Q&A with CYT Indy’s Artistic Director Tyler Hutchinson

To know him is to love him. Tyler Hutchinson is the (new-ish) Artistic Director for CYT Indianapolis, and he recently sat down with me to talk about how he became a part of the CYT family, the scope of his job, and his big dreams (which are both centered around animals). Intrigued? Read on!

You’re the new Artistic Director for CYT Indy. How did that opportunity come about?

CYT Indy had an amazing Artistic Director before myself, Angela Manlove. She was amazing. However the Lord called her and her husband to Boston. Upon her departure, the position became available and gratefully the Board of Directors felt that I was the best fit for the job after reviewing my resume and my involvement with CYT students and families.

What did you do prior to coming on at CYT?

Locally, I was a director for high schools and other independent groups. I also worked for a company where I traveled the country auditioning and developing talented actors, models, singers, and dancers that have a desire to perform for God. It kept me pretty busy, and to be honest…I was on a plane every weekend going to a new city. I actually still do it every now and again, just not as much.

Tyler with the CYT Indy Tour Group singing the national anthem at an Indiana Fever Basketball

Tyler with the CYT Indy Tour Group singing the national anthem at an Indiana Fever Basketball

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HYPE students are taking action this fall!

There are a million reasons to love HYPE. They’re CYT teens from around the country who are dedicated to pursuing excellence by taking on leadership roles and getting involved in the community around them. And now, their HYPE passion is about to explode all over the country this fall! Which give us all the more reason to love them to bits.

HYPE students from CYT Spokane

HYPE students from CYT Spokane

Following the 2014 CYT EXPO, the HYPE students have been proactive by following up with the ideas that they discussed in July. Students have been creating collaborative groups on Facebook for their different jobs, and have been sharing ideas with one another about what they are doing in their HYPE groups. They have been sharing pictures of their retreats and fall kick-offs, and have shown an overall enthusiasm for leading and growing in their specific areas.

CYT Santa Cruz

CYT Santa Cruz

A huge shout-out to Sean Grossnickle’s awesome idea of casts writing letters to one another – either to a cast in another area who’s doing the same show or a cast performing the same weekend. Although he encouraged HYPE groups to spearhead the letter writing, it’s open for any and every CYT area that wants to participate. 

CYT Houston

CYT Houston

It’s so cool that the students are being innovative and sparking movements among the CYT groups. This is exactly the vision that was set for them at the Expo, and it’s so encouraging to see it take form!

Find out more about HYPE and how you can get involved HERE

A glowing review for CCT’s Les Misérables

The below review on Christian Community Theater’s (CCT) Les Misérables was published in The East County Californian. If the article doesn’t give you happy chills, then the below promo video will.

You still have four chances to see the show: July 30 – 31 & Aug 1-2. Yesssss! Tickets available HERE.

Les Misérables engages and amazes audiences with stellar performance

Les Misérables cast dreamed a dream in a time gone by. Three hours time to be specific. And the time went by too fast.

From start to finish, the musical was engaging. This cast was faced with big shoes to fill, as this is a story line of large magnitude as well as literary significance. The shoe fit perfectly. Their paramount performance brought laughs, tears and sighs to a large, expectant crowd. 

Each member, both lead and supporting, exhibited an amazing dedication throughout the duration of the play. Never breaking face and continuing to act in the background were small acts of commitment that paid off big. 

It was as if every character cast could not have been played more significantly by any other. As an experienced performer, Matthew Posner played the lead role of Jean Valjean. The time progression throughout the musical and his ability to believably act according to each different year clearly showed his capabilities as a performer. Valjean’s character’s difficult but admirable journey was portrayed perfectly in the hands of this actor. The juxtaposition between him and Jon Thuerbach’s character Javert, who is set on finding the escaped Valjean and enforcing the law, is a relationship that’s intricate nature of crime and punishment is seamlessly developed and presented by the two.

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Top 10 Longest Running Broadway Shows

Have you ever seen a show on Broadway? It’s quite magical. For some shows, you can take your time heading to NYC to see it since it will likely be playing well into the future. For others, time is of the essence.

Most Broadway shows have open-ended runs, meaning that the length of time the production plays is not set beforehand. It all comes down to ticket sales, which are determined by critical response, word of mouth, and the effectiveness of the show’s advertising.  

I came across the below infographic that shows the top 10 longest running Broadway shows and thought it was pretty interesting. We missed our chance to see Les Miserables (dang!), but Phantom of the Opera is still going strong (they recently just celebrated their 11,000th performance).

Sidenote/good news: CCT is putting on Les Miserables atop Mt Helix this summer. There’s hope for us all! Get tickets here.


