Get hyped for HYPE!!

Are you hyped for HYPE?? Lydia, our National HYPE Director, is! We had the chance to ask her a few questions, so take a look and see why she’s excited about EXPO!

What has been your favorite thing about EXPO in the past?
My favorite thing about Expo – which hasn’t changed from the first Expo I went to in 2010 – is that it feels like a giant family reunion. Every year that I go back, I get so excited to see friends from around the country that I only get to see once a year – and to make new friends that I will love seeing again next year. No matter where we live, CYT people are all the same deep down, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than when we all come together each year.

The whole group picture from last year’s Expo!

As the National HYPE Director, what is your goal for the students who attend EXPO? What can HYPE students expect at this year’s EXPO?
My goal for Expo is three-fold – 1) for HYPE students to grow in community with one another and build strong relationships that will continue throughout the year; 2) for HYPE students to share strengths and challenges from this last year and learn from one another as they collaborate for the upcoming year; and 3) to learn leadership skills in specific areas that they can take back home with them and put to use right away.

What part of EXPO are you the most excited about?
Such a difficult question! I think I’m most excited to see all these amazing student leaders face to face and have incredible conversations with them. I keep in touch with them throughout the year, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person and having those meaningful conversations.

Bonus question! You just opened your first show as director – CYT North Idaho’s Snow White and the Prince! Congratulations! Do you have a fun moment from the process you can share?
Thank you so much! The entire process has been more fun than I can even say, but one poignant moment that stuck out was when I was driving over to Coeur d’Alene after a tiring day of teaching. Even though I was exhausted from teaching, I felt so much joy and excitement at seeing my cast for rehearsal. And I realized that – while I love getting to work for CYT, Inc., from home – being involved in a show again after about 3-4 years away reminded me of why I love CYT so much. It felt like I was coming home – and that’s why we do what we do – so that we can allow other people to feel the same way about CYT. The cast and artistic team and staff have been such a joy – the whole thing has felt like a dream come true.

What I love about this picture is that the choreographer, Charlsie Johnston, and I are both CYT alumni working on our first show together. She was a CYT-North Idaho student and I was a CYT-Spokane student – and now we get to work together on this fun show! ūüôā

Lydia is such a blessing to leaders and students all across the country. We are so thankful for her and for all that she does! Congratulations on your show, Lydia, and we can’t wait to see you at EXPO!


Are you registered for EXPO yet?? Get online and register today!!

Q&A with CYT Spokane’s Scott Worley

In continuing my obsession with interviewing CYTers around the nation, I recently spoke with CYT Spokane student Scott Worley. And in continuing my being so impressed with the caliber of people involved in CYT, Scott did not disappoint. Spokane is a lucky CYT Affiliate, indeed!

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Let’s do a little get-to-know-you. Tell me your name, age, current location, and an interesting tidbit or two that we’d be surprised to learn.

My name is Scott Worley, I’m 19 years old, and I live in Spokane, Washington (I’ve lived here my entire life). Interesting tidbits…I have grown a beard, shaved my head, and been painted green for several CYT shows. And for Christmas the past four or five years, I’ve asked for a pair of red converse high tops. They usually last me a little over a year and so I get the perfect time span out of them and I wear them with everything no matter what I’m wearing.

An example of Scott being green...

An example of Scott being green…

I love it! Tell me your experience as a student at CYT Spokane. How long were you involved, and what were some highlights?

I’ve been involved with CYT Spokane sense the age of 11. I was in the cast of 10 shows and on¬†crew for¬†four shows. Some of the highlights have been meeting amazing people who I truly believe will be my friends for life. There also isn’t a whole lot that can compare to the feeling of singing your heart out to a sold out theater of 750 people at the breathtaking Bing Crosby Theater.

Friends

Any favorite roles or shows?

Some roles I’ve had the honor to play were¬†the Beast and Shrek. But my all-time favorite roll was Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. The stretch as an actor I was able to experience was amazing! My favorite show, however, would probably be A Christmas Carol. We had a bit of a smaller cast for that one so everyone was playing several roles and we just had a blast doing such a exciting and fun show.

Not looking so scary as the Beast...

Not looking so scary as the Beast…

What was your go-to audition song?

“I’d Rather Be Sailing” from A New Brain. I was fortunate enough to be able to perform it for the I.E. Thespian Festival and qualify nationally for Solo’s.

I’m told you recently interned for a production of Peter Pan. How was that? What were some of your responsibilities?

That was an absolute blast! Some of what I did was block scenes, as well as fight choreography and assisted with character work and development.

