A CYT exclusive interview with the star of Broadway’s Aladdin!

Get ready because this is the probably the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.

CYT NYC recently interviewed Adam Jacobs who plays Aladdin on Broadway (yes, actual Broadway). They originally filmed the interview to show to CYT students in New York who were doing an Aladdin Workshop as their Fall class. But it was just too awesome to not share with the entire CYT world.

Adam is friends with CYT NYC’s Artistic Director Carrie Cooper from their NYU days (lucky!), and he invited her into his dressing room (on actual Broadway) to do the interview.

You’ll love it, take a look!

Obviously a super duper huge thanks goes to Adam for taking the time to do this, and to Carrie for going to NYU and becoming friends with people who go on to perform on actual Broadway.

CYT Tucson getting some press for The Addams Family!

CYT Tucson is premiering The Addams Family on October 17th, and they’ve been making press rounds in anticipation of the opening.

Members of the cast were recently featured on a morning talk show in Tucson. Check them out in the video below!

Tickets for The Addams Family can be purchased HERE.

Meet the #Beineke family

The following blog post was written by the CYT San Diego (North County Inland) Area Coordinator Katrina DeRoche. And if you’re in the mood to read truly beautiful insights on the pseudo-families that CYT creates, then today is your lucky day.

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Meet the Beineke Family. That’s mom (Alice) & Dad (Mal)…eldest son Lucas is wearing the glasses and the twins are snuggled in there. This little family is one of the reasons I love CYT.

Their names are fictional, but their connection is not. They are the CYT kids playing the Beineke Family in North County Inland’s production of The Addams Family. Watching them bond over the last four weeks has been amazing.  And the beauty of it is that this is a pretty common occurrence. Our kids just love being together no matter their age differences. In fact, I think the range of ages is actually the draw.

In the case of the Beineke family, things started normal enough. Our teens and younger sect often co-mingle. The Beinekes started out doing the usual things like playing games together on their phones and creating their own hashtag on Instagram (#Beineke). Then, I noticed them sitting together while other kids were doing scene work… and eating their meals together… and posing for ‘family portraits’. The smallest Beineke runs into the arms of his 6’6 sophomore ‘Dad’ upon entering the room every rehearsal. The twins cuddle up with ‘Mom’. I’ve watched Lucas and Dad try and get the twins to say who is their favorite… and they care! It’s hilarious and amazing all at the same time.

Lots of folks would instantly think about how lucky the younger kids are to get that kind of attention from teens, but I think of how much our teens love the invitation to still play. I think about how good it must feel for them to have someone hang on their every word. They feel valued.

You see, school can be rough. High school is full of social stress and posturing. Here at CYT, we create a space where students ages 8-18 can interact and build real relationships. They can be themselves… wacky and loving at the same time. We create a supportive environment where the teens can lead prayer one day and then be led in prayer by a nine-year-old the next. What’s better than that? To me, nothing. #CYTfamily


You can see the Beineke family in action in The Addams Family, which runs Oct 25 – Nov 2 (Tickets & info HERE).

Two performances of CYT NYC’s Seussical Jr sponsored by local non-profit

The students in CYT NYC‘s production of Seussical Jr! got to take part in a very special day thanks to St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters. The local non-profit food pantry and shelter in NYC sponsored two performances of the CYT production and sent two children’s groups, Figure Skating in Harlem and Dream Charter School, to attend the Dr. Seuss-themed show.

What a blessing for everyone involved!

Below is a picture collage from the write-up that StFFP recently published about their festive day.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 3.47.50 PM Check out what else CYT NYC is up to by going their website or visiting them on Facebook!

What a CYT Director wants you to know about Auditions

The below post was written by Heather LaForge, CYT Inc’s multitasking Director of Operations and CYT San Diego show director. Enjoy!

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As each new CYT session approaches, students across the country scramble, frantically trying to choose that perfect audition song. Your mind brims with questions. Does it fit my vocal range? Does it align with the show? Can I demonstrate my acting abilities through it? Nerves run high and dreams get stressful as students await…dun-dun-dun…audition day.

Students, did you know that your directors are feeling many of the same emotions as you? Audition day is just as nerve-wracking to us! For months we are thinking, pondering, wondering how we will do this show. Scripts are read over and over again. Cuts are made. Question marks riddle the score. And all this is done in anticipation of just who will be cast in these roles.

You see, there’s so much work to be done in preparation for a show. But until we know who is cast, we can’t really visualize what the show will be. Then auditions arrive and we are greeted by you all. You all who are filled with nerves and excitement. You all who are praying desperately that God would calm you enough so you don’t get weird nervous shaky voice. You all who remind us so much of ourselves when we were your age but of whom we think they are so much braver, better, stronger than I ever was.

The secret, friends, is that while you are desperately trying to appear calm, so are we. The big smile we give you is real. Because we have had those dreams where literally no one shows up to auditions and we are left to cast our own gerbil as the role of Annie. So when you are there in front of us, with your brave voice, and strong character, and (hooray!) you can pirouette too, we are thrilled. Because with your talent and eagerness, and our guidance, this show will go on.

I’m looking forward to my auditions next week. Praying for all of you as you prep your songs across this country; and I’m praying for all you directors too.

CYT Phoenix is the winner of 4 National Youth Arts Awards!

Get ready to be thoroughly impressed.

CYT Phoenix was recently nominated for 14 National Youth Arts Awards (14!) and walked away winning 4 for their production of Once Upon a Mattress. We are so incredibly proud of their achievements!

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Here is a full list of their nominations and awards:

Nominations

Outstanding Production: Once Upon a Mattress
Lead Actor in a Musical: Steven Meythaler as Oliver Warbucks in Annie
Lead Actress in a Musical: Cadence Lamb as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie
Lead Actress (Junior Division): Jordan Mazarati as Annie in Annie
Supporting Actor in a Musical: Jacob Roberts as King Sextimus in Once Upon a Mattress
Supporting Actress in a Musical: Madi Fagerlie as Grace Farrell in Annie
Supporting Actress in a Musical: Cadence Lamb as Miss Hannigan in Annie
Supporting Actress in a Musical: Rebekah Patton as Larken in Once Upon a Mattress
Supporting Actress in a Musical: McKenna Roberts as Queen Aggravain in Once Upon a Mattress
Outstanding Ensemble: Annie
Direction: Tambra Lamb for Once Upon a Mattress

Awards

Lead Actor in a Musical: Cameron Kessner as Dauntless in Once Upon a Mattress
Lead Actress in a Musical: Cadence Lamb as Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress
Outstanding Ensemble: Once Upon a Mattress
Choreography: Tambra Lamb for Once Upon a Mattress

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A huge congratulations to CYT Phoenix for being awesome. Check out their upcoming lineup of shows…we’re not saying you could be part of a show that wins a National Youth Art Award, but we’re not not saying that either.

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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