My CYT Story: Spreading Joy

The following story was submitted by Katie T. from CYT San Antonio for our 2018 My CYT Story Contest.

Hi! My name is Katie T. and I have been a part of CYT San Antonio for six years! Before CYT, my life was actually pretty good. My view on the world, however, was meh. I actually don’t remember my first day at CYT, which makes me laugh a little, but what I want to talk about is the past year. Godspell. Our fall 2016 show. I honestly was not thrilled about doing this vague show in our small studio, but I auditioned and was privileged to be one of my first lead roles!


Rehearsals were a blast, but show week was when my life truly took a turn. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself. To everyone. All the time. I still do. But the first time we performed the show in costume and under the lights, the story of Jesus finally came together for me. I realized that He didn’t care if I sang as well as her or looked as good as her. He died on the cross so we would strive to look more like Him to share His love with others and eventually spend forever with Him.

Right then and there on stage, I felt a joy so indescribable and amazing and wonderful. Joy became my favorite word and I longed to share it.So I started a bible study for younger girls in CYT who might be facing the same things I did. Don’t get me wrong, I still compare myself and CYT isn’t a perfect place. But the entire world looks different because of what CYT gave me. It gave me a taste of the joy Christ offers and an outlet to use that joy and do what I love. Recently, I’ve gone through three really hard shows, all of which I learned something new about myself. Even more recently, I’ve preformed in three absolutely wonderful shows, all of which I learned something new about myself. I choreographed two summer camps, both of which I ADORED and learned something about myself.

Finally I came to the realization that CYT truly isn’t just a performance based company. “Building character one stage at a time.” I have seen that play out in my life so incredibly clearly. Thank you CYT for giving me my best friend. For giving me a family so close it’s awkward. For providing me opportunities to grow. And most of all, for showing me a glimpse of the incredible joy God has to offer. There are so many more things I could share about HYPE, Encore. Players, etc… but instead I pray that CYT will continue to impact kids who see life as meh. I pray that they will see that Christ calls us to live life abundantly. And that CYT will help them do that. I adore CYT with all my heart and can easily say I would not be me without it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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.

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: Always Encouraging

The following story was submitted by Micah M. from CYT San Antonio for our 2017 My CYT Story Contest.

When I joined CYT San Antonio in August 2015, I was in no way what you call an “actor” or “thespian.” I was sixteen years old and had never participated in any formal drama, musical, or artistic expression of any kind. My very first night I was excited, but nervous. I joined a group I would stick to for my first three show sessions: CYT Players.

The very first night of rehearsal set the tone of the journey I began with CYT: crazy and fun. Everyone in the cast was so friendly and encouraging in my first show, “Trouble at the CYT Talent Show”, (an interactive murder mystery musical dinner theatre), which I humorously refer to as “The Evil Better Cousin of High School Musical.” The process of preparation and the show itself was absolutely thrilling and a blast to be a part of, except that it was part musical and I had to sing a song (thankfully with a partner) because I wasn’t fully confident in my singing ability yet. I was no Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables or the dude who played Alexander Hamilton in “Hamilton.” It was fun though and I made new friends and found my love of drama, so I signed up for another class.

However, during the second show, I was a part of, “Peter-Wendy”, I felt a sort of disconnection from the cast. I felt like I was the odd man out, everyone knew each other except me. I understand this better now, however, since I’m an introvert and have a disorder that makes me struggle with social interaction (unless I know the person(s) very well). I finally shared my insecurities with the cast/my friends and they understood. They let me know I was loved by them and loved for who I am as a person. It took me some time to realize, but all my friends/CYT family love me just the way I am, just like God does.

After this, I participated in a condensed version of the play “30 Reasons Not To Be In a Play” and that show was hilarious and fun to be a part of. Later in July 2016, I did something I thought I would never do: I signed up for a CYT summer musical camp, for the show, “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.”. Everyone in the past was always asking if I would ever join in a musical, and when I finally did, everyone was so happy that I finally jumped in.