  1. Phantom of the Opera
  2. Cats
  3. Chicago
  4. Les Miserables
  5. The Lion King
  6. A Chorus Line
  7. Oh! Calcutta!
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Rent
  10. Mamma Mia!
  11. (Photo credit)

Buzz around CCT returning to Mount Helix with ‘Les Miserables’

The below article was recently published in Refreshed Magazine. Tickets are now on sale for ‘Les Miserables’ and can be purchased HERE.

The stage for ‘Les Miserables’ is being built for Mount Helix’s amphitheater.

The stage for ‘Les Miserables’ is being built for Mount Helix’s amphitheater.

Travis Russell was just a kid when his parents, founders of Christian Community Theater, hosted summer musicals under the stars atop Mount Helix’s amphitheater.

“It feels magical,” he said of the outdoor performances.

Long considered a crown jewel of East County, the amphitheater and cross, constructed by the Yawkey family in 1925, was deeded to the county as a public park four years later. At 1,370 feet, the park, which has hosted Easter sunrise services for decades, is known as much for its 360-degree views and its towering 35-foot cross.

“We acquired some footage, old black-and-white, of the cross being constructed,” he said. “It was amazing to see the community coming together and building a space they loved. It made me proud to be able to carry on the tradition of being part of a community.”

But the summer drama tradition was threatened in 2005 when several Mount Helix neighbors sued CCT over noise complaints. Although the theater ministry ultimately won the lawsuit, it spent $90,000 in legal fees.

“Then the same neighbors complained about parking and that increased our cost of buses to the point where it cost us more for buses than putting on the production,” said Travis’ father, Paul Russell who, with his wife Sheryl, launched CCT with a 1980 production of “The Sound of Music” at the amphitheater.

In 2011, after 26 years of presenting as many as three shows a summer, CCT ceased its Mount Helix shows, instead using the USS Midway and the Lincoln Performing Arts Center to present its popular San Diego Follies and the Traditions of Christmas.

On July 17, though, the tradition returns to Mount Helix when CCT presents the popular “Les Miserables.” The show runs through Aug. 2, with dark days on July 21, 22, 28 and 29. The Russells decided to resume the mountaintop show after officials with the Mount Helix Park Foundation invited them back.

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The CYT Tour Company has a busy summer planned!

tour1The CYT Tour Company brings CYT to the community in smaller settings and for a variety of occasions, and this year’s cast represents five CYT areas in all of San Diego! And let me tell you, they are in FULL EFFECT this summer.

Performances include:
Disneyland, California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, The San Diego County Fair, CYT Summer Camps, Pre-Shows for Les Miserables and more!

We are proud of this great array of talent gathered by an intense audition and selection process. Their summer show’s theme this year is “Imagine… Dream… and FLY!”

Be sure to catch their performance at the DCA’s!




CYT Expo: It’s all in the family

The CYT Expo is less than three weeks away! As we continue the countdown, CYT co-founder Sheryl Russell shares her thoughts on what the Expo means to her and why she’s so excited to see you in Houston.

Sheryl (center) with CYT leadership at the 2011 Expo.

Sheryl (center) with CYT leadership at the 2011 Expo.

The CYT “awkwardly closer than family” gathers once a year at EXPO to celebrate our accomplishments, to learn new best practices, to encourage each other, and to just have fun. We also have our national Improvathon competition, HYPE training, and this year we’ve added student activities.

Technology had helped us in so many ways… Email, texting, FB, Instagram, Dropbox, iPhone & on & on. But there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation. EXPO allows us to look each other in the eyes & listen with our hearts.

I think one of the greatest benefits to attending EXPO is mentioned in Philippians 2:1-2 Living Translation:

Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up? Do you love me enough to want to help me? Does it mean anything to you that we are brothers in the Lord, sharing the same Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic at all? Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose.

We definitely cheer each other up…it’s amazing to watch the Affiliates sharing ideas with each other and going the extra mile to make sure that not only is their program successful but all Affiliates are successful. It is about helping each other… learning from our wins and our failures. We share the same Spirit… we love God and we love people… we celebrate Christ’s gift of life to us. As a nation we have rallied with tender hearts to support those who have lost loved ones.

As a parent, one of my greatest joys is having my children and grandchildren together at in the same place at the same time. I believe EXPO brings the CYT family together in one place at one time. EXPO is a time to get our “emotional tanks” full as well as the opportunity to reenforce the “CYT Model”. We are a unique entity and it’s very reaffirming that we have our own “normal” when we are all together.

I had a CYT Mom share with me recently that she thought her daughter might be a little different and then she joined CYT. She saw kids who were exactly like her daughter and was over joyed and realize they had found their “like-minded” community.

Excited to see everyone and give and get the CYT hugs!!!

Get details about registration HERE.