God and Hamilton – EXPO Speaker’s Book Release!

We absolutely cannot wait to hear from our 2018 EXPO morning speaker, Kevin Cloud, author of God and Hamilton! And guess what? His book releases TODAY for pre-orders! Not only that, but Kevin has a special bonus just for our CYT family. Check it out!!

Dear Christian Youth Theater Family,

Greetings! My name is Kevin Cloud, author of God and Hamilton: Spiritual Themes From the Life of Alexander Hamilton & the Broadway Musical He Inspired. I am so excited to be joining you in San Diego for the CYT Expo this June as the morning devotional speaker!

I can’t wait to get to know some of you and share some thoughts from my book, which identifies spiritual truths from the smash Broadway hit, Hamilton, that will transform our lives.

I wanted to let you know that my book, God and Hamilton, has just been made available for pre-order on amazon.com. I am offering some exciting bonus give-aways for anyone who pre-orders the book.

Bonuses Include:
  • 30-Day God and Hamilton Devotional Guide E-Book
  • Exclusive Podcast Interview with Hamilton cast member Lauren Boyd
  • Free download of God and Hamilton Companion Song “The Soul Ascending Into Bliss” (words by Alexander Hamilton, Music by John McKenna)

I hope some of you pick up the book. Get the book here. Can’t wait for the Expo!

– Kevin Cloud


ps. To claim the bonus materials, simply email your amazon receipt to godandhamilton@gmail.com.

Find Kevin on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @kevincloudkc. We can’t wait to hear from him at EXPO! Not registered yet? Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out. Sign up today!

Tuesday Crew Day – Meet your Improvathon Crew!

Crew Days are our favorite Tuesdays. This week, we’re introducing you to your Improvathon Crew!

Meet Hannah Taraschke from Fredericksburg, VA, and Gabe Bates from San Diego, CA! These two Crew interns are going to rock EXPO with Riley Taylor, our radical Improvathon Director (who is back for year two!). They’ve both been to plenty of EXPO’s, and it just so happens that their favorite EXPO memories are both from 2015! Read on to learn more about Hannah and Gabe.

How did you start with CYT, and how long have you been involved?

HannahI saw CYT’s production of Seussical when I was 12 years old and ever since that moment I have been hooked on CYT! I was a student for 6 years and I have been working for CYT as an improv coach, stage manager, and camp director ever since I graduated.


Gabe: I started CYT@school when I was 8, and did my first “big” CYT show when I was 11 and participated in 20 shows until I aged out.

Top two musicals of all time and why?

Hannah: I love Hairspray because of the fun dancing and Tracy is the most iconic character of all time! I also love You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown because the music is so beautiful and it’s just so sweet and funny.

Gabe: Number 2 – Heathers because it has great music, a great story, and discusses teenage issues such as peer pressure and mental health. Number 1 – Newsies because it is a story near and dear to me and it’s a show that let’s young men know that theatre isn’t just for girls.

What’s your favorite memory from a past EXPO?

Hannah: It’s almost impossible to pick just one, but one of the most beautiful moments for me was at the 2015 EXPO. I was a student and a member of my improv team got a call from his family saying that his grandma just passed away. We all prayed together and we were so shaken up. But we all worked together and decided to still go on stage to perform at the finale. And it was one of the most magical improv experiences I have ever had.

GabeIn 2015 I was in CYT Tour Company and we performed and later got a chance to meet other students from other affiliates.

What are you most excited about for this year’s EXPO?

Hannah: I can’t wait to affirm and love on the students just as the leaders and crew members did for me when I was a student! I’m also excited to see some fierce improv!!

GabeGetting to see other students from other states compete in improv and getting to meet other interns from other locations.

Those are our Crew Interns for the 2018 EXPO Improvathon. Check back every other week to meet more of our Crew, or read some of our past posts to get to know our Student and HYPE track crew! If you’re not registered for EXPO yet it’s not too late – get registered today!


Tuesday Crew Day – Meet your Student Track Crew!

It’s once again Tuesday Crew Day and this week we’re introducing our Crew for the CYT EXPO 2018 Student track!

This year we have two Crew Bosses on the Student Track. Meet Tyler Tafolla and Danny LaPointe! These guys are pros and have been involved with CYT San Diego for years, both on stage and behind the scenes. Tyler and Danny will be assisting this year’s Student Director, Kara List from CYT Fredericksburg! Read on to get to know your Crew Bosses!

What are some fun facts about you?

Tyler Tafolla

Tyler: I graduated college with my BFA in Musical Theatre last summer, I wrote a musical called “Scott Robbins and the Traveling Show”, and I worked as a performer at Sea World for the last 7 years. I met Larry the Cable Guy once at a party. He did the Mater voice for me. It was awesome. Also, I make really convincing dinosaur noises.

Danny LaPointe


DannyI love archery because it’s fun and it makes me feel powerful, my best friend is my 4 month old niece, and I’m American, Canadian, and I was born in South Africa.



What are your top two musicals and why?