Being in a musical wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It was cool and fun just like making a play with the Players, just with singing and dancing. Granted, the process was just over a week, so I only developed a rough understanding of what the makings of a musical was, but it stretched me to a new place. It was after this and talking with my parents that I decided to try out for the Fall show, “Godspell.” This would be my first mainstage show with CYT. I auditioned, went to callbacks, and was cast in a role. It was after I started rehearsing with the cast and crew that I felt I truly understood what being in a musical was really like. I feel that Godspell is one of my favorite shows, not just because it was my first full mainstage musical and it was a fun process to do (which IT WAS!), but I grew in my acting, singing, and dancing skills and built better relationships with my cast mates/friends.

After months of long rehearsals and my very first Tech week, “Godspell” was finally upon everyone. However, during opening night, my throat was hurting, which I fought through. By the second day of shows, though, I felt awful, was running a fever, had partially lost my voice, and had to stay in bed during that night’s performance. Thankfully, by the next day I was feeling much better and participated in all the rest of the shows with everyone. Something that makes me very grateful and happy is that when I showed back up after being sick all the cast and crew asked how was I feeling and were visibly happy to see me back and ready to rock and roll in the show(s).

CYT has been such a blessing since I became a part of the group as I developed my gifts and skills and relationships. My instructor who has and still does make the biggest impact on my life while at CYT is Mr. Josh Scott. He has become like a second father to me and he is a person who knows me and loves me in a Christ-like manner. Mr. Scott has been an amazing influence in my life (Thank you, Mr. Josh). Then, there’s my amazing CYT family. I have so many brothers and sisters I have gained from CYT and am so grateful for all of them and love them all. I see the love of Christ in many of their eyes and thank them for all their encouraging words they’ve exchanged with me and positive influence in my life too (Thank you CYT family of CYT San Antonio-New Braunfels). Finally, I would like to thank CYT for providing the opportunity for young people to use their gifts and glorify God in the arts.

*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: A Musical of Friends, Anxiety, and Grandeur!

The following story was submitted by Margaret Ann O. from CYT San Antonio for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

Me, My Artistic Director Josh Scott and Breckin Murphy (2016)

Me, My Artistic Director Josh Scott, and Breckin M. (2016)

If my life were a musical, it would be grandeur! Tap numbers, shimmering costumes! Sad duets in fake rain with a redeeming full cast number that included a beautiful stage kiss before the waterfall fell upon a standing ovation. A musical full of over the top ideas and bad choices, but then redemption from those choices by the Grace of god.

My name is Margaret Ann*, I’m 15 years old and have a multitude of issues. Autistic disorder, depression, anxiety and over the years, I made some bad decisions. Its taken my friends, family and CYT to help me realize what God needs me to do.

My story begins in 2012 when I first joined CYT as a young, awkward fifth grader with an autistic disorder who knew basically nobody. I had done a few shows with another company before but I felt like a random face in the ensemble. I was friendly enough, I played, danced, sung and even landed a few lines and a solo in Annie Jr. as a Hoover-ite. My first show flew by so fast and before I knew it, I had apparently made such an impression, the director cast me in Little Mermaid Jr. as the Captain of the ship. (For those of you who don’t know, the Captain opens the show.)

Me and my friend Heather during Jungle Book (2009)

Me and my friend Heather during Jungle Book (2009)

At that same time, I was going through the personality switch that comes with exiting elementary school and entering middle school, and with my disorder, that made the change even worse. I have SPD, a sensory disorder that heightens my senses to the point where uncomfortable noises, textures and tastes could send me into a fit or anxiety attack. As an elementary student, I was bullied constantly. I don’t know why, but my big goofy blonde hair or pudgy build just made me the target of some of the worst bullies I’ve ever met. I was TERRIFIED middle school would be the same way. Sixth grade was fine until I got into an argument with a friend who decided to bad mouth me to the entire grade which triggered the WORST two years of my life. I made “friends” with people who only wanted me so i could “make them happy.” These people were not good friends. They dabbled in things that could have damaged my spiritual connection with god. When i tried to leave, my life became exponentially worse. Abandonment, verbal abuse, depression, anxiety, and thoughts that screwed up my world view. I truly felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I thought I had no friends. I was starting to give up but that’s when I realized something. CYT was where my friends were!