What was the main part of that experience that you didn’t see coming?¬†

I really didn’t realize how big of an undertaking the whole process really is. As a director you are responsible for everything from the the casting of the show to the set design. I learned you need a solid vision as a director because while you do have a team of dedicated and amazing parent volunteers, they are all going off your vision for the show.

And the second thing that really caught me off guard was the thing you are constantly told when in CYT but never fully grasp until you see the full picture Р how much the parent volunteers really do for a show and for us all. A show would crumble if it was not for the parents giving their time, energy, resources, and GAS for these productions. So to all CYT parents everywhere, thank you for everything you do. You are really changing lives with the work and time you are putting into your CYT.

You attended the 2014 CYT EXPO. Best three days of your life?

I did attend this year, as well as the one before and they were both awesome! Not only did I get an original CYT tie out of it from the good Dr. LaForge herself but met a lot of amazing CYTers and had a blast! It seems like another one of those sayings you always seem to hear but it is oh so true – a¬†CYT’er is a CYT’er no matter where they are from.

Modeling the CYT tie!

Modeling the CYT tie!

What are you currently up to and what is your future looking like?

Right now I am in my first year of college and am involved with community theater around Spokane, as well as teaching Drama 101 this winter semester at CYT. Down the road I am working towards getting a degree in Secondary Education to become a high school Social Studies teacher and will hopefully direct a CYT show of my own some day!

So awesome! Thanks for humoring me and all my questions. Best of luck Scott!

Spotlight on CYT North Idaho student Kalla Mort

Sigh. I just love CYT students. I recently got a chance to speak with¬†CYT North Idaho¬†student Kalla Mort and she’s a gem of a human. In the below interview, we discuss her various roles, her favorite CYT moments, and what she’s up to now.¬†Enjoy!

How did you first get involved with CYT?
A family friend of mine invited me to come see her in Snow White. And after, that I auditioned for Jungle Book and was hooked from the start!

As you know, CYT is one huge pseudo-family that loves to spread the love to actual family members. Are your siblings or parents involved? 
I have three siblings – two older sisters and a younger brother. My older sister Kelsea was only able to do a few shows before graduating, and my brother Bryson only did one show. My mom always loves being a part of the Make-Up Committee. She loves being around all of the CYTers and being able to connect with them on their level!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea's wedding!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea’s wedding!

What has surprised you the most about the world of theater?
Probably¬†the instant familial bond you have with your fellow actors. Even outside of CYT, the family aspect is there. I never realized you could find a group of “misfits” and imperfect people who still love and support each other like a family would.

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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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Meet CYT Baton Rouge student Jackson Pierce

I’ve been on an interviewing kick lately. There are just so many rad¬†people that are a part of the CYT family! And CYT Baton Rouge¬†student Jackson Pierce is no exception. Do yourself a favor and read my recent Q&A with the guy whose name we’ll definitely hear again.

This is Jackson. And I think I speak for everyone in the world when I say that his shirt wins.

This is Jackson. And I think I speak for everyone in the world when I say that his shirt wins.

Hi Jackson! Tell me first, how did you first get involved with CYT?
My family has homeschooled me since I was in the fourth grade and we are currently involved in a very large homeschool community. A year or so ago, we heard of a theater group starting up and we decided to get involved with the program. My dad is on the Board for CYT and my mom is an Area Coordinator, and we’ve been involved all three sessions that CYT Baton Rouge has had.

CYT is indeed a family affair. Do you have siblings? Are they involved?
I have a nine-year-old sister who is in CYT (she does pretty much anything I do) so we spend A LOT of time together. My mom is a costumer with the rest of the “Costume Diva’s” as they are so appropriately named. And my dad helps build sets and manages to find some crazy way to injure some part of his body at least twice a show.

Ha! Sounds like my dad. I heard you recently went to the CYT EXPO. How’d you like it?¬†
My experience at Expo was amazing! I met so many cool people and I was able to hang out with my CYT family from Lafayette. It was a great weekend in Houston.

What has been the best part about CYT for you? 
The best part about CYT for me is the experience I’m gaining by performing and just doing what I plan to do for the rest of my life.

I’m a fan of word association. I’ll say a word or phrase, and you say the first word or phrase that comes to mind. Cool?¬†

Auditions: Scary
Favorite show: Shrek the Musical
Tech week: Mic interference
Broadway: Maybe
Choreography: Improving (slowly)
Favorite movie musical: The Muppet Movie (the old one!)
If I’m not at CYT after school, you’ll find me…Doing CYT stuff at home

Thanks Jackson! 