Tyler: “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Little Shop of Horrors”. Drowsy was the first show I ever saw on Broadway. I was in 6th grade and couldn’t stop laughing. I’m a huge fan of puppetry and am a puppeteer myself. Watching the plant sing in Little Shop is always exciting for me.

DannyNewsies because my childhood was basically built watching Christian Bale dance to Seize the Day. And The Lion King because how could you not love grown adult men dressed as rhinos dancing down the aisles?


What is your favorite memory from a past EXPO?

Tyler: I have always been a fan of Improvathon! I use to compete in the San Diego teams and I just love watching improv. It is definitely a highlight of my summer.

DannyLast year, during the screening of Newsies a bunch of students stood at the back of the room and danced along with choreography they had learned in their own affiliates. It warmed my heart.

When you’re not at EXPO having the time of your life, what do you do?

TylerI’m a working actor living in Los Angeles. I am a writer and musician as well. You can find me playing in local coffee shops in North Hollywood. I just recently performed in a staged reading of the musical that I wrote and am currently working on producing a full production in Los Angeles by the end of this year!

Danny: Well, since I graduated from college last May, I’ve just been seizing opportunities where I feel I can help others and share God’s love, so this year I’ve been living in Indiana helping take care of my baby niece and I’m loving every second of it. Next year, I’m hoping to get a job at either Compassion International or Mount Hermon (a year round Christian camp) 🙂

What are you most excited about for this year’s EXPO?

Tyler: I love getting to know people from all different CYT affiliates. Making connections and growing the CYT Family is always the most rewarding part of Expo.

Danny: I am very excited for building the stage and set for expo on the first day, because that’s when I can bring my own tools and impress all of the cyt dads with the fact that I own my own drill and vaguely know about building things. That is the honest truth.  

There you have it, our Crew Bosses for the 2018 EXPO Student Track. Check back every other week to meet more of our Crew! If you’re not registered for EXPO yet it’s not too late – get registered today!



Tuesday Crew Day – Meet your 2018 EXPO Crew!

For the next few weeks, every other Tuesday is now dubbed “Tuesday Crew Day“. Why? Because those days we’ll be introducing you to your 2018 CYT EXPO Crew!

2017 Crew

Since 2014, the EXPO Crew began as one person helping out here and there. Last year, there were 5 Crew members from various affiliates. Now, we have 12 members representing 8 different CYT affiliates from across the nation!

This totally rad group of people are helping make EXPO happen. They’re the ones giving you a tour of the hotel, cleaning up after meals, setting up CYT Ninja Warrior, greeting you at the ballroom doors every morning, and getting you pumped to be at EXPO! It takes a certain kind of person to be on the CYT EXPO Crew, and these people are top-notch.

Now. For your 2018 CYT EXPO Crew!! Here’s a quick introduction, but we’ll get to know them better over the next few weeks.

Crew Bosses – Danny LaPointe, Jensen Kirkendall, Kristina Sims, Donavon Potter, Scott Worley, and Tyler Tafolla!

These guys are pros. If you were at EXPO last year, you totally saw them hanging around being awesome. We’ll have some fun questions and pictures to share later so you can get to know them again!

Crew Interns – Alex Redd , Gabe Bates, Hannah Taraschke, Kalla Mort, Ryan Ramsower, and Tim Chapman!

These interns are the bomb. They haven’t been on the Crew before, but they are no strangers to CYT or EXPO! Be on the lookout for our upcoming posts so you can meet them! Maybe they’re from your CYT!!

Well, that’s all we have for now. Check back every other Tuesday for our latest Tuesday Crew Day post! Seriously you guys, these people are the best. We can’t wait for EXPO!! If you’re not registered yet, Register Now! Prices go up Thursday, March 1!





Throwback Thursday – 5 Favorite EXPO 2017 Moments

What a whirlwind. Somehow it’s already January 2018, kids are back in school, and CYT winter sessions are well underway. But today we’re throwing it back to June 2017 when the sun was hot, school was out, and we spent the best four days of the entire summer at the 2017 CYT EXPO!

Last year about 200 students, 120 leaders, and 110 spectators from all across the nation came together in sunny San Diego to “Seize the Day”. Throughout all leadership training sessions, theatre Master Classes, meal times, and activities, here’s a brief look back at 5 of our favorite EXPO 2017 moments.


The photo booth is always a hit and let me tell you, theater kids sure know how to take entertaining pictures. Popular themes include (but are not limited to): pictures with food; spelling CYT with arms; funny faces; dramatic scenes. Don’t worry, the photo booth will be back for 2018!

Find your pictures from the photo booth here! 



Speaker, author, and CYT Chicago alum Jon Jorgenson performed several spoken word pieces and shared how performing can be used to influence people and change lives. He also led a workshop and spent time just hanging out with the students and leadership!

Want to see what Jon’s working on next? Follow his facebook page and subscribe to his YouTube channel!



Who doesn’t love a good laugh? The Improvathon teams train every year for several sessions before coming to EXPO, and their hard work definitely shows! Congrats again to the 2017 Improvathon Finalists – CYT San Diego‘s “Yoda King of New York” and “Newsboyz II Men” – and the 2017 Improvathon Champions, CYT Kansas City‘s “Black and White and Rad All Over”!