Me doing what I love most; cosplaying (2015)

Me doing what I love most; cosplaying (2015)

By this time, I had been in around 5 shows but I had been pulling away from the people. I had been in shows where overtime someone tried to make friends with me, I ignored or rejected them, but after my realization I threw myself back into CYT. My mom became board chair and I became active in a way I had never (been) before. I joined the improv team and met Alex, Cullen, Hunter, Mikey and Abby. Alex became my best friend, and by 2015 I had starred in 7 shows and attended CYT expo 2014 and 2015. My roles at CYT included mostly ensemble roles, but those were some of the most fun roles I’ve ever had.

Me and my best friend Alex Nunez (2015)

Me and my best friend, Alex (2015)

Now we open on New Braunfels once more and we see me, Maggie*, playing the main antagonist role in Bye Bye Birdie, attending one of the Top 10 art schools in the country and surrounded by amazing friends as well as attaining a stronger connection with God. My depression, SPD, and anxiety still rear their ugly heads, but with my friends and faith I can battle them easily in the years to come. In the next 3 years I’ll be with CYT I plan to only grow stronger in my abilities to act, sing, and dance. I plan to get into college and get my degree in photography and most of all, I plan to use the talents God gave to bring glory to Him and to my parents, who have never given up on me.

I love my CYT family, and if you had told me I would be surrounded with friends and family who loved me and supported me like CYT does, I would have not believed you. I could never have predicted CYT would become such a big part of my life. Boy, am I glad it did.

*Last name removed for online publication, to protect privacy of minor.

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. 

Make ’em Laugh! My CYT Story 2015 Finalist: Breckin Murphy, CYT San Antonio

Ever wanted to make people laugh, but you just couldn’t find the right joke? Or the right audience?

I’m Breckin Murphy, from CYT San Antonio, and I’m about to tell you My CYT Story. 

Breckin M.

Funny guy, Breckin M.

    My CYT story has given me a sense of humor in my life, and it has gotten me closer to God. I love CYT so much. I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Asperger’s is a type of Autism that makes you think and react differently. For instance, in the past, I got nervous when I was on a stage. I had trouble making friends and making jokes. I wanted to make people laugh so much.

     I was 12 when I first joined CYT. I was kind of nervous, because I didn’t know if the kids would be mean, or if all of the other kids would be too little for me to find friends. I was wrong. There were kids older than me, younger than me, and some about my age. The kids were nice to me as soon as I walked in, and they had good senses of humor. We all prayed together and helped each other. I found a place for me.

     First, I took a monologues class there, and I was kind of nervous and worried with that as well, but it turned out being great! I started my first play as a pirate named Mean Murphy in Peter Pan, Jr. When I first stepped on that stage, it felt like I was part of second family! It felt amazing, and I wanted to do more with CYT. I met lots of friends. Before long, I went to school one day feeling so confident with myself! I stepped in my school with memories of people in CYT that were funny and nice to me. I went through the halls of my school so happy.

     Soon, another show came; Seussical the Musical! I played a Shakespearean Who in the play, and I met up with the kids once again. This time, I took an improv class. That’s where my sense of humor came in. I tried to be funny. I got out of my shell, and I became an actor! Some of my jokes would not be funny, and some kind of make me blue, but I tried hard to make people laugh until their stomachs ached. Everyone was kind to me and we all were working on being funny. I felt so different!

     The last show I did was Aladdin. I played a guard. I got to sing solo lines and even improv some of my lines! I took an improv class again and met new people and learned even more. I look forward to coming to CYT every chance there is. I learn and laugh and get closer to God when I am at CYT.

     I love my CYT family so much. My sense of humor came from here and my confidence came from here. I want it to keep coming!