, a girl was sitting in the swing I sat in everyday. I kept my head down and sat on the swing next to her. The girl looked me in the eye and said, “You have to move. That swing is saved for someone else.” I quickly walked away and accidentally bumped into another girl. She noticed my eyes were wet and asked me why I was crying. I explained to her my whole story and about how mean people were being to me. We became instant friends. Her name is Lillian D.

A couple of months passed, and one Friday, we decided to go see my cousin in  Aladdin. The play was AMAZING! I completely fell in love. After the play, my cousin invited me backstage. It was Chick-Fil-A day, so everyone was outside enjoying the weather. The first thing I noticed about these kids were there were no cliques. I was completely mesmerized. And every one was so nice to everyone. Some people even walked up and introduced themselves to me. As soon as I got home I told my mom, “I want to join CYT!” She looked me in the eye and said, “OK”. And that is when it all started.

I had my first classes the next Tuesday. I was super exited. I went to the building we had it in and waited in the lobby with everyone else. The first girl that walked up to me was a bubbly girl named Anna Grace. At first my social skills were a bit rough. But, I soon caught on and started making friends just in the lobby! That night in the drama class I was taking, I actually broke out my shell! I got to be myself and nobody cared. Everyone was accepting of everyone. That night when I left I was super happy, the happiest I had felt all year.

The next week I went to school and I did my same routine of classes, recess, etc. Then, in the middle of the day at our water break, I climbed up on the small stepping stool (I was still too short to reach without it) and started drinking water. Then, I heard from behind me, “Move it loser!” and a girl behind me jerked me off the water fountain. I got up and looked at her stunned. I think she was expecting me to cry or do something. Instead, I simply walked away. I felt happy, because I knew I had CYT that night.

Over the years I have been in 10 CYT shows and 11 sessions. After being in CYT, I started to make more and more friends at school! No one bullied me any more after third grade because I learned how to stand up for myself. One time, a girl looked at me and said, “Those earrings are so ugly I hate them.” Instead of being upset, I looked her in the eyes, smiled, and said, ”THANKS! OMG I GOT THEM AT CLAIRE’S!” The girl looked stunned and walked away. CYT taught me that I can be myself and not have to worry about all those bullies! If it was not for CYT, I would not be the person I am today! Thanks CYT, for everything!

Do you have a CYT story to share? Submit it here!

*DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2016 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.