4 – PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899

Dressing like a newsboy, watching the Broadway recording of Newsies, and dancing the night away with 200 of friends? That is definitely an example of seizing the day! What kind of radical opening night party will we have this year??



Each morning we had some awesome worship led by CYT alum, students, and friends, but one morning was a little different from the rest. Due to another event taking place next door, we moved our worship outside and had an acoustic set to start off the day! It was definitely a hit. Maybe we’ll have an acoustic set again?

CYT EXPO 2017 was a blast! I know, this post probably made you miss it. But don’t worry, your chance to “be radical” at the 2018 CYT EXPO is coming up fast! Registration opens on February 1!! Get stoked!



Hey Ho EXPO – Meet Scott Smith!

Scott Smith, college pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church, will be joining us at EXPO for our Morning Devotions! Keep reading to get to know more about him!

Hey Everyone Coming to CYT EXPO!

Cards on the table right away, I’ve made my kids watch Newsies with me twice this month in preparation to be with you all in just a few weeks – which basically makes me Dad of the Year – Ha!  Seriously, we are so excited to be with you all at CYT EXPO this year, as we learn what it means to Seize the Day in our lives.

A few things you need to know before we meet in just a few weeks.

1) My wife is RAD, simple as that. And she is a Rockstar CYT Teacher (I’m biased, but she is)  

2) Our kids are the BEST of us! Our daughter, Hope, is already a CYT kid, and our son, Silas, tries to sing every song he can while substituting the word “poop” as often as possible – he’s a three year old boy, so…. 

3) I am praying for you. I really am. In fact, we, the Smiths, are praying for you. EXPO is a first for me, as I’m sure it is for some of you, and we are excited for the week! 

4) We are going to get real. Life is quick, and Love is crucial. So, we are going to look at what Jesus says about Seizing the Day together and how we can follow His Lead in becoming the change we want to see.

OK, we’ve got Mission Bay, awesome programming, food, fun, workshops, friends (old, new and soon-to-be), music and of course our nationwide CYT family coming together in just a few weeks.  So get pumped!  Stoked to meet you all at EXPO!

Singing the wrong words to Newsies songs all month – driving my wife crazy,


Who, What, Wear – EXPO 2017!

Hello, CYT! It’s Rachael Baciocco (ChocoTaco) with the Who, What, and Wear of EXPO 2017!! EXPO is only 15 days away, so I’m sure you’re wondering about all the exciting details we have planned. I’ll let you in on a few, but we have to save some of the fun for EXPO!


WHO: EXPO is for YOU! Are you 12 or older? Are you a CYT Teacher? Area Coordinator? Parent? Student? Whatever your role, you are invited! Registration is still open, so get signed up here!

WHAAAAAT?? We’ve got prizes, food trucks, CYT Ninja Warrior, and MORE! Here’s a quick sneak peek at the “what” of EXPO 2017!

Win awesome prizes from our Opportunity Drawings! (items include Apple watch, iPad mini, gift cards, free EXPO 2018 Registration, and more!)

Remember those delicious food trucks? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, “That’s What Cheese Said” is back, along with other returning trucks AND some new ones!! This year we have a couple of different trucks coming each night! We have a wide variety of options, including Organic Food Truck, Epic EatsHana Hou to Go, and Cucina Caprese Monaco. Check them out! You can purchase food truck vouchers at the Info Table for $13!



CYT Ninja Warrior?! Whaaaattttt?? Get a team of Newsies together and compete to see which team can Carry the Banner from Start to Finish the fastest!! We have the course posted on our Facebook page, along with the descriptions to each station. Take a look and start training with your fellow Newsies for CYT Ninja Warrior!!

WEAR: Each day of EXPO we wear our CYT Swag loud and proud. Here’s what the CYT EXPO Staff will be wearing each day, so why not “twin” with the staff? Make sure you pack these items, or if you don’t have them you can buy them at EXPO at a special EXPO discount!


Tuesday: We’re wearing our CYT EXPO Staff shirts, so come decked out in your Affiliate’s gear to represent your group! Make sure you bring some Newsies attire too though…Tuesday night we’re going to “Party Like it’s 1899”!

Wednesday: Wear your CYT Tank and/or your CYT Trucker Hat! Remember those cool retro tanks we released at the 2015 EXPO? Well they’re back, and in fun colors! You had the chance to purchase them in green or teal, and now you can get them in black or pink! Add them to your CYT Swag collection at EXPO!



Thursday: Time to pull out the good old “I HEART CYT” shirts. We’re wearing those on Thursday! Wear your I HEART shirt and tell the world you love CYT!



Friday: What’s your favorite piece of CYT Swag? Get dressed Friday morning wearing your favorite CYT shirt/hat/accessory!

And THAT, my friends, is the Who, What, and Wear of CYT EXPO 2017! Get your Swag, get excited, and get ready to Seize the Day at CYT EXPO 2017!