One-on-one with CYT Inc’s Dr. Summer Moshy

CYT is chock full of the most incredible people. From affiliate leadership to volunteers to students to staff, there are phenomenal people everywhere you turn. Recently, CYT Inc’s Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Summer Moshy, humored me while I peppered her with questions about what she does for CYT and why she thinks the organization is the most special one around.

Summer (right) with CYT Inc's Director of Operations, Heather LaForge

Summer (right) with CYT Inc’s Director of Operations, Dr. Heather LaForge

First things first. You are CYT’s Curriculum Coordinator. Break down for us what that means.
Basically, I organize and maintain all of the available CYT Inc. curriculum materials that we’ve got and make them accessible (via the Curriculum link on the CYT NEXUS) to all of our CYT affiliates for use in planning the class schedule for their respective areas. I try to keep the resources current with accurate listings/descriptions of what materials we have available, so that the Area Coordinators, Managing Directors, and/or Artistic Directors can request what they need for their area teachers. I also facilitate the requests from the ACs, MDs, or ADs for the materials and answer any questions they might have about our current materials.

There are oodles of classes and even more affiliates. Your job sounds busy!
It took me a a while to recover and organize all of the curriculum stuff CYT Inc. has amassed over the past 30 years, but now that that’s done (though we do still unearth buried treasures from time to time!), I’m starting to work on creating new curriculum materials for our affiliates. I also try to solicit materials from our affiliates to enhance the variety and quality of curriculum goodies we have for them. I am also about to send out my first Curriculum Newsletter highlighting what’s new and what’s coming up for CYT Curriculum.

Summer wiith CYT student Emily Smedley at EXPO 2014

Summer wiith CYT student Emily Smedley at EXPO 2014

I’m told you’ve worked with a variety of other theatre programs. What is the main difference you notice about CYT?
The willingness of everyone¬†involved¬†to “give it to God” at the end of the day. To me, it’s comforting to feel that the common denominator among CYT peeps is devotion to a power greater than ourselves.

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CYT Santa Cruz proves it’s a family affair

Perhaps one of the best things about CYT is that it can involve the entire family. That is the case with the¬†Hash family, and I recently got to speak with parents Phil & Cheryl about their involvement with CYT Santa Cruz¬†and the positive impact it’s had on the lives of their daughters (Hi Caryn & Monika!) and on their family as a whole. Truly a remarkable family. Enjoy!

How did you and your family first get involved with CYT?
Cheryl: For about a year my friend Mary Jo Epperson kept telling me about a Christian-based theater group she was helping to get started in Santa Cruz. The day before the first CYT class/session, my daughter was begging to take dance classes (which didn’t appeal to me because of a previous negative experience with another dance studio). I remember saying to her, “Let’s go check out this theater group Mary Jo keeps telling us about. You prefer acting over dancing anyway. First classes are tomorrow. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to continue.”¬†Well, as you can guess, we haven’t looked back.

Caryn as a Who Citizen and Monika as Thing 2 from Seussical

Caryn as a Who Citizen and Monika as Thing 2 from Seussical

Was this your first foray into theater?
Phil: No. We had been involved with another theater group when the kids were younger.  It was less than satisfying for many reasons.

Cheryl:¬†As Phil mentioned, when our girls were younger, they danced and acted with another studio. Wasn’t entirely bad, but was not the greatest.

I’m told you both wear many hats in regards to helping out with¬†CYT Santa Cruz productions. What have your various jobs been?
Phil:¬†I’m head of the Set Committee (I organize and help build the sets; we have a set designer), I’ve ushered some of the shows, and ran a “follow spot” for a show.

Cheryl: Costume Designer and Costume Committee Chair. I also make cookies, brownies, etc. for refreshments, and manage our costume storage area.

Phil working on the set during Tech Week of Jungle Book

Phil working on the set during Tech Week of Jungle Book

What’s the most gratifying part of being involved together as a family?
Phil: When a show comes together we all take great pride in its success, even though we contributed in different ways.¬†We can appreciate each other’s contributions, the kid’s performances, Cheryl’s costumes, and my sets.

Cheryl:¬†The friendships we have gained as a family. Families that have the same values, interests (theater!), experiences, life stories. Yet we are all unique and bring many gifts to CYT. It’s been wonderful to see our girls grow in theater and to be a part of that growth. And as adults, I think both Phil and I have grown as well and have learned a lot about theater. It’s fun to be creative together! It has also been good for our girls to see that Phil and I are still learning and growing; it’s a life long journey.

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