Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Excited About HYPE at the 2015 Expo


Thanks to National HYPE Director, Lydia Kinne, for the following info:

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Excited About HYPE at 2015 EXPO:

1. You will probably find your new best friend there.
Just ask Shannon Sullivan and TJ Simms who found each other & became “new best friends” at Expo 2014! No, but seriously – between late-night dance parties, teamwork challenges in half an hour or less, heart to heart convos, and early morning worship sessions, how can you NOT bond with someone who’s just as crazy as you??

2. You get to network.
I’m not referring to either the business elite scene or the dating scene here – I’m referring to you and all your fellow Vice Presidents from across the country (or Secretaries, Fundraisers, or other job you might have in HYPE) sitting down together and sharing your brilliant ideas with each other. This is THE best time to share with each other what works, what you’re struggling with in your area, and what you want to grow in. Come with a notebook ready to fill with ideas!

3. You get to put leadership in action.
This year’s Leadership Challenge at the Expo … well, your team will want to go big or go home, that’s all I can say! It will require courage, brains, heart, and – yes, hominess. You want to know more? Better come to Expo to find out!

4. You will hear from really cool guest speakers & workshop leaders
You will get to hear from specialty speakers from Lafayette, Indy, San Diego, and Spokane – people who are stoked about student leadership and will help you make more of a difference in your community!

5. You will learn more about …
… leading worship at CYT
… what true servant leadership looks like
… how to manage your time wisely, balancing HYPE with the rest of your life
… how to be an active listener
… how to break through the boundaries of cliques at CYT


6. Your own HYPE group will grow in unity.
There’s something about traveling somewhere with a group of people that makes them automatically grow closer. Maybe it’s the late-night laughing in hotel rooms … maybe it’s the fresh California air … maybe it’s just the magical aura that the CYT Expo exudes, but I predict your group will leave closer than it came.

7. You will see besties you’ve made at past Expos.
The CYT Expo is kind of like a giant family reunion where we get to reunite with people we only see once a year. And even if you’ve never been, you quickly come to find out that people from CYT are all alike … we’re all awkwardly closer than family no matter what part of the country we come from!

8. You get a chance to troubleshoot and get questions answered.
Is there something that your HYPE group seems to struggle with? Is there an area you feel like your group could become better at? The CYT Expo is the time to talk with HYPE leaders and get those questions answered! Set up lunch chat times with National HYPE Director, Lydia Kinne, or other HYPE Advisers from around the country to talk through ways your HYPE can grow!

9. You get to help formulate the vision for HYPE National for the 2015-16 Season.
A student leadership program should be driven by those in the program itself. There is some vision that comes from the National Director, and then there’s a lot of vision that comes from the students. Get ready to let your voice be heard at the Expo and share what you think HYPE should be doing next year across the country!

10. You will get very little sleep … and it will be completely worth it.
We only have three days to pack in all this and more … so be prepared to be a little exhausted! But also be prepared to make memories, stand up & take the charge of leadership, sing, dance, act, laugh, be vulnerable & share, and leave a better person than you came. You will not regret coming.


For more info on HYPE, please email Lydia at:

The Benefits of Arts in Education and CYT@school

4.7.15_NAMM post

CYT strongly supports the inclusion of arts in education. Click here to learn more about the CYT@school program.

As a mother of 2nd grader attending a public school in Seattle, WA, I regularly wonder about the arts education my daughter is (or is not) receiving at school. I’m blessed that my daughter’s school includes of a community of arts-minded parents who volunteer their time and knowledge to the students, to ensure that the arts are included in their educational experience, regardless of district funding and staffing. I’ve even had the pleasure of being able to direct the last two plays at her school (cast size: approx 130!). I witness first hand the joy and community that the arts inspire at my daughter’s school. However, I know that this privilege is not afforded to many, many schools & communities in our country. I lament that all children don’t have these opportunities. Sadly, arts in education is still viewed by many as a non-essential element for education and consequently, receives inadequate funding. But, some groups are working to change that perception.

This past January,The LA Times posted on the National Assn. of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim, CA. In their article, they reported on the benefits of arts in education. They stated:

Though topics at the National Assn. of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim most often trend toward musicians, musical instruments and how they interact, one panel at the annual industry gathering tilted in a decidedly socially conscious direction. (…)

(D)uring a presentation on the benefits of intensive arts education for students at eight of the nation’s lowest performing public schools (….) The results of a two-year study were unveiled Thursday, and the numbers demonstrated dramatic improvement in academic performance — not just in math, science and reading, but also in improved attendance rates and significant reductions in disciplinary problems reflected in reduced suspension and expulsion statistics at more than half of the schools.

Among the study’s key findings: Students in the eight schools that incorporated arts programs into their regular curricula exhibited an average 22.6% increase in math proficiency and a 12.6% improvement in reading proficiency. Those figures exceeded increases in the their districts as a whole (20.1% and 7.9%, respectively), and were markedly higher than other schools in their states receiving federal school improvement grants (SIG), at 16.2% and 5.6% respectively.

(Please click here to read the rest of this inspiring article from

At CYT, we also strongly believe in the value of arts in education. We are deeply committed to serving all children through the arts, including when they are at school. One way that we do so is through our CYT@school program. Here is an excerpt from our CYT@school Mission Statement:

Many schools have had to cut their arts programs. CYT@school is dedicated to bringing to your school a low-cost, after school program developed to support the performing arts training in public and private schools. Research has shown that performing arts helps students gain confidence, build leadership skills and develop a sense of community. CYT wants to ensure that students everywhere have an opportunity to experience theater arts.

Our CYT San Diego affiliate currently serves 30+ schools with their successful CYT@school program. Click here to learn more about CYT@school and see if it’s right for your school. If you are interested in starting up a CYT@school program in your school, email: for more information.

It is our hope that eventually arts will be seen an a necessity in education rather than just a “perk.”

8 Reasons to Work for CYT – by Sarah Preston, CYT Santa Cruz


About the Author: Sarah Preston started with CYT Santa Cruz in the spring of 2012. Since then, she has Stage Managed multiple productions, coached Improv, taught class and CYT@School, coordinated summer camps, assisted in fundraising, and serves as HYPE Advisor.

After 10 years of working with kids, I can honestly say I have never been more challenged and inspired than during my time with CYT Santa Cruz. It has changed the way I think about kids, artistry, families, and ministry.

Here are my 8 Reasons to Work for CYT

1. CYT makes you laugh

Once at auditions, an 18 year old (improv kid of course) sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” as his audition song. His final verse?

If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and want a creepy way to show it
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink

I always cherish moments like this because the kids remind me not to take things so seriously. So often I can get wrapped up in the craziness of shows, classes, CYT@School, HYPE etc that I forget about the real reason I work for CYT: to serve God by serving kids. When a kid tells a funny joke or makes a funny face, it awakens the Child-loving Holy Spirit inside my heart.

2. The kids give you perspective.

As HYPE Advisor, I try to encourage critical thinking during our meetings. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